If there's one thing to take away from all your hungover binging of America's Next Top Model, it's that smize-ing is the secret to being photogenic... along with being very, very objectively attractive. For the rest of us average-featured folk, here's a handy set of simple tricks to employ that'll ensure you end up with a profile pic-worthy shot every time.
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Push out your forehead
You'll feel like a complete idiot doing this, but tipping your forehead towards the camera with your chin slightly down can do wonders for any headshot. It's a foolproof way to avoid capturing a double-chin and it draws the eye to your face from a more flattering angle.
Always be squinching Halfway between a squint and a wide-eyed stare, the "squinch," where you bring your lower lid up just slightly, will instantly make anyone more photogenic. It takes some practice to truly master, but professional portrait photographer Peter Hurley has a spectacular video outlining exactly how to do it well.
Don't face the camera directly
When you look straight-on at the camera, you flatten your appearance and risk exposing the dreaded double-chin. Instead, position your body slightly away from the camera, turn your head towards the lens, and drop your front-facing shoulder forward a bit. This will accentuate your facial features -- particularly the jawline -- and result in a far more flattering shot. If you want to practice, here's another helpful video from portrait photog Peter Hurley.
Don't stand under unnatural light
Unless you're looking to land an audition for the latest Insidious flick, stay out of any direct overhead lighting. It'll cast creepy shadows and create a generally unflattering look. If possible, move towards any semblance of natural light, or stand far enough behind the artificial light to create a balanced glow.
Take a deep breath to relax It may sound a little hippy dippy, but taking a few moments before the shutter goes off to calm yourself will help you look more at ease and natural. Photojojo advises closing your eyes, taking a deep breath, and waiting for the photographer to count to three, then opening and breathing out just before the shutter clicks.
Add a prop
Having something to carry or hold onto will relax your body and give your hands something to do rather than awkwardly lurk at your side or in the air.
Stand in front of a white backdrop
Stepping in front of a lighter background will not only make your face look brighter, but it will also help the camera's settings adjust so the color balance doesn't screw with your skin tone.
Put your tongue behind your teeth when you smile It will keep you from going full Joker with a too-wide grin, which can not only come across as fake, but also scary.
Joe McGauley is a senior editor for Thrillist Media Group and a frequent victim of derp face.