3 Posing Hacks to Rock Your Next Selfie

Christmas is coming, New Year’s Eve isn’t far behind, and you know what that means? It’s time for PARTIES!!! Christmas parties, office parties, end-of-the-semester parties, your kid’s classroom party, Christmas gatherings with extended family, and the biggest party of the year, New Year’s Eve! And do you know what parties mean? PICTURES! Whether it’s your Aunt Edna pulling out her point-and-shoot for family photos at Christmas dinner, or your BFF taking a million selfies on NYE, there’s a good chance you’re going to end up in a few pictures that make the rounds on social media in the next couple of weeks.

 3 posing hacks to make you look less awkward in front of the camera - Jason & Melaina Photography, Waco & Texas Wedding Photographers - www.jasonandmelaina.com

But what if having your picture taken fills you with dread and makes you get the nervous sweats? What if you want to look posed and confidence like the picture on the right, but are terrified you’ll look more awkward and uncomfortable like the picture on the left?

Have no fear, friend! We’ve literally taken courses on how to pose people in flattering poses and we’re going to share with all you ladies (sorry, fellas) 3 quick posing tricks to give you confidence the next time your picture is taken.

These posing tips deal with 3 areas of the body women often consider unflattering in pictures - their necks, their upper arms, and their hips. So scroll down to learn our tips to make your neck double-chin-less, your arms slender, and trick the eye into thinking you’ve dropped a full dress size!

The Neck - “The Turtle” Posing Hack

Ever open up the camera on your phone and look down to realize it’s still on selfie mode? Then you know how unflattering multiple chins can look! If the potential to have a double-chin or saggy neck is something you worry about when you get your picture taken, there’s actually a really easy fix for this.

 Get rid of your double-chin in photos with this posing trick - Jason & Melaina Photography, Waco & Texas Wedding Photographers - www.jasonandmelaina.com

Before I tell you the fix, though, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. This posing hack is counter-intuitive to what your body will want to do. You see, when we have insecurities about how we’ll look in pictures, our tendency will be to back away from a camera. Someone brings out a camera or pulls out their phone for a group selfie, and we start worrying about how we’ll look in the picture and wish we weren’t getting our picture taken, and then we’ll start pulling our body away from the camera or phone in an attempt to “hide” ourselves.

But here’s the thing, if you pull your face back, you know what happens to the skin on your neck? It bunches up on itself! Even if you have barely anything to be considered a double-chin, pulling your face away from the camera is going to exaggerate that area of your neck. And you’ll end up with exactly what you were trying to avoid!

 Profile view to demonstrate posing technique to get rid of your double chin in photos - Jason & Melaina Photography, Waco & Texas Wedding Photographers - www.jasonandmelaina.com

So instead of backing away, you need to do what we call “the turtle.” Imagine a turtle slowly stretching his neck out to push his face out of his shell. And then, ever so slightly, push your nose and chin towards the camera.  Pushing your face toward the camera slightly is going to stretch out your neck and get rid of any extra chins that could potentially show up.

The Upper Arms - The “Elbows Out” Posing Hack

Now not all of us are blessed with Michelle Obama arms and this trick isn’t going to help you have defined biceps. But it will help your upper arms to not appear as large as they could, which is a huge win!

Once again, your fears over how your body will look in the picture could in fact make your fears reality. Just like pulling our face away when we’re uncomfortable in front of the camera, our natural tendency with our arms will be to clamp them down at our sides. Maybe it helps us feel more secure, or maybe it’s our way of forcing ourselves to be as thin as possible? Whatever the reason behind it, holding your upper arms tightly against your body is going to force all the muscle and fat on your upper arm to spread out. Go ahead, try it now. If you hold your arms against you, you’re actually going to make your upper arms appear bigger than they normally are!

 Before and after examples of posing trick to make your arms look slimmer in photos - Jason & Melaina Photography, Waco & Texas Wedding Photographers - www.jasonandmelaina.com

Instead, remember our simple trick, “elbows out.” If you’re concerned about how your upper arms look in pictures, when it’s time to pose simply pull your elbows away from your torso. This will allow a slight gap between your upper arm and your torso. By leaving this slight space you give your body definition and avoid flattening out the muscle and fat in your upper arm. Your upper torso will appear slimmer and the upper portion of your arm will look it’s thinnest. Win-win!

The Hips - The “Hip Swivel” Posing Hack

What if I told you that remembering to do our “hip swivel” posing trick in pictures will make you look one dress size smaller than you are? I haven’t actually measured to verify this claim, but I can say our “hip swivel” will trick the eye into thinking your hips are not the widest part of your body.

If you are concerned about how your hips look in pictures, you’ll want to avoid standing squarely facing the camera. Standing with your hips squared with your shoulders, pointing at the camera, is going to showcase the exact width of your hips and make them appear as the widest part of your body. But keeping your hips at an angle is going to give the illusion of a slim bottom half.

 Before and after examples of posing technique to make your hips appear smaller in photos - Jason & Melaina Photography, Waco & Texas Wedding Photographers - www.jasonandmelaina.com

Here’s how to pull off our “hip swivel” technique. First, figure out the hip closest to the center of the group in the picture. Next, shift your weight onto that leg, pushing that half of the hip towards your rear. Now bring the other side of your hip slightly towards the camera. Finally, put a slight bend in your front leg, popping the knee and pointing it slightly towards the center of the picture.

So for example, say you're posing for a picture with your office BFF and she’s standing on your right side. You’ll need to shift your weight onto your right hip/leg and push it slightly behind you. Next you’ll bring your left hip slightly forward toward the camera. And finally, you’ll put a bend in your left knee and angle it towards the center of you and your friend.

Ta-Da! Now you're selfie ready!

And there you have it! 3 quick little adjustments you can make the next time you're in front of the camera to tweak any body areas that concern you. But more importantly, these posing hacks will give you confidence in front of the camera, and confidence is the most important tweak you can make in front of the camera!


Did you find this post helpful? Share with a friend and help all your BFFs look amazing in your next picture!

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Should you do a first look?

 Bride approaches a groom from behind for a first look, The Palladium in Waco, Texas

When we formulate a wedding day timeline for our J&M Sweethearts, we’ll go over all the little details that will make their day flow smoothly. One of the big questions we always ask is, “Would you want to do a first look prior to the ceremony?” And honestly, the majority of our couples are unsure what they would like to do.

Since whether or not you should do a first look is a big question for both wedding photographers and their wedding couples, we thought we’d share our professional (and personal) opinions on a first look vs. keeping things traditional on your wedding day.

3 major pros of doing a first look

 A bride and groom's first look on their wedding day, Horseshoe Bay Resort, Texas

1. Calming your nerves

Ha! I bet you thought we’d come at you with a bunch of reasons photographers think you should do a first look. But actually, 2 of our 3 pros for having a first look have nothing to do with wedding photography and everything to do with our brides and grooms. One of the most important things we've seen a first look do for couples is provide an opportunity to calm nerves.

We're not sure what sort of bride you are, but when I (Melaina) was getting ready to walk down the aisle to marry Jason, I was a nervous wreck! Full disclosure, we didn’t do a first look because Jason wanted the first time he saw me to be when I was walking down the aisle. Also, I’m not even sure we were aware of the first look option 9 years ago when we were planning our wedding ceremony. But looking back, I feel if we had done a first look prior to the ceremony, my nerves would have been much calmer for our actual ceremony.

If you think nerves or anxiety may be something you are battling on your wedding day, having a first look and chance to be with one another before the ceremony in front of everyone you know may be a great idea for you.

2. Have a chance to talk to one another

Having a first look can not only calm your nerves, but it can also give you two a chance to talk to one another in a more intimate setting on the most important day in your relationship. It’s hard to have a meaningful conversation about how beautiful you look and how much you love one another and are so excited to be getting married when you’re standing in front of all your friends and family and the minister is asking “Who gives this woman away in marriage?” Having a moment prior to the ceremony for just the two of you is a great way to connect on this important day and an amazing memory to tuck away in your hearts.

 A bride and groom talk together during their first look, Horseshoe Bay Resort, Texas

3. More time for bride and groom portraits

There’s also a pro for the first look as far as your wedding photography is concerned. If you chose to have a first look and have a really efficient wedding day timeline, this allows for a mini photo session of you two prior to the ceremony. Your photographer will be able to capture some awesome bride and groom portraits, as well as knock out all the bridal party portraits and maybe even some of the family portraits before the ceremony even starts. Then ensures all these heirloom images are done and allows everyone to get to the reception quickly immediately after the ceremony.

Now a great wedding photographer will be able to get all these portraits done in a timely manner after the ceremony and get everyone to the reception before cocktail hour is over. In fact, we’ve worked out a system to ensure our Sweethearts who don’t have a first look get these heirloom images in record time. But if having a lot portraits of you and your groom on your wedding day is a high priority to you, you may want to consider having a first look to allow for the most time to capture those important images.

3 major pros of keeping things traditional

 A groom smiles at his bride as she walks down the aisle, Moon River Ranch, Satin, Texas

1. It’s tradition!

Having the bride not be revealed until she walks down the aisle to marry her husband is tradition, and there is something to be said for keeping with tradition. We actually chose to say the traditional marriage vows to one another at our wedding instead of writing our own because we loved the idea of repeating what countless couples before us had said. And that same sentiment can apply here. So if you find yourself really drawn to traditional aspects of wedding ceremonies, choosing to not see one another until you walk down the aisle is definitely the way to go.

2. Everyone will get to see your reactions to seeing one another for the first time

Some of our sweethearts really want to have an intimate moment when they see each other for the first time on their wedding day. And others want everyone they invited to share in their wedding day to be a part of the big reveal. Witnessing a groom respond in an emotional way to seeing his bride for the first time is a very sweet moment after all. We’ve had previous Sweethearts specifically choose not to do a first look because the bride knew the groom was going to cry when he saw her and they wanted to save that moment for when she walked down the aisle. So if you know your response to one another is going to be emotional and you want to share that with your family and friends, keeping things more traditional and not doing a first look is the perfect way to do that.

 A groom cries when he sees his bride walking down the aisle, La Rio Mansion, Belton, Texas

3. Still time for intimate bride and groom portraits at sunset

Even if you don’t do a first look there is still great opportunities to be had for heirloom images of you two on your wedding day. All portraits that can happen with you two separately can be done prior to the ceremony, and the full bridal party, family formals and even couple portraits can happen between the ceremony and the reception. But depending on the timing of your ceremony, there’s also some great opportunity to sneak out of the reception with your photographers at sunset to get some amazing and intimate portraits of you two in your beautiful venue. In as little as 10-15 minutes you can have a mini portrait session to capture beautiful images your children and grandchildren will adore, while still keeping with tradition and not doing a first look.

A compromise - The First Touch

Maybe after reading this and considering the pros of both sides you still find yourself on the fence...or one of you prefers a first look and the other prefers the tradition of not having a first look. A great compromise to consider would be a first touch, a time where the bride and groom touch and connect in some way prior to the ceremony without seeing one another. A first touch allows you to speak with one another and have an intimate moment to calm your nerves while saving the big reveal of the bride in her gown for the walk down the aisle. 

 A bride and groom hold hands during a first touch, Carleen Bright Arboretum, Woodway, Texas

You've probably seen portraits of couples' "first touch" moments on Pinterest or online. One common way to do this is to have the bride and groom hold hands around an open door or corner of a building. Other options include having the groom blindfolded while holding the bride, or having the groom stand around the corner of an open doorway from the bride while he reads her a letter or plays her a song on his guitar. There are many ways to do a first touch and your wedding photographer will have great ideas of how to do one that suites your personalities.


A first look, a traditional walk down the aisle, or a first touch? What do you plan on doing? Leave us a comment below to weigh in on the conversation!

Team Jason & Melaina

I (Melaina) once read a book where the author wrote how she and her husband viewed their relationship as a team of equals, and how they approached everything they did in a united front. They had such a team mentality that when they worked hard together on a project or divide and conquered household chores, they would exclaim, "Go Team Dan and Rachel!" and then give each other high fives. I started half-jokingly using the exclamation, "Go Team Jason and Melaina!" whenever Jason and I worked together on something, and Jason begrudgingly usually gave me a high five.

And then we rebranded Jason Hagerup Photography into Jason & Melaina Photography, and became a husband and wife team of wedding photographers serving Waco and Central Texas. 

Suddenly exclaiming "Go Team Jason and Melaina!" didn't seem so silly anymore.

When we work together on a wedding, it makes our work flow so much better having this foundation of a team mentality ingrained in our psyche. We know who is getting the standard shots, and who is getting creative and reactionary shots. We have the ability to say, "I want to try something," and have complete trust in one another to let ourselves be creative. 

One of us will think it's important to get the detail of a bride's mother lacing up the back of her dress, and the other will think it's important to get the bride's reaction in the mirror as she sees herself in her bridal gown on her wedding day. And without coordinating it, we capture those moments and only realize after the wedding how great it was we were both in the right place at the right time for those shots. 

Now at the end of a wedding day or a portrait session, it's such a great moment to look at one another and say, "Go Team Jason and Melaina!" 

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Check out #teamjasonandmelaina on Instagram.