How to be photogenic

How To Be Photogenic And Look Good In Every Photo You Take

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As a fashion enthusiast, I have often found myself disappointed with how I look in pictures I take on my phone. At first, I thought it was because I’m not using the most expensive phone, but recently, I found out that the reason I don’t look good in pictures like Jessica Wang and Luna De Casanova is that I am not using my phone, my face, body, outfits and smile to my advantage. So I asked my friend,  a professional photographer, to give me the best tips on how to be photogenic and he did. Here are all the details below.

Tips on How to Be Photogenic When You Take Pictures In Nigeria

How to be photogenic

Here are factors that can make you look photogenic in pictures 

#How to be photogenic: Make use of lighting 

To be photogenic all the time you take pictures, you must always be mindful of the lighting you are using as it is one of the key factors that can make you look super beautiful in pictures. You should make sure that the light you use is bright and clear, and that it provides the best texture, color, and contrast to the photo. You should also have an idea of how you can regulate your lighting to be able to take a beautiful photo every single time. For example, in a situation where you have some strong light around you, you can use a bright white sheet or cloth to help reflect the light from the source and make it your own. Similarly, if you are in the sunset, you can use some warm light to enhance the visibility and attractiveness of your facial features. You can also have some more ambient light by the window to enhance the subtle colors of the room. All these will help you achieve a photogenic look. 

3 Photography Lighting Rules To Always Look Photogenic in Pictures 

No matter how expensive your phone or camera is, your lighting is an important factor that determines the overall appearance of your face and your picture. Here are 3 photography lighting rules you should master.

1. Don’t Ever Underrate the power of Natural Light 

Natural light has the power to create the most beautiful pictures. It gives pictures the most luminous, vibrant, and attractive colors. 

If you want to take pictures indoors, look for a space in your home that can help you find natural light. Most times, it is always by the doors or windows.

After you locate a natural light source, you should prepare your tripod or some other sort of stabilizer to keep your camera steady. 

Click here to get an idea of how you can set your camera for natural light

After this, you can take your picture but before you do, make sure that you are not far away from the natural light source. In other words, if you are close to the natural light source (at the window or door), your picture will look clearer. If you are far from it, your picture will look darker. 

Other rules: 

  • Make sure you turn off the lights. 
  • Use a light-catching backdrop. Most times white backdrop is the best.
  • Tidy up your location to avoid things lying around the house that can cause distractions in your picture. 
  • Make use of different directions till you get what you love. 

Check Out These 15 Backdrop Ideas for Photography 

2. Don’t Back the Light 

Anytime you want to take a picture, do not back the natural light source. Instead, you should face it to get your best shot. 

A good picture is also about light direction. If you stay close to your natural light, but you back it, it will make your picture darker and you will lose some of the vibrant light and the natural texture on your face.

Thus, if your light source is at the door, then you should face the doorway and look through the light and frame to take the picture. However, don’t be too close to it, otherwise, your picture will be overexposed. 

Also, if your light source is in front of the window, you should not back your window. Instead, face it and frame the light. In this way, your face will appear to be illuminated and your image will be brighter.

3. Don’t over-rely on the sun 

“I have heard many say that taking pictures when the sun is out is great for photos. Yes! The sun will indeed generate natural light for pictures. But this is not the case when the sun is too bright.” Says, my professional photographer friend. 

When the sun is very bright, it will reflect a lot of light on your face and can cause you to squeeze or close your face. It can also create harsh shadows, or dull expressions or colors which are not great for photos. 

So when you rely on the sun for natural light, make sure that the sun is behind you and you are not facing it to create a softer, more positive picture.

Also, instead of taking your pictures on a sunny day, you can take them when the sun is setting in the evening. This will not only give you a softer, more natural color of the sun but it will also make your face more appealing.

#How to be Photogenic: Use Best Backgrounds  

Background of your photos may seem trivial but it is the first thing most people notice and what attracts them to your pictures. In fact, several blog posts have confirmed that the quality of your picture background is one of the things that determine how viral your Instagram posts can go.

The background of your photos can make or break your pictures. Thus, to be photogenic when you take pictures, you need to always consider finding the right background that will complement your face, your body, and your outfit.

5 Background Ideas For Taking Pictures 

In this section are different types of backgrounds and locations for you to take photos. 

1. Textured walls 

If you want to have interesting backgrounds for your photos, you should go for textured walls. These are the types of walls that have beautiful patterns for you to complement your face.

Textured walls can make you look photogenic in pictures because of the following: 

  • Visual interest 
  • Unique aesthetics 
  • Contrast and composition 
  • Versatility 
  • Minimalist approach

2. Staircases 

Staircases are a fantastic background for pictures as they are not just unique but also have interesting lines and patterns. Apart from this, they are also good for a variety of styles like sitting, walking up, or sitting and can give you nice posing ideas.

Staircases can make you look photogenic in pictures because of the following: 

  • Unique perspective 
  • Leading lines 
  • Architectural beauty 
  • Framing 
  • Symbolism 
  • Storytelling 

3. Water locations 

To look good in pictures all the time, you can visit any location that has natural water where you can capture beautiful scenery. This will help you to create interesting backgrounds and stunning pictures.

Water locations can make you look photogenic in pictures because of the following: 

  • Reflections 
  • Serenity and calmness 
  • Vibrant colors 
  • Dynamic elements 
  • Versatility 
  • Conceptualization 

4. Rooftops 

Another great place to take pictures is the rooftop. Rooftops are a high place to take beautiful pictures with stunning backgrounds and attractive lighting. They also allow a lot of opportunities for more photos like a little balcony, stairs, or a wall. 

Rooftops can make you look photogenic in pictures because of the following: 

  • Unique perspectives 
  • Cityscape and urban vibes 
  • Panoramic views 
  • Minimalist aesthetics 
  • Sunset and Golden hour shots 
  • Privacy and control 

5. Sidewalks

Sidewalks or pavement are another great place to take pictures as there are some great elements such as water, plants, and other random accessories. These elements will help you to create interesting and dynamic backgrounds for your pictures.

Sidewalks can make you look photogenic in pictures because of the following: 

  • Urban vibes 
  • Leading lines 
  • Context and narrative 
  • Texture and patterns 

#How to be Photogenic: Let Classy Poses Do the Work 

Honestly, how you pose for your photos is one of the top factors that determines how you will look in your photos. A great pose can make you look more interesting, distinctive, and photogenic in pictures. Therefore, here are some pose ideas that will help you look photogenic in pictures. 

Simple and Easy Pose Ideas For Taking Pictures 

1. Walk towards the camera pose 

How to be photogenic

Here, all you have to do is to work towards the camera and give a cute smile while walking.  Apart from the fact that this pose is easy to do and remember even for a beginner, it is natural and also offers movement to your pictures. 


  • Make sure you cross your leg over the other leg like it is in the above picture. Don’t just walk! 
  • You can also opt for this pose when you are short of pose ideas or in a hurry. 

2. Cross your arms pose 

How to be photogenic

This is also a very simple pose that you can do yourself and as long as you feel good practicing, you will get better at it. This post is great to look photogenic because it looks playful and helps you feel more relaxed. 

To achieve this look: 

  • Cross your arms. 
  • Raise one shoulder.
  • Make your feet have a wider stance.
  • Add a smile and tilt to your face.

3. Put your hand on the hip pose 

How to be photogenic

This type of pose is very common and it is done by just placing your hand on the hip. It is also a type of pose that creates angles and interest in your body. 

To do this pose, just follow this advice:

  • Don’t just rely on the fact that it is simple. 
  • Make sure you raise your shoulder.
  • You should also tilt your upper body. 

4. Hold a prop pose

One thing about this pose idea is that it does not require much stress. All you have to do is to hold something in your hands and pose it in front of your body to look attractive and photogenic. 

Holding a prop pose also adds spice to photos and it will save you from thinking of what pose to do. The only thing is that you need to make sure that your prop blends with your picture. Examples of props that you can hold are: 

  • Clothing Accessories (e.g Bags) 
  • Ice Cream Cone
  • Coffee Cup 
  • Bouquet 
  • Books 
  • Seasonal items (E.g umbrella for winter) 

5. Leaning pose 

How to be photogenic

Leaning pose is a classy type of pose that can definitely make you look photogenic when you take pictures. This pose depends on your location and how well you can interact with it. 

The leaning pose requires that you find a pavement or a ledge to lean on. However, you can either lean on their surface or against their surface. Again, it is always more interesting when you look away.

6. Sitting pose 

How to be photogenic

Truth be told, the sitting pose is perfect to look photogenic in pictures but it is not as simple to do as the hand-on-the-hip pose, or cross-your-arms pose. It requires you to be in a very relaxed and natural state. But the key to doing the sitting pose is to make sure that you do it without tensing up or crossing your legs. In short, this pose requires mastering. Otherwise, you may be doing it wrong. 

Click here to read how to pose sitting down. 

#How to be Photogenic: Wear Photogenic Outfits 

When you think of how you can look photogenic in pictures, outfits may be the least in your mind or you may not even think about them. But, the truth is, outfits that you wear for pictures can determine the result of the pictures you take because your outfits are part of things that attract you to the camera. A good example of this is the celebrities. You will notice that most of these celebrities’ pictures always look attractive. Most times, it is because they use proper lighting, backgrounds, take the right poses, and wear the right outfits. So, 

What are the Best Outfits For Photos? 

Wide-legged pants 

Wide-legged pants have much more detail than skinny jeans. More reason why it is one of the best outfits that can make you look photogenic. This is a type of jeans that is designed to skim your hips and create the impression that you have lean longer legs even though you don’t have them. So when it is photo day for you,  grab one of them in your wardrobe and take a picture with it.

Off-the-shoulder dresses 

The off-the-shoulder dress is another one of the best outfits that can make you look very photogenic. Although it takes a lot of effort to wear it perfectly because of how it shows off the shoulders, this is the exact reason why it is suitable for photo day. So, it is good for you if you know how to wear it correctly as you are fulfilling your route to looking photogenic throughout your next pictures. 

Click here to read how to correctly wear an off-the-shoulder outfits 

A coat 

According to my experience, almost everyone who wears a coat would want to take a picture. This is because it is a type of outfit that really looks good on everybody. Wearing beautiful or expensive outfits is cool for photos but trust me when that outfit is paired with a coat, it attracts the camera the most and makes you look more photogenic. This is not a joke. Try it!

A fitted blazer 

The truth is it takes confidence to rock a fitted blazer because it usually takes a lot of time to look good in one but when you do, you will surely be looking incredible. A fitted blazer can make you look photogenic because it has a good structured shoulder and it will make your body structure look lithe.

Statement earrings 

How to be photogenic

If you just got a standout earring or you have one in your closet, then “photogenic” is created for you. All you have to do is get the proper light, background, pose, and outfit and complement it with your statement earrings to brighten your look and complexion.

Other Ways to Be Photogenic when you Take Pictures 

#Look Photogenic with Makeup 

Sometimes, when you use a makeup-free face to take a picture, it can make you look unphotogenic. Makeup adds color and eye-catching features to your face that will make you look hotter, more attractive, and more photogenic. So, if you use makeup and take a picture with it, you will see how great you look.

#Your Smile is Important 

I know you may not know this but smiling is part of the factors that make a person photogenic especially if the person can smile like a pro. Whenever you want to take a picture but your smile refuses to come naturally, don’t let it be too obvious by smiling anyhow. Else, your picture could come out bad. Here are tricks you can use to smile like a pro 

  • If you want to smile without showing your teeth, you should let your tongue touch the upper part of your mouth. Then smile! 
  • If you want to smile by showing your teeth, don’t just show your teeth, make sure that your tongue is behind your teeth. 
  • Don’t let your smile be too wide. 

#Try Face Editing Apps 

If you are looking for an effortless way to look photogenic, a face editing app is the go-to for you. Some face editing apps are naturally the best. Some of them will do the photogenic job for you with a little penny and no matter how bad you look when you take the picture, these face apps will always make you look better in pictures. All you need to do is to understand how they are being used and there you are, always photogenic! (wink). Here is an example: 

This picture is unedited and my face looks rough. 

Here is the result of the face editing app that I used. As you can see, my face looks pretty in the picture unlike before. 

Now, let us recap our 7 ways to look photogenic every time you take pictures. 

  1. Make use of lighting. 
  2. Use the best background.
  3. Let Classy Poses do the work.
  4. Wear Photogenic Outfits.
  5. Look photogenic with makeup.
  6. Your smile is important.
  7. Try face editing apps.

Final Words 

In this post, we discussed how to be photogenic in 7 ways and give directions on each tip. Now it is your turn to carefully read and decide on what you need to begin or adjust so that you can be photogenic every time you take pictures. 

Thank you for reading! We love to see you come back. Kindly subscribe to our mail, and visit our blog, Shodamia, so you do not miss any of our fashion, beauty, and lifestyle content.

Maryam Awodele
Maryam Awodele

Hi, I'm Maryam

A super zealous research writer and fashion enthusiast who specializes in teaching others how to look good and feel good through fashion tips, reviews, and lifestyle tips. Here at Shodamia, we believe that quality information is key to helping individuals to look & feel good. So, we do our best to provide our readers with well-researched, reliable, and practical tips that cater to their unique styles and preferences.

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