1. Know Your Angles
According to Lathrop, it's all about the angle. “The basic rule of thumb is the three-quarter angle,” he says. “Whether you're sitting or standing, you always want to position your shoulders and hips at an angle to the camera.” By doing this, you're inadvertently masking a quarter of your body, instantly creating a slimmer profile. Plus, you avoid the square-shoulder, bland look of a straight-forward photo. The same technique should be applied when sitting. Lathrop recommends crossing your legs at the knee. Make sure the leg facing the camera is on top—it'll elongate your gams and reduce the appearance of cellulite.
2. Strike a Pose
Not sure what to do with your hands? Lathrop says that placing a simple hand on the hip gives off the perfect, casual vibe. “Shifting your weight to one foot and placing your hand on your hip gives the body more dimension,” he says. Use your body to your advantage. If you're thicker in the middle, try placing your hand at the waistline—not hip—to accentuate the smallest part of your waist.
3. Keep It Neutral
Photographers and makeup artists agree: Stick to neutrals. Whether it's your clothing or makeup, opt for warm, neutral hues that will complement your skin instead of highlighting its flaws. Lathrop recommends shades of brown, yellow and orange for clothing. Makeup artist Travis Culberson, the resident guru for The Tyra Banks Show, notes that most women look best in a peachy-pink makeup palette. The neutral rule applies to undergarments, too. Try to keep them skin-toned so you don't have any fashion mishaps, especially under the harsh light of a flash.
4. Cleanse and Blend
The trade secret to a flawless photo? Clean, clear skin. Culberson says to start off with a beautiful base: “You should always remove makeup with a makeup remover, and gently cleanse, tone and moisturize the skin.” Then, he recommends ditching the concealer and using a tinted moisturizer to even out skin tone and lighten the appearance of freckles and discoloration. He adds, “You should always wear makeup that is comfortable for you to apply.” Bronzers can also provide a big complexion boost—just be sure to keep shimmery varieties away from your T-zone and blend around the jaw and down your neck.
5. The Ultimate Accessory
We know you've heard it before, but we're going to say it again: Confidence is the best accessory. Under the hard focus of the lens, it's easy to let your insecurities bubble to the surface. “People tend to show tension across their brow and mouth,” Lathrop says. “An easy way to relax these muscles is to smile real wide and release, then raise your brows nice and high and release.” We know it's tough to keep your expression natural while waiting for the photo to be snapped, so always ask for a count of “1, 2, 3, Cheese!”