6 simple tricks to instantly look better in any photo

How to look thinner in photos. Tips to look taller, better and lose a double chin.
Oliver Rossi / Getty Images
Oliver Rossi / Today

They say the camera adds 10 pounds — but if you follow these expert tips you can master any shot, from a quick selfie to a formal family portrait. 

Slenderize in seconds
Stretch a thick rubber band and you'll notice that it gets thinner the more you pull. The same concept goes for your body. Just before your photo is snapped, lengthen your silhouette by tightening through your core, elongating your spine from your neck to your hips and relaxing your shoulders down. 

“When posing in a seated position, sit on the edge of the chair with your legs at an angle, ankles crossed. This keeps your body long,” says Jenny Kaya, director of photography for international event planning company Hollywood POP Gallery. “When in a standing pose, keep your spine strong and your torso tight,” she adds. “Isolating the muscles in view can give the illusion of tone.” If the photo is shot in a carefree style, feel free to throw those arms up over your head and lengthen the body even further.  

Erase a double chin
There's nothing like a double chin to add 20 pounds in the flash of a camera bulb. Thankfully, the solution is as simple as it is effective. “Point your chin down, and then stick it out, like a turtle,” says facial exercise trainer Cynthia Rowland. “It works every time.”

An easy red-carpet contouring trick can also eliminate a double chin. Makeup artist and cosmetics line creator Susan Posnick suggests applying warm brown powder eye shadow or bronzer that is three shades deeper than your normal foundation just below the jawline, using a small blush brush to blend in a V-shape beneath the chin and onto the neck. “This strengthens the jawline and makes that double chin disappear,” she explains. 

Add instant cheekbones
The camera can make faces appear less sculpted than they are in life by visually flattening out our bone structure. The fix? According to Raychel Wade, Mary Kay celebrity makeup artist and featured expert on "Randy to the Rescue", it’s all about tricking the lens with strategic highlighting and contouring. Start by dusting bronzer just beneath the cheekbones and then carefully sweeping a touch of highlighter where light hits, such as the top of the cheeks, cupid's bow and brow bone. Now strike a pose and click away.

Shape up without exercise
There’s a reason celebs squeeze into shapewear before slipping on a skimpy dress. “The right shapewear can make you look 10 pounds thinner and instantly take you from frumpy to fabulous in any outfit,” says style expert Mary Alice Stephenson, a guest expert for lingerie brand Maidenform. Another trick? Make sure that your undergarments are properly fitted and that they don’t create rolls rather than hiding them. “Bra straps are notorious for this,” Kawa points out. “You should wear something that supports without digging into your skin.”

Skip 'high-calorie' fabrics
“Materials such as Lycra and rayon have a tendency to reveal every dreaded crease you have worked so hard to disguise,” says Kawa. Woven, matte fabrics are typically more forgiving. When it comes to prints, “small stripes or polka dots tend to photograph wide, but wearing solid colors with accent pieces around the head and shoulders draws attention up and away from the body,” she adds.

Drink up to de-puff
If you’re gearing up for a formal family portrait, try downing a little extra water, swapping processed foods for lean proteins and making sure you get your nightly eight hours in the week leading up to your shoot. This will help you lose any bloat and look your best. “If you are a coffee drinker, switch to green tea for the week to rev the metabolism and cut back on the carbohydrates, fats and alcohol,” encourages Kawa.