Sure, they’ve got armies of personal trainers and personal stylists—as well as some of the world’s best genes—but celebrities have a something else that helps them look amazing in just about every single photo they pose for: knowledge and experience.
They simply know what to do in front of any camera, from the proper angling of their chins to the smallest bodily movements they know will paint their frames and faces in a much more flattering light. If you’ve ever wondered how you can look your best, too, read on. Here we’ve compiled the 20 top star-approved tricks for becoming instantly more photogenic. And for more ways of looking your best, see these 26 Ways to Make Your Instagram More Compelling.
Cross your legs
If you’re taking a straight-on photo, crossing your legs at the ankles will create a more elongated, vertical line with your body. As such, it will make you appear instantly taller—and slimmer, too! And if you need some extra help slimming down after the holidays, check out the Best Way to Lose Weight in Winter.
Tuck your tongue behind your teeth
This is one of the oldest red-carpet tricks in the book. Now, why tuck your tongue behind your teeth? Well, not only does it control your smile so it doesn’t look silly, but it also has the illusion of slimming your neck. And for more ways to look your very best, know the 40 Things No Man Should Ever Wear to Work.
Tilt your hips back
Attention, ladies: According to Aerie model Iskra Lawrence, this is one of the surest ways of creating a fake thigh gap—the little sliver of space between your inner thighs. (Now, to be clear: we don’t condone today’s controversial thigh gap obsession, but if it’s a look you’d like to pull off in a photograph, this is a surefire way to do it.)
Stand on your toes
Want the illusion of an even more overt thigh gap? Iskra recommends tilting your hips back and standing on your toes to boot. This combination of these two moves will create the illusion of more space between your legs. And remember: Nothing is sexier than confidence, so be sure to read theses 70 Genius Tricks to Boost Your Confidence.
Show your left side
Take it from Ariana Grande: you have a good side, and you should use it to your advantage. Usually, it’s the left side of your face, according to a study conducted by researchers at Wake Forest University.
Researchers chalk up this phenomenon to the “right-hemisphere hypothesis,” which argues that the brain’s right hemisphere is responsible for perceiving and expressing emotions visually—and, as a result, the left side of your face is more active.
Elongate the neck and point the chin down
Banish those annoying double chins by elongating your neck—imagine that a string in the center of your head is pulling you upward—and very subtly pointing the chin down. This little hack will give you your most chiseled look possible. And remember: knowing all your best angles is one of the 20 Easy Ways to Look a Decade Younger.
Get your foundation right
Every woman knows that poorly matched foundation will ruin any look. But what she may not know is how disastrous it is for photographs. After all, if your foundation is too light for your skin, a flash will immediately make it noticeable, giving you the complexion of a ghost.
Try to “smize”
TV host and supermodel Tyra Banks coined this term on the reality show America’s Next Top Model. To smize means to smile with your eyes. To do so, try squinting ever-so-slightly, to give the skin around your eyes a little bit of texture. When you master the technique, no one will accuse you of having a fake smile ever again.
Wear bright lipstick
Dark lip gloss can be fun, but before you try to emulate Kylie Jenner, know that a harsh lip palette can potentially make you look older. Brighter lipstick, thankfully, does the opposite—it makes lips look fuller, bigger, and brighter (obviously).
Place your hand on your hip
According to the model Iskra, anything in the foreground of a photo is always going to appear bigger—so if you tuck your arm slightly back, it will give it a minimizing effect and make your arm appear more toned. And if you’re looking to lose a few pounds, don’t miss these 33 Ways to Stay Lean for Life.
Take your photo outside between 4 and 6pm
It’s a fact: This is the golden time of the day when the sun’s warm rays make everyone look their very best. Against this soft natural light, your features will appear softer and your complexion will look its very best.
Shoot from above
Remember: Anyone who wants to photograph you from below is not your friend. (See: Double chin, terrible lighting.) Always be sure the person shooting you is doing some from slightly above, and you’ll look instantly slimmer.
Angle your hips
We’re not all Kim Kardashian. But we can all tilt our hips toward the camera and achieve the feat of shaving a few pounds off our midsections. Trust me: It’s a trick that everyone from Taylor Swift to Blake Lively uses.
If you selfie, selfie down
It’s a selfie must: If you’re taking a photo of yourself, angle the camera down from directly ahead. This angle will offer the illusion of cinching the waist more dramatically, says actress Caitlin O’Connor.
Use HD makeup
High-definition makeup, which is designed to look more natural in photos than regular, caked-on makeup—and, yes, which was created specifically to accommodate our current era of HD cameras—has been around for a while now. But here’s the thing: They work. As Nicholas Lujan of Make Up For Ever told InStyle: “While traditional foundations can look mask-like or heavy, ultra HD foundations mimic the look of skin and are less detectable on camera. They can help to even skin tone and texture, even with minimal product.”
Purse your lips
If you’re a fan of Chrissy Teigen and Jennifer Lawrence, take note. Both of those celebs have plump, defined cheeks, and when they purse their lips, it makes them both instantly more photogenic.
It’s a common tactic among people taking photos for their dating apps: Instead of taking a photo, record a video of yourself hanging out with some friends. Then watch the video closely and take a screenshot of a moment when you look fantastic. Why? You won’t look posed and your expression will be authentic. If you’re posing for a photo, try your best to recreate such magic by laughing. If it helps, think of something funny.
Look toward a light
If you do so in the moments before a photo is taken, it will shrink your pupils, which—believe it or not—fights unflattering and unwanted red-eye.
Put all your weight on one leg
Want a poppin’ booty for your next Instagram photo? This is a trick taken right from Instagram models themselves. If you put all your weight on your right leg, then pop your hip out, it will create the appearance of a Kardashian-level booty and a curvalicious thigh.
Practice good posture
Nothing ruins a photo like a hunchback or a crooked spine. Whenever you’re taking a photo, make sure you’re practicing your best posture. And to look as cool and relaxed as possible, know these 10 Secrets for Beating Stress in 10 Minutes (Or Less!)
To discover more amazing secrets about living your best life, click here to sign up for our FREE daily newsletter!