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How I Learned to Drop 40lbs for a Photo Shoot

Updated: Apr 7, 2022

Cathy, here.

If you’re anything like me, you hate getting your photo taken. When the camera turns my way, I get all Chandler Bing about it.

I’m awkward, don’t know how to pose and then try to make funny jokes to offset my vulnerability of discomfort.

Ya hear me?

In the past, I’ve pain-stakingly worked my way through any photo opps and tried to make the best of it.

But then I recently came upon a photo of myself that was truly awful.

Like, truly.

I forgot we were doing team photos that day for work, sported a blazer and loose t-shirt, and figured it would be fine.

It wasn’t.

When I saw the photo post production (which was being used for some promo material), it didn’t look like me. I wasn’t smiling nicely. My eyes looked glazed over. My clothes were all wrong. I was turning in a poor position for the camera.

It looked like I had gained 40 lbs in one photo.

Take a look:

The time span between these two photos?

One Week.

The Weight Difference?


It’s amazing how clothes, posture and angles can play such a role.

This isn’t a story about how I look like I’ve gained weight. Instead, it’s about how I don’t think I put my best self forward when I get my photo taken.

And I want to get over that awkward fear of being vulnerable in front of the camera.

And I think that has a lot to do with mindset and intentionality.

So, I’m getting Intentional with my Photos.

Rather than wallow in the images (at least stop wallowing), I decided to take responsibility for my poor outcomes, and learn ways to better pose for photos that reflect my personality. No dead eyes allowed.

I did some research, and here’s what I came across (thank you, Sorelle)

1. Smile with your Eyes.

If there’s anything I’ve learned from Tyra Banks, it’s to smile with your eyes. In her post-photo shoot deliberations on America’s Next Top Model, Banks would consistently tell the models to smile with their eyes. No dead eyes. I’m working to internalize my inner-Tyra and use that advice as I get my photo taken.

2. Turn for the best angle.

I didn’t even know posing (beyond ANTM) was a THING. But a YouTube search tells me otherwise. It’s an industry. I reviewed some videos, and discovered that angles matter.

3. Posture.

Engage your core, pull your shoulders back. Separate your limbs from your body. Lift arms away from your body. 45-degree angle (not square on). Use angles.

4. Create curves.

One leg in front of the other – one arm in front of the other, sit into your hips and push one side out to create curves

5. Pick a favourite side of the face.

6. Chase the light – tilt your head up to the sun

7. Fake Laugh.

Start ridiculously laughing so you’ll break into a real laugh.

8. Chin forward and down.

(game changer)

Things to AVOID:

· Laughing too much

· Don’t fake smile (Chandler Bing)

· Relax your eyes

While these are great tips, the biggest piece of advice I got from these videos was this:

Play around. Take plenty of photos, and work the angles. Practise in front of your mirror.

It takes some trial and error, and it doesn’t have to be perfect.

Next Steps?

This makes me so uncomfortable, but going into our next photoshoot with this knowledge will help me get more comfortable in front of the camera and feel like it reflects more of who I really am.

Is this ego-centric advice? Maybe. But I think it goes deeper to knowing how to gain the confidence to show up, be proud of who you are, and put your best look forward.

p.s. We have an amazing one-page guide in our Business Resource Library about how to take better photos (of anything!) and Sasha did an hour-long webinar all about how to take better photos with your cell phone.

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