All of us have occasionally fallen victim to the scourge known as the unflattering photo—and in our current social media-obsessed world, not knowing how to pose for pictures simply isn’t an option. Even if we’re completely satisfied with the way we look in the mirror, a truly bad picture can harness a power so strong that we often find ourselves miserable for days. Figuring out all of our best poses and angles can be a lifesaver.
1. Use your tongue
This is one of best tricks out there—and the weirdest. It might feel strange, but by pressing your tongue on the roof of your mouth while smiling is an effective way to help avoid the dreaded double chin, as it elongates your neck and your jawline. We’ve tried it, and it works! It also works for Heidi Klum and Renee Zellweger, who are fans of this trick.
2. Angle your face
Unless you’re being snapped by a professional portrait photographer, it’s key to avoid direct head-on shots. Why? Because there’ll be an absence of shadows, which could make your face look wider, larger, or slightly discolored. Instead, stand slightly sideways and tilt your chin a little bit upward or a tad downward. From there, be sure to look at something just above your natural line of sight.
3. Twist your body and position your arms
Ah, the old red carpet trick: Position your body 45 degrees and put the arm closest to the camera on your hip. Then plant one foot slightly in front of the other, point your toe to the camera and place your weight on your back leg.
Ever wonder why every celebrity poses with her camera-facing arm on her hip? It’s because that particular move ensures that her upper arm isn’t smooshed against her body making it look flattened (read: larger). If you find the hand-on-hip pose to be a bit forced, try holding your arms out from your sides ever so slightly.
4. Cross your ankles
If you’re being shot head-on (maybe for a street style snap?) cross your legs, starting at the calf. This stance will make your hips look narrower and your legs look longer, plus it looks a bit more casual. It’s worth noting that the pose also works when you’re sitting. Although it’s always preferable to stand in pictures, if you happen to be on a chair or a couch when someone comes at you with a camera, sit up straight and cross your legs at the ankles. It’ll be more flattering than not doing anything with those stems.
5. Don’t follow the group
The key to a stellar group shot? Not all doing the same pose. Not only is that hokey (hello, standing in height order on prom night) but everyone is shaped differently, so the viewer’s eye will naturally gravitate to who looks best in the pose, not the picture. Instead, be sure to stand comfortably without mimicking the people directly next to you.
6. Practice good posture
You’ve heard it 1,000 times, but standing up straight really does make a difference. Not only will it elongate you in photos, but it gives you an aura of strength and confidence, which is naturally alluring.