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How To Look Good In Pictures: The 6 Things You Can Do to Get Better Photos

A good photographer should be able to direct you towards great pictures the day of your photoshoot. That said even a great photographer is only as good as the canvas he has to work with. The answer of how to look good in pictures largely comes down to preparation. Scheduling a hair cut and color a few days before your photoshoot for instance can have a massive impact on your photos.

This post covers everything you should consider doing before your photoshoot so you can get the best portraits possible. Note that there is no single thing that you can do to prepare that will make everything turn out amazing. A successful session is about doing lots of little things that build up to an amazing result. 

In this article you’ll learn how and when to prepare the following before your photoshoot:

What Should I Do With My Hair for My Photos?

Getting your hair cut and colored before a photoshoot dramatically enhances your photos. Ideally, color your hair three days in advance to let dye stains fade and ensure the color’s vibrancy.

Even without coloring, a fresh trim will uplift your photo quality and probably bolster your confidence. This confidence boost can significantly impact your final images, largely due to how you’ll feel when you step in front of the camera.

For a little extra flair, consider booking a blowout at your favorite salon before your photoshoot. This will ensure my makeup artist has the best possible starting point when styling your hair.

Although blowouts are optional, it’s vitally important to arrive at your photoshoot with clean, dry hair, avoiding leave-in products, as my artist will style your hair with heat. You can choose to have your hair straightened or curled for your photoshoot. If you’d like a more elaborate up-do from someone you trust, just make sure to let me know in advance so we can plan accordingly.

One thing I will caution you against is trying a new hairstyle for your photoshoot. Instead, I recommend you opt for a look that you know works well, so you’re not stuck with a style you dislike in your photos.

How To Look Good In Pictures - Makeup

When a Makeover is Included With Your PhotoShoot

Good makeup is invaluable for enhancing your portraits. The aim is to optimize your photos before editing. By perfecting your appearance in-camera, I can then refine your photos to achieve a high-end, polished look. That’s why every photoshoot with me includes hair and makeup; it truly makes a significant difference in your final images.

For the best makeup results, exfoliate and moisturize your face the night before your photoshoot. On the morning of your session, it’s preferable to arrive with a clean face, free of any products. If you choose to apply moisturizer, do so a few hours before your makeover, ensuring it contains no SPF, glitter, or other reflective elements.

How to Look Good in Pictures - Eyes

Although good makeup is the single best way to enhance your eyes, lash extensions or strip lashes can also make a dramatic difference. Both have their advantages and disadvantages you should be aware of.

Just remember that subtlety is your friend here and good taste is everything. For instance, It might be tempting to go heavy on the volume, but this can quickly look like a caterpillar on your eye if you’re not careful. It’s important to use good sense when enhancing your features and be careful to not go too far.

Lash extensions

Before and after lash extensions by Ugly Ducklying Beauty Artistry

Remember, subtlety is key, and good taste is paramount. For example, while it’s tempting to opt for heavy volume, overdoing it can resemble a caterpillar on your eye if not applied carefully. Lash extensions vary in length, diameter, curl, and volume, allowing customization for your desired look. A lash artist skillfully glues the selected extensions to your existing lashes, enhancing their length and fullness.

Single hair extensions appear most natural, as they involve attaching a single hair to an existing lash. Volume lashes, ranging from 2D to 4D, branch from one hair into multiple. However, high-volume lashes, if applied without finesse, can lead to the undesirable caterpillar effect mentioned earlier.

In essence, a skilled lash artist will enhance your eyes for photos, while an inexperienced one might achieve the opposite. Most lash artists showcase their work on websites or Instagram. Taking the time to find a lash artist whose work you genuinely admire makes a substantial difference.

Strip Lashes

close up photo of a strip lash about to be applied to clients eye.
Strip lashes are glued to the clients lash line during the makeover.
This is what strip lashes look like close up when the subject is looking down. Lash extensions would be a better choice for this type of photo.
This is what strip lashes look like when the subject is looking into the camera from a typical portrait distance.
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Although lash extensions are an excellent way to enhance your eyes, they can be pricey. For a more budget-friendly alternative, strip lashes are also effective.

We apply strip lashes for most of our clients’ photoshoots during their makeovers for  no additional charge. While lash extensions (mentioned earlier) are indeed a higher-quality option, the difference is generally hard to discern in final photos unless the subject’s eyes are closed.

If you anticipate having portraits with your eyes down or closed, strip lashes won’t look as polished as lash extensions. However, they’re still more than suitable for almost all scenarios except close-ups with eyes cast down. If the subject is facing the camera, even close-up headshots can look remarkably good with strip lashes.

How to Look Good in Pictures - Teeth

The next aspect to consider for your photoshoot is teeth whitening. While not necessary for everyone, particularly younger individuals, it can be beneficial if you’re older or consume substantial amounts of coffee, red wine, etc.

I’ve encountered clients who, self-conscious about their teeth’s color, hesitate to smile openly. Instead of resorting to closed-mouth smiles due to insecurities, it’s preferable to whiten your teeth before your photoshoot.

Eliminating insecurities prior to your photoshoot contributes to better photos, as it lets you concentrate on your photographer’s guidance rather than worrying about any perceived flaws, like the shade of your teeth.

Teeth whitening can be professionally done by a dentist or at home using various over-the-counter products. Regardless of your choice, it’s wise to consult your dentist before proceeding for two reasons:

  1. Your dentist has access to superior, prescription-grade products that you can’t purchase online.
  2. Seeking advice from a dentist is more reliable than taking recommendations from a photographer’s blog (like this one).

How to Look Good in Pictures - Nails

The last personal care detail to consider for your portraits is your nails. If you’re only taking headshots, manicuring your nails isn’t necessary since your hands won’t be  featured in the photos. However, for 3/4 or full-length portraits where your hands are visible, you might want to think about getting your nails done.

Personally, painted nails don’t sway me either way. For your photos, what’s crucial is that nail polish is either entirely present or completely absent.

If you opt to manicure your nails, the optimal time to schedule your appointment is the day before your photoshoot. This timing ensures your nails are in the freshest state for your final images. Repairing chipped nails in Photoshop is time-consuming, and you’ll always achieve better results by capturing things as perfectly as possible in-camera. It’s also wise to avoid booking your appointment too far in advance, as nails that have grown out can detract from your photos.

How To Look Good In Pictures - Outfits

Now that you’re versed in preparing your body for a photoshoot, it’s time to discuss the outfits you’ll don for your portraits. While everyone has unique stylistic preferences, it’s important to choose ensembles that reflect your true self. One universal consideration is how your outfit’s color will harmonize with your photoshoot location. This post about color-coordinating outfits should assist you in selecting colors and prints that enhance your photos, preventing any jarring color discrepancies.

If you’re budget-conscious or simply seeking new attire for your photoshoot, consider renting you outfits. Several online services offer outfit rentals, providing a cost-effective way to access fashionable pieces without purchasing them. Moreover, many of these clothing rental platforms offer discounts for your initial subscription, making it an exceptionally affordable approach to styling yourself in designer outfits.

Where to Rent Clothes for Your Photoshoot

  1. Rent the Runway Unlimited – Designer Fashion for Women.
  2. New York & Company Closet – Designer Fashion for Women.
  3. Tulerie – Peer to Peer Clothing Rental Community.
  4. Rainey’s Closet – Stylish Children’s Clothing & Maternity.
  5. Infinite Style by Ann Taylor – Stylish Clothes With Professional Options.
  6. Express Style Trial – Latest Trends for Men & Women.

How To Look Good In Pictures - Conclusion

In conclusion, there is no single thing that you can do to prepare that will make all aspects of your photos amazing. A successful photoshoot is all about preparing lots of little things that work together to create a great final portrait.

I hope this post helped answer the question of how to look good in pictures for your upcoming photoshoot. My goal was to make it impossible for you to forget anything so you can show up to your session relaxed knowing you prepared everything to the fullest extent possible.

If you found this article helpful, please like and share it. If you think I missed something, let me know your thoughts in the comments below so I can improve this post and make it better for everyone.

Jason Guy

I am a portrait photographer based out of Sonoma, California. I create portraits for people of all ages with the goal of making images that are timeless. Portraits you will look back on decades from now, and still love them just as much then as you do today. While flattering lighting and pose are important, capturing how others see you is what I ultimately strive for.

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