9 Reasons You Look Awful in Photos… And How to Fix Them

Luke Appleby covers 9 common mistakes when shooting people and how to fix them to create more pleasant shots. Of course – if your film calls for it, you could make these mistakes on purpose.


#1: The shooting angle is too low

Generally, the lens should be above your eye level for a more flattering photo 

Either hold the camera little higher (if it’s a selfie), ask the photographer to hold the camera a little higher, find a taller friend to shoot the photo, or bend your knees a little to even the odds. Also, tilt your chin down a little (but not too far) — no one wants to see what’s up your nose.

#2: The focal length is unflattering

Faces look different depending on the focal length of the lens (18mm, 35mm, 200mm etc).

A good range for a natural-looking photo is somewhere between 35mm-85mm, but everyone has a different face. This is why sometimes people think they look great in a mirror but terrible in photos.

To find your best range, have a friend use a camera with a zoom (ideally one with a focal length indicator on the lens) to take multiple shots of you looking at the camera with your face filling the frame each time. Look through them and see which one you like best.

You can usually narrow it down to close, medium, or quite far away. Once you know, ask the photographer to either back off and zoom in or come closer and zoom out so the focal length is within your ideal range.

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