how to look hot in a photo : 22 tips + my favorite scrapped album

You need a good photo.

Party shots where your bud had their arm around you, but they’re cut out of the picture (we know, it’s like, the best shot of you, ever); or back yard snaps with the sun in your eyes; professional bios with a photo of you and your kids–is your toddler answering your email? It’s all a no go.

Authors who’ve been using the same headshot for a decade? Really?

And animals…don’t get me started about kitty cats. Furry friends should only be in photos with you if you’re a veterinarian or a dog groomer.

Photos are so incredibly important. They convey, attract, explain, inspire, magnetize. The expanse of your smile, the cut of your shirt, the love in your eyes–we want to see it. It’s a big deal. Go out of your way to capture the best you. Plan for a photo shoot like you’d plan to host an unforgettable party.

22 things I’ve learned about looking hot (and not) in a shot

  1. If you’ve got the budget, hire a professional. Find the budget. Range: $200 up to $500 will get you some skill. Paying up to $1000 is not insane if you walk with a set of amazing shots that you can use. More often than not, you will get what you pay for. If you don’t have the funds, connect with a photography or art school, students are always looking to build their portfolios and usually have access to lighting gear.

  2. Many photographers will want to shoot in outdoor natural light. The quality of light is fabulous and it’s low-tech. Personally, I don’t like being shot outdoors, purely because, I’m not an outdoorsy person–it doesn’t feel right and so it’s not in sync with my “brand”. I like indoors, preferably a studio, with white hot lights.

we scrapped this whole shoot, done at sunset, because i squinted for all 100+ photos. squinting = reluctant demon look. not good.

we scrapped this whole shoot, done at sunset, because i squinted for all 100+ photos. squinting = reluctant demon look. not good.

3. Good lighting is EVERYTHING. Good lighting accentuates the right stuff. It clears up skin, makes hair shine, and hugs hips.

4. The day before, get a good night’s sleep. Puffy eyes will ruin a whole shoot. If you’re beat, tea bags on your eyes and a cold cloth help a lot.

5. Two days before, drink lots of water. Dry skin makes for messy make up.

6. 5 days before, get a seriously exfoliating facial.

we shot this in my living room at night, with good lights. had my hair super straightened that morning. grabbed this feather that was on my mantle. never used this shot anywhere because I look like I’m about to pounce on my jungle prey. *Anastasia Chomlack

we shot this in my living room at night, with good lights. had my hair super straightened that morning. grabbed this feather that was on my mantle. never used this shot anywhere because I look like I’m about to pounce on my jungle prey. *Anastasia Chomlack

7. Wear make up. I don’t care if you never so much as powder your nose in everyday life. EVERYONE (including dudes) needs some make up for a professional shoot. It’s not about glamor, it’s about off-setting the harshness of a camera.

8. Do a trial run with your make up before a shoot. Typically, you can get your make up done for free at a MAC or Chanel counter if you purchase some product. Pro coverage starts at about $100. For super fancy magazine shoots, makeup artists will get paid around $300 and up, which is often a day rate.

9. Get your eyebrows threaded or waxed.

this became known as my Obi Wan Kanobi shot. the crew were in winter coats and I’m here freezing my noogies off in the desert. we did this for my last book, spent a few thousand on the day, and scrapped it because it was too cheesy dramatic.

this became known as my Obi Wan Kanobi shot. the crew were in winter coats and I’m here freezing my noogies off in the desert. we did this for my last book, spent a few thousand on the day, and scrapped it because it was too cheesy dramatic.

10. EVERYTHING SHOWS ON CAMERA. EVERYTHING.

11. Clothing: Borrow, rent, invest. You might want to plan for a wardrobe change. Prop it. I did a fancy shoot in a poofy Vera Wang dress that a store let me borrow. I was spilling out of it (Vera doesn’t design for girls with big ta-ta’s.) Masking tape, safety pins and the right angle, et voila! Kinda Supermodel.

12. Bring your iPod and crank it. Music is better than wine.

13. Move your body! Ham it, sauce it, goof it up. I guarantee you the shots that comes right after you’ve laughed will be the winner.

14. If a photographer ever directs you to “rest your chin lightly on your hands and tilt your head,” high tail it out of there.

15. Tits up, back straight, chin slightly down.

16. Don’t be afraid to make suggestions to the photographer–they’re working for you. “Why don’t you get on that ladder and shoot me from above?” When you have a say, you look better.

17. Work with a photographer who makes you laugh and asks questions. Holly & Roger at UnionPhotographers are giggle-folk and, best of all, Holly laughs at my jokes. Anastasia Chomlack walks and talks with me so I get all broody and soft. It all shows up on film.

I’d just had a little cry before this was snapped–one of those days. i’m standing in a white box with a blanket ’round me (and holding my breath because the blankie was about to fall off.) freezing, again. after two hours, Gregory Crow got a winning shot, I was smiling by then.

I’d just had a little cry before this was snapped–one of those days. i’m standing in a white box with a blanket ’round me (and holding my breath because the blankie was about to fall off.) freezing, again. after two hours, Gregory Crow got a winning shot, I was smiling by then.

18. Do a shoot before you think you “need” to, before your site launches, before the magazine calls, well before your Christmas gifts or Valentines Day’s boudoir prezzie. Less pressure, more fun.

19. My personal feelings about Photoshop: not a huge fan of it. While I’m not above Spanx or false eyelashes, I want people to get what they see. Lighting should be all the technology you employ.

20. If you don’t love the final results, say so. You can’t blame the photographer if you think you look hefty or mopey, but a great shoot is very much about team work. The photographer is there to put you in your best light and capture that. Re-shoots are part of the biz.

21. Since you’re looking foxy, film a video on the same day.

22. It takes 100 frames to get one good shot — all you need is that one to make history. Radiate.

the best shots come naturally. *Union Photographers

the best shots come naturally. *Union Photographers