Meg here! A while ago some looney-tune wrote a comment that she was going to release a photo of me “with a double chin.” I did her one better by not only e-blasting the worst photo I could find of myself to 25,000 women but being able to laugh at it and her ridiculous “threat.” Here’s a tip-If anyone is ever threatening to “tell on you” just tell on yourself. You’re a great person and HUMAN! We all mess up so it goes back to the entire “live in a glass house?” bit. No one should ever expect you to be perfect and who wants that? Every disaster is just a lesson that you’ve learned for next time. Those “perfect people” probably have a human head in their ice-box.
To avoid being “black mailed” ever again, I needed to learn exactly what it takes to take a perfect picture. I was a model back when there were dinosaurs and I know a little bit but that is only from hands-on training. A lot of you have weddings, class and family reunions coming up and are going to photographed. I thought I would ask my friend and photographer Elisabeth Caren to tell us exactly “HOW TO TAKE A PERFECT PICTURE.” Elisabeth provided the atmosphere and talent to make not only my photographs absolutely gorgeous (If I do say so myself!) The whole experience was exactly what a woman would want. I LOVE the camera, sometimes it doesn’t always love me back. Elisabeth Caren spent the day shooting me relaxed, she made me confident in myself and didn’t even mind my cigg or champagne breaks. That shot up top of me? Yup, Elisabeth shot it. I felt H-O-T and I’m proud of that photo. I know that I’m one lucky girl and I want all of you to feel as gorgeous and confident the next time you step in front of the flash. Please read her tips on how to take a perfect photo and feel free to fwd it on to any brides-to-be. This is knowledge meant to be shared with all women! Nothing makes or breaks a day like a photo. In the age of Facebook you know you’re going to be seen.
Meg: Generally, what is the best time of day to take a photo, what is our ideal light?
The two best times for natural light is early in the morning and at sunset (also called the “golden hour”) because this is when the light is the softest. The worst time of day for a portrait is in the middle of the day – especially when the sun is directly over head, which causes “panda eyes” the shadows under your eyes made from one’s brow bone. That said, it’s fine to shoot in the middle of the day if you have a flash or in the shade.
Meg: Is there a color we should avoid? Is there a color we should gravitate towards?
In terms of colors, it depends on each person’s skin tone, hair and eye color. In general, solid colors work better than patterns or prints. It’s important to remember that you want the focus of the portrait to be on the face; you don’t want to compete with a pattern. Also when a person looks at a photograph, the first thing that will catch your eyes is the lightest area in the photograph – so the lightest area should be the whites of the eyes. Only in fashion photography should the first thing you notice be the clothes. Beauty is subjective, but I think dark skin looks gorgeous in white or very bright colors and black clothes for lighter skin is about as safe and classic as you can get. Personally, I think the colors to avoid in general are yellow and beige.
Do you have a general tip on outfits in general? What do you find universally flattering?
Open collar necklines are almost always universally flattering (i.e. a blouse with an open neckline). This does not mean you have to show cleavage, it’s just that high collars and turtlenecks can make someone look as if one doesn’t have a neck. Since the Greek era a classical sign of beauty for women has always been the clavicle (collar bone) so if we can see some of the clavicle, it will usually be flattering. Avoid wearing strapless tops because if the portrait is cropped as a headshot it will look as if the person is nude.
What hints are there to make our faces appear slimmer?
There are two things that people tend to do when smiling for a photograph – either give themselves a double chin or raise their head. Both are extremely unflattering. It sounds strange, but the best thing to do is to bring your shoulders back, stick out your head a little like a turtle and tilt your head down. It may feel awkward, but I promise this is the most the flattering pose, especially to appear slimmer. Generally having the photographer shoot down will make you appear slimmer. Never let the photographer be lower than your head, shooting up at you – this will guarantee an unflattering photo!
How about our bodies?
It may feel awkward, but the best thing you can do is to make sure your posture is perfect – sit or stand up straight as you can with your shoulders back which will not only make everything look slimmer, but will also make you look more confident. Bending your elbows will definitely make them appear slimmer; keeping them lax and straight will absolutely make them appear larger.
If I am going to get a professional photographer and want to spend some money what are things that I should look for?
Well of course the best thing is to have a personal recommendation. The number one most important thing is that you feel comfortable with the photographer. A photo shoot can be one of the most fun, confidence boosting experiences you can have. If you feel relaxed and beautiful your photo session and portrait will be great. I hate to say it, but that is one reason women often prefer female photographers; because they feel more comfortable in the presence of a female (this is not limited to photographers – doctors, massage therapists, etc). That said, of course there are incredible male photographers who make women feel absolutely gorgeous.
Regarding spending some money – if you think about it – except for school photos or weddings, when else do we ever have professional portraits taken? I think it’s a tragedy to not have a beautiful portrait of oneself! If you go to the great art museums, you can see that for centuries people commissioned portraits – it’s one of the most beautiful luxuries you can experience and lasts a lifetime. You will never look this young again, so it’s a great time to take a photo! Also, don’t worry about your skin – retouching will take care of any thing you are worried about. Also, I know it is more expensive, but a great make up artist and hair stylist is absolutely invaluable in terms of a fabulous portrait – and worth every penny. Plan a night out the day you have your make up and hair done and portraits taken and you will definitely feel great!
Look at the photographers website and see if you like their work. Scan through books, magazines and online for photos you love and would love to have a similar portrait (i.e. style, location, lighting, make up, etc) and ask the photographer if he/she can do that.
I know you’ve worked with me and I’m you’re absolute 100% most favorite person you’ve ever shot, who is next up and why?
Meg – you were an absolute joy to work with and of course your background in modeling was an added bonus! Next up is Ashley Richards who is starring in Lauren Iungerich’s the new MTV pilot “That Girl.”
Elisabeth Caren is a wonderful woman that I completely adore. Take a portrait! You’re going to want to remember your beauty. Elisabeth’s shots capture you at your best!
What photo tricks do you give? Incorporate this to your daily life! what does a “big event” mean to you? I get botox 7 days prior and full hair and make-up! How do you capture a timeless event?