Posted: Jul 27, 2013 8:00 AM
Looking through family photos, the first thing we moms notice is how we look in each picture. Use these simple tips to make sure you look great in every photo and never have to toss an unflattering shot again. Professional photographers spill their look-great-in-photos secrets!

Family photos are absolute treasures, unless we moms don't like how we look in them! Professional photographers know exactly what to do about this all-too-common problem and are here to save the day — and your photos! We've gathered the best and easiest ways to make sure you look good in every single photo, photographer tested and mom approved!

Color me happy

Nicole Spangler

Nicole Spangler has been a professional photographer for three years. She specializes in weddings, boudoirs and high school senior photography.

Nicole says, "For family photos, I recommend working with a three-color palette and to have fun mixing patterns. This will create interest in your photos and add a bit of whimsy. Tying the three colors together also adds a contemporary feel to the images. You don't want to look dated in your family photos!

Professional Photographer Tip^ Be bold! Colors and patterns add interest and fun to your photos!

Plan that smile

JC Cavanaugh

JC Cavanaugh is the CEO and Founder of Kick Start Modeling.

JC says, "When smiling for the camera, don't hold a smile for more than a few seconds while waiting for the camera as it will get stale and look forced. Instead, have the camera person say 1... 2... 3... and then give it your best true smile! Also, tilt your chin up slightly and turn your head to one side for a more flattering look.

Professional Photographer Tip^Tilt, turn and plan for it! There's a secret to capturing that perfect smile!

Focus on the bump

Kyung Jung

Kyung Jung owns the family portrait business Yellowhale Photography.

Kyung says, "When it comes to maternity shots, I’ve found that keeping your outfit subtle — with a simple tank top, solid sweater or sheer, flowing top — is the best way to accentuate the beautiful, dramatic curve of a growing belly. Placing your hands on or around your beautiful belly is flattering as well!

Professional Photographer Tip^Dress up the main attraction! Clothes and poses should accentuate your sweet baby bump!

Move with intent

Jenny Kawa

Jenny Kawa is the in-house photographer at Hollywood POP Gallery, a full-service event and party planning company with offices in NYC, Greenwich and London.

Jenny says, "If cradling a baby, hold the child at a slight upward angle a little bit away from the body like Miss America would hold her giant bouquet of roses. If the child is on the hip, Mommy's arm should be strong and allow for the child to lean back into it ever so slightly, creating space between the bodies. This allows room for movement and expression and keeps Mommy's chin off of her neck. Also remember that looking directly into the little face in your arms naturally turns every photo profile and creates the dreaded double chin — or no chin — from pulling the head back!

Professional Photographer Tip^Be intentional about the placement of your child, and your chin!

Mind matters

Yasmeen Anderson

Yasmeen Anderson is a headshot and commercial photographer in the NYC metro area and creates photos that speak.

Yasmeen says, "If I had to bottle up my advice into one little takeaway, it would be that the mind can make you look better than any outfit or pose. Having fun, laughing and having the right attitude can make you look your absolute best! But on a practical level:

  1. Yasmeen AndersonTurn to either side so your shoulder faces the camera.
  2. If standing, place one foot in front of the other and put your weight on your back foot.
  3. Turn your chin slightly to the side to elongate your neck and jaw line.
  4. Lean forward at the waist to elongate your entire body.
  5. Find a reason to create room between your arms and your body such as a hand on a chair, your waist or a shoulder.
  6. Place an object like a pillow or a child in front of any areas you are sensitive about but make sure the child is not directly under your chin. If a child is on your lap, always keep them slightly to the side.
  7. You don't always have to be looking at the camera. Sometimes the most emotionally engaging photos show a parent looking at a child.

Professional Photographer Tip^Do this, not that! Have fun with your photos and be mindful of what you place where!

More sweet photography ideas

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How to photograph your kids
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