It’s a widely held belief that the key to the most flattering, gorgeous, and seemingly carefree pictures is intense, military-grade planning. Strategize. Organize. Leave nothing to chance. Like the Soviets. Aaaanyway, here are a few tips to help get you there!
1. Wear your favorite shirt. (Wear other stuff, too.)
This is an easy one—when you look good, you feel good. When you feel good, you look good. (You see where this is going?) If you suspect you’ll be in a position to pose for the perfect pic, plan to wear that special something that makes you feel ultrasuperfine, like the fresh fox that you are. Note that in some circles, successful shirtage is gauged in direct proportion to the number of compliments collected. It’s like so:
SS = xCC
where x = any integer
GAH, math. Our computers just broke.
(Just don’t wear your favorite shirt every single day in constant anticipation of a could-be photo op. Given how great you look, people are noticing—and that means they’ll notice if you’re still wearing said shirt nine days later.)
2. Sequins. Jazz hands. Glow sticks.
You do risk obstructing a potentially perfect shot of yourself with excessive props and optical theatrics, but if you’re going to go down as the bejazzdazzled lightbringer, you have to commit. It’s the only way.
3. Selfies in moderation.
You’re your own best photographer—you know your good angles, and the best lighting (south-facing living room window, third from the left, after 3 pm April-October), and you don’t get bored of a shoot after the third costume change like some people. So the temptation to succumb to selfies can be enormous.
Downside: everyone knows at a glance that it took you six hours alone in your bathroom to look this hot and random-candid (we can see your toiletries), and that sort of ruins it. It may take a little longer to snag the perfect shot out with your friends, but it’ll read as fun and genuine—kind of the difference between catching an authentic butterfly and catching one you made yourself out of toilet paper.
4. Peep the mirror before show time.
Eye boogs. Nose boogs. Stuff in your teeth. Bits of crap on your face. Lint. Sweat. Tears. I’m just saying. You never know.
5. Know the flash.
Summer nights, prom, dance parties in the mall parking lot—for these and other important low-light events, you’ll need to do some quick math to gauge your relation to that killer of dreams, the flash. Too far and you won’t show up; too close and you’ll have to convince people again you aren’t undead. When you see a flash coming, think quickly and position yourself accordingly.
For what it’s worth, this is the boss level strategizing—it can take years to get this one right, and some of us never do. (Yes, and that’s why we never show up on film.)
Maybe you have braces. Maybe your lips are chapped. Maybe you think you look better when you pout-scowl a little, or from the back. Putting all this aside for a moment, let me tell you, as someone who has only met you once and who has exactly no authority in the matter, that you look the devastatingly charming minx when you smile and mean it. It’s your greatest and cheapest accessory, the best makeup, and the most authentic proof that you’re owning it—all for $0. So what if your favorite shirt is “sleeping”? Think of something that cracks you up (bejazzdazzle!) and try it. Just check your teeth first.
We usually look like giant blobs of pout-faced awfulness in all photos, so we can't wait to try these tips! Got any more advice for always looking picture-perfect?