Guest Post: Build Photo Selfie Esteem this Christmas

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

Black and white photo of 5 friendsChristmas is the time of the year when selfies and group celebration photos run into upload mayhem. Whether it’s the office party, a family get-together or a pals knees up; everyone wants to capture the cutest, most festive and hysterical photos to post on social media sites. In a month where we all need to look our best, this is a worry for some who don’t like their appearance so avoid the camera. This slippery slope of hiding in the sidelines can reduce morale and result in a confidence drop, making December a really unhappy time of the year.

I’ve created some tips and tricks for you to quickly master so can be the King or Queen of the party ball and will love every photo.  This will boost your well being and you’ll start to enjoy how you look in photos. The focus of my tips isn’t to ensure you receive likes and comments, but is designed to make you content with your appearance so you can capture great photo memories.

Natural Selfies Galore

A big trick in taking selfies is to have your back towards natural light. Yes, it’s that simple. Florescent light makes you look older and magnifies every blemish, wrinkle and dark spot. On the other hand, natural light is like having a mini face lift and makes your skin glow, while reducing dark circles under your eyes. When you’re in selfie mode, stand with your back to a window and snap away. You’ll love the way you look and this will build your confidence, before heading to group celebrations. Remember to face straight onto the camera or smart phone so you avoid double chins and don’t hold the camera too high or low or you’ll end up taking a nostril selfie!

Group Photo Tips

Most celebrations will be in the evening so without natural light, we’re switching to Plan B:

Make The Most of Settings:

If you’re taking a group trip at a ski resort, hitting the beach or at an attraction, make the most of the scenery and use these as fun props.  Say you’re at a snowy setting, have everyone in the photo hug the snowman. Or if you’re on the beach, make sand angels and have the person clicking the smartphone, hover over you. These semi-action shots can be taken in sequence so when you post the photos on Facebook, friends will see the flow of the experience.  You’ll look like a star and this will help increase your confidence.

Hug It Out:

In group photo settings, snuggle up close to your friends. A two inch gap between pals will look larger on the final photo. Think about it this way, when celebrities are suspected of splitting up, their publicist always tells them to stand close, giving the appearance of relationship security. So using the same rule of thumb, drape your arm over a friend’s shoulder and have another pal grab your waist.  As long as you’re all close by and using your hands as props, this will capture an in-the-moment, emotional photo.

Slow Motion:

For serious action shots, your smartphone won’t be able to accommodate rapid movement and this will show up as a blur. To achieve the same results, have the friend holding the camera to say ‘one…two…three…throw’ and at ‘throw,’ have everyone sling snowballs at each other. This will show a blur of snowballs in the air but if you all stay quite still and don’t run the moment you throw the ball, the photo will now show you clearly. Seeing a group shot like this is so much fun to achieve. If you don’t want to be the centre of attention, this is an ideal way to be involved in a memorable photo without being the core focus.  As time goes by from taking movement photos, your confidence will increase and one day, you’ll absolutely want to be the snowball throwing star, wearing a bright red coat and grabbing all the social attention.

On a final note, some people always blink when the camera clicks. Not only can this reduce self esteem but, over time, result in you avoiding photos from being a target for ridicule. Here’s a really easy trick to avoid this and it works wonders: Ask the person holding the camera to say ‘one…two…three…open’ and at ‘open,’ everyone is bright, wide eyed. Even if you’re not a huge fan of the final photo, at least you’re looking right at the camera and this will dilute viewers pointing fingers at you.  Not every shot needs to be perfect but the objective is to have fun, build your self esteem and start enjoying photos of yourself in various poses. Over time, you’ll discover your best angles your morale will rocket sky high!

Kate Branch, a Sydney local and author of How To Look Good In Photos, has a Major in Photography, a successful photography business, and Masters in Art Therapy. Kate’s book provides logical tips for accentuating facial expressions, posture, how to position hands and body angles so the photos are a gem, first time around. Ironically, the book has very little to do with photography, yet more about the person(s) in front of the camera to build confidence and self esteem in a world where selfies and social postings of photos are now the norm. Here’s a short video of Kate in photographic action.