The holidays are quickly approaching, and I am so excited! It’s truly the most wonderful time of the year… even in this bizarre one we are now winding down. Soon the lights will twinkle and homes will be splashed in festive decor. There will be celebrations and times for family to gather.
With the holiday season comes a lot of picture taking. Whether you are preparing for the family Christmas card, snapping a group picture at Thanksgiving dinner, or you are just in the background opening gifts, trust me… you will end up in a picture somehow. For many Plus Sized people, having your picture taken can cause a lot of anxiety. Some hide in the back of a photo, barely visible to the camera, while others volunteer to take the shot so they don’t have to be seen at all.
I am here to tell you though, photos are one of the most important and precious ways to document your family’s story. My photographs are my most treasured possession. They are a time capsule, helping me to recall the parts of my life that mean the most. Long after things change in life, photos are the one thing that remain the same. I can almost smell my Grammy’s perfume when I see a picture of her sweet face. I can hear my friend Danielle laugh in the photos of her with her head thrown back. I can remember all of the sweet and strange things that first made me fall in love with Jeff by looking at pictures of us in college. I can’t imagine not having those memories to treasure.
All I am saying is… stop hiding. Let the camera focus on all the amazing things you are and create a memory for the people who love you! Don’t let the lens fill you with fear or anxiety. Step right in front of it, and be proud! Here are a few tips I have found help me feel fierce and amazing on camera.
Learn To Find Your Best Angles: Really, no one on earth looks good when shot straight to camera. Turn with your hips and shoulders at a slight angle to the camera lens, with your front foot pointed toward the camera. This creates a slimming effect and a pretty silhouette. Putting a hand on your hip or in a pocket can help keep your arms from making you look too blocky. Tipping your head at a slight angle to give your jaw definition is helpful too. All of these things may seem strange at first, but eventually they will feel natural when you are in front of a camera.
Emphasize The Parts You Love: Everyone has parts of their body they aren’t thrilled with. Even “perfect” people have things they don’t love about themselves. It’s totally ok to try and avoid showing those parts to the universe. However, YOU are not the things you want to hide. There are so many more beautiful parts to each and every person. When having a photo taken, try to find ways to celebrate the parts of you that you like best. I love my high cheekbones… no contour needed… so I like to have photos that emphasize my face. I also love my collarbones and my bust, so I wear clothes that make them the star.
Find Colors That Make You Pop: Wearing the colors that make you glow is a powerful thing. The colors of the Pantone universe are endless. Your photos will look absolutely gorgeous when you find the colors that bring out the natural beauty in your hair, your eyes and your skin. And there is no need to be matchy-matchy with the other people in your photographs. Try to make subtle homages to each other’s ensemble while highlighting the best colors for each person in the picture. (To find out your power colors, try taking a quiz like the one available from Color Me Beautiful.)
Wear What Makes You Happy: Yes, there are outfits you can wear to make you look “slimmer” in a photo, but at the end of the day, your body is still your body. There are no magic clothes that will make you look like you are someone else. Instead of worrying about hiding who you are, wear something that makes you feel great. Do you love leggings and a cozy sweater? Find one in your favorite color and rock that thing with some cool jewelry. Do you love fluffy skirts and glitter? Let that fabulosity fly! Wear what makes you smile and your photos will make you smile too!
Use A Photographer You Trust: Having someone behind the camera who celebrates YOU is key to getting a great photo. Find someone who is patient and will take their time to shoot you in a way that honors your body. It may take a while to find the perfect shot, not just a quick snap. Make sure your photographer is someone who will encourage you, give you direction, and will help you relax.
Once In A While, Hire A Professional: I cannot emphasize enough the power of using a professional photographer! I’m not talking about your friend with the great camera. No, I mean hiring someone with a reputation for taking wonderful pictures. Their knowledge of lighting, location, and editing can make all the difference between a picture that is passable and one that is a piece of art worth hanging in your home. I know it’s expensive, but it is worth the investment… I promise.
Remember, Confidence Is Everything: There is a famous quote, attributed to Sophia Loren, that says “Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief that she is beautiful.” It’s completely true! When you are proud of who you are, it shines through to the very tips of your fingers. Style your hair, put on your favorite outfit, and step in front of that camera knowing that you are amazing. Confidence is VERY sexy.
Next time you have to have a picture taken, remember to relax and be yourself. Hopefully these little reminders will help you celebrate your body and take a picture that allows you to feel like the amazing work of art that you are!