How to never take a bad picture again

Not all people like being photographed. Many people I know feel uncomfortable, insecure and doesn’t know how to act as soon as a camera enters the room. They shy away and mumble something about “never looking good in pictures”. When I was working as a model I learned some great tricks that everybody can use to take a good-looking photo. You don’t have to be a model to succeed. These are my best tips for a good picture:

Lighting is key.
It may sound simple, but it does a lot for the picture. No one, not even top models, looks good when the lighting is bad. Avoid backlight and sharp lighting from above that can create strange shadows on your face. Let the natural light from the window fall on you if you are inside, because standing in front of a window with backlight almost never looks good. To photograph outside in daylight when the sun is directly overhead does also rarely serve to anyone’s advantage.

The importance of glow and some well put concealer.
Your makeup can look very different in a picture from what it does in real life. If you know that you are going to be photographed, you might want to apply some extra concealer to cover dark circles and sweep some bronzer over your cheeks and nose. A highlighter or facial oil can also be applied on the cheekbones to add extra glow.

Photo 1: Emma Sjöberg & Karen Mulder for ELLE Japão, 1993.

Do you have a sweet side?
A German photographer once told me that the right side of my face is my “chokoladenseite” (chocolate side) and I have noticed that I tend to like pictures where I show more of my right side a little bit better. Try looking at yourself in front of a mirror to discover your sweet side.


Adjust your chin.
A small adjustment of your chin, up or down, can often make a big difference.

Strike a (natural) pose.
A lot of people don’t know what to do with their arms and hands. Learn a few natural poses like putting your hands in your pockets, crossing your arms or just letting them hand relaxed. Avoid putting your hands on your side too often, as it often looks quite posing and fake.

Photo: Tobias Lundkvist for Damernas Värld

Laugh and think about something that makes you happy.
A fake smile is often given away by your eyes. Think about someone or something that makes you happy to bring out a natural smile from within. Being yourself and avoiding freezing in front of the camera often results in the best pictures.