We all know how great celebrities look in highly edited photos, but the real test is how good they look on the red carpet and on their social media. A picture is worth a thousand likes and a snapshot is never just a snapshot.
Whether it’s nailing the best pose, an app to edit, finding great lighting, or just applying the right makeup, a good photo can take a lot of work before, during, and after it is taken. So how do celebs look their most photogenic? Read on to discover the best tips, tricks and ideas.
Light your best angles
Television personality and celebrity stylist Ali Levine is known for taking amazing selfies. She even has a lighting kit set up in her living room to make sure all of her shots are perfectly lit. She told me, “When you are taking a selfie, always be aware of the lights around you. Position yourself away from the natural lighting of the room. Get a lighting kit and also a ring light because having just two lights can cause harsh shadowing and contrast. It doesn’t have to break the bank. You should invest in the ring light the most.” She added, “Make sure your ring light is large enough. The light needs to hit your entire face. You want the ring light to balance out and give you a natural glow.”
But, perfect lighting isn’t the whole story. “Know your best angles,” Levine says. “Stand wherever you take pictures…Find where the light is coming in the best, where it is not reflecting, or giving you a shadow. You have to know your own angles. Know which side you are trying to shoot from. You have to experiment and shoot lots of pictures. Only you can determine how you look best.”
Use an editing app
Reality star and celeb hairstylist Anthony Pazos believes you have to attack your photo from a variety of angles to get just the right one. Like Levine, he also recommends good lighting, saying a portable ring light is a must.
While there are lots of ring lights on the market, one of the most popular and affordable choices is the Diva Ring. According to Racked, in the past, ring lights were used strictly by professional photographers and videographers, but most of the people who are buying this equipment today are vloggers.
Pazos also suggests downloading the Facetune app, but to be careful not to overdo it. “Never overture your photos,” he says, “An adjustment here and there makes your photos look flawless.” But, even if you have the best lighting and editing, you still need a good base, so Pazos suggests learning how to be your own makeup artist, especially regarding highlighting and contouring. Not sure how to do this? His tutorials are a great place to start.
Actress-model, Caitlin O’Connor doesn’t use any special apps to edit her photos. Instead, she relies on good old-fashioned natural lighting and Instagram filters to achieve her signature look. “For my photos on Instagram, I use a combo of filters and good lighting. I adjust the contrast and colors for each photo,” she told me. “I use white natural light at a window or shaded areas outside. I use the highest resolution photos that I can find. When taking a selfie in the mirror I angle the camera down so that my waist looks smaller.”
O’Connor confessed that she isn’t afraid to ask her friends for help, if need be, “When taking a booty shot or outfit photo, I have somebody kneel down and aim upward with the camera.” Even if you don’t have other people around to get the right angle, she recommends “[taking] a few options of each photo so you can pick the best one!”
Fill ‘er up
They might not tell you, but most celebrities in Hollywood get Botox and fillers. Dr. Sal Nakardni, owner of Rejuvenation in Motion, helps Hollywood keep aging a secret. As a concierge doctor, he is summoned by Hollywood’s elite to enhance and fill their faces in the privacy of their own homes. Dr. Nakardni divulged why these treatments are so popular among the selfie set, telling me, “We live in an era of high-def cameras and TV’s. So not only will ordinary wrinkles and blemishes show up on camera, but so will those fine lines and shallow creases.”
So, how does it all work? He says, “Botox will smooth out those fine lines and wrinkles in your forehead, frown lines (“11″ lines between the eyebrows), and crow’s feet (fine lines on the side of the eyes). And filler will fill in your smile lines (creases between the nostril and edge of lips), add volume to the cheeks and tear troughs (area under the eyes), plump up your lips, fill in lip creases (tiny vertical creases above/below the lips), square your jaw line, and even a few other uses. Celebs love them since all those wrinkles and even shallow creases magically disappear after a touch of Botox and filler, hopefully resulting in the flawless and rejuvenated look they need in the high-def world we live in.”
Nail your pose
Instagram via ezinatv
Author and musician Ezina believes the key to looking your best is choosing the right pose. One of her favorites is the Purse Pose. “On days when I feel a bit bloated and don’t want that bloat to be seen on camera,” she says, “I hold my purse in front of my tummy to mask it.” If you want a more ladylike look, Ezina recommends the Criss Cross pose, which she says will “smooth out any lines on clothes from sitting. Cross your legs at the ankles and push your chest forward.”
For taking pictures in dark locations, Ezina likes The Chin Pusher, “Sometimes you are photographed at night time indoors where lighting is not the best. Push your chin forward to avoid having shadows that look like a double chin.” She also has two ways of posing to look slimmer. “To look slender in photos place your hand on your hip and pop it. You can pop it forward or back. Choose one direction and work it.” She also recommends leaning away from the camera, “Lean back and press your chest forward to slenderize your figure.”
If you want to steal Ezina’s beautiful smile, she even has a pose for her mouth that she calls a Roofie, “Put your tongue on the roof of your mouth while smiling. I’m looking at you Heidi Klum and Tyra Banks!” She also says the Slide and Glide is always a good choice, “Turn sideways and gracefully glide one foot in front of the other one. Point your front toe and glide your head over your shoulder.” Her favorite photo editing apps are Enlight, Filterstorm Neue and VSCO.
Try new looks in an app
According to Life & Style, the Kardashian sisters, who are essentially responsible for the entire selfie craze, are all about a makeover app called Perfect365. It’s a free digital makeup platform that is packed with useful features. With over 20 different kinds of makeup and beauty tools, just one tap gets you an entirely new look using blush, eyeshadow, eyeliner, lipstick, and mascara, as well as other cosmetics.
One of the most useful features of Perfect365 is the live mirror, where users can try on products instantly from several brands including Anna Sui, Chella, Naked Cosmetics, Dirty Little Secret, and more. In addition to the makeover features, there are tons of beauty tutorials, style recommendations, tips from YouTube beauty influencers, and even enthusiastic members of the Perfect365 beauty community.
Light it up with a LuMee case
According to Business Insider, the key to taking the best selfies is using a LuMee case on your Smartphone. Developed by professional photographer Allan Shoemake in 2011, he got the idea when he became annoyed with everyone’s awful selfies. He said in the article, “When social media started up, I would look at photos people had taken and I would wonder why bother. Now there are all these front-facing cameras, but there’s no lighting for them.” LuMee provides natural looking LED lighting for both front and back smartphone cameras.
But it’s not just celebs who like to light their faces with LuMee. Former presidential nominee Hillary Clinton even told Ellen DeGeneres, she is a huge fan of the device.
Get your YouCam on
Instagram via vanessajsimmons
Project Runway judge Vanessa Simmons is a fan of the YouCam beauty app. In April 2017, she even created a signature makeup look for the app, and presented a live in-app tutorial so other users could learn her beauty secrets. She showed off her YouCam pride on Instagram.
YouCam was developed with facial recognition technology that allows you to try on products seamlessly and move in different angles for the perfect look and virtual application. You can have a full face of makeup with lipsticks, blush, eye makeup, faux lashes, colored contacts, and even more to choose from. YouCam has also promoted a variety of brands from classic such as Lancôme, MAC, Elizabeth Arden, and Ardell, all the way to hot newer brands including Charlotte Tilbury, Laura Geller, and e.l.f. cosmetics.
Use HD makeup
Have you ever wondered how actress Amanda Peet has flawless skin in every photo she takes? It’s because according to In Style, she uses Makeup Forever’s HD Foundation, specifically in a shade called “marble.” Unlike regular foundation, HD (or High Definition) foundation is formulated specifically for people being photographed. In Style also published an article explaining that pigments in an HD formulation are coated to look more like skin, so makeup is smooth and less detectable to a camera lens.
In addition to foundation, there are many other HD products available including blush, concealer, powder, eye shadow and BB cream. Even less-expensive drugstore makeup brands are getting in on the HD game, with brands like e.l.f. offering several different HD products including powders and a mattifying balm.
Create your own filters
Instagram via TheSkinnyConfidential
Blogger, author, influencer and podcaster, Lauryn Evarts, posts some of the most beautiful photos on her blog, The Skinny Confidential. But sometimes, if you want the job done right, you have to do it yourself, so she created a set of three filters not just to improve her own photos, but so she could help others achieve their best look as well.
True to her Skinny Confidential brand, these filters even have adorable names. The Tennis Club filter was created to use on bright days, for fun times, while wearing your most stylish tennis whites and maybe even while sipping on a glass of wine to celebrate a victorious match. She uses this for lifestyle, fitness, dog and outdoor shots.
Inspired by the real thing, the Lemonade Stand filter is bright and vibrant. It’s the perfect choice to capture the colors in food and drinks. The Skinny Chic filter is dark, sexy and dramatic. It’s the right way to get night shots, or show off sultry makeup.
Whiten your teeth with LEDs
What’s a selfie without a million dollar smile? Luckily, you don’t have to spend a a lot of money or even go to the dentist to get one like Ciara. According to In Style, she makes her whites even pearlier using an LED teeth-whitening kit. LED kits work because the light triggers a chemical reaction in the gel on your teeth to remove stains, and whiten.
These kits are a fast and affective way to smile like a celebrity. One of the most affordable versions is the Aura Glow Deluxe Home Teeth Whitening System, which comes with a tray designed to fit universally (so no need to shell out for a custom fit), two syringes of dental-grade whitening gel and a light that contains five LED bulbs. For optimal results, use it every day for seven to ten days. Aura Glow also makes the Professional On-The-Go Teeth Whitening Pen for quick pre-selfie smile touch-ups.
Learn what works best for you
There are countless tools to help you nail a perfect shot. But whether you find your own signature pose, discover a filter that makes you look like an off-duty model, or get really good at using one of the many editing apps available, it’s all about finding what works best for you.
With all the different ways to light, edit, and a take a picture, there’s no excuse not to look your best. But perhaps the best tip is to do what every celeb does: let the real you shine through and the camera will capture your own unique vibe and beauty.