I'll show you how

Your pictures reveal huge amounts of information about you.

An amazing study done by Nalini Ambady that looked at CEOs’ faces found that people can glance at a picture of a CEO and predict how successful he or she is. Specifically, Ambady showed participants pictures of the top 25 CEOs on the Fortune 500 list and pictures of the bottom 25 CEOs and asked people to rate them on leadership qualities like intelligence, power and charisma. Here’s what’s crazy: People’s leadership rankings matched the pictures. In other words, people who looked the most successful were the most successful.

The problem is most of us have no idea what our Facebook profile, Twitter picture or dating headshot says about us.

Check out our video on how to take the perfect selfie:

Here are 6 tips to help you take better pictures:

#1 Smile Don’t Smirk

The first cardinal sin of profile pictures is the smirk. So many people make this mistake without even realizing it! Why is this so bad? The smirk is the universal facial expression for contempt, hatred and disdain. So if this is in your profile you are basically telling the world you don’t want people to connect with you!

Here’s what contempt looks like so you know what to avoid:

Instead of smirking, opt for a genuine smile that shows you’re a positive person to be around.

#2 Wear Bright Colors to Look Younger

Color psychologists have discovered that we naturally judge people based on the colors they wear. Bright, high-energy colors like yellow and orange are symbolic of youth and can take years off of your appearance. Plus, bright colors can be used to add a fun pop to your outfits.

#3 Look Fun and Confident with Expansion

Harvard Business School researcher Amy Cuddy discovered that there are universal power body language moves. If you want to show confidence, power and charisma in your photos you have to know these rules:

  • The more physical space someone takes up with their body, the more confident they appear and feel.
  • Strong body language is when the forehead and chest are pointed up and shoulders are rolled back.
  • Powerful, confident people aren’t afraid to open up their body especially their torso and chest so that they are free of barriers—uncrossed arms and legs.

I did a body language shoot with the amazingly talented Maggie Hudson of Honeysuckle Photography. In these pictures you can see the more physical space I take up, the more I have my body open with my chest and head up, the more confident I look:

take perfect pictures

#4 Pose Professionally

If you want to maintain a professional image, make sure you look the part in your pictures. When kids take pictures they often slouch and look slightly away from the camera because they’re distracted and move their bodies in some way. To look older in pictures, you need to avoid childish poses and present yourself as if you are having your picture taken for work.

Use these techniques to look serious and professional:

  • Fronting (facing the camera full on)
  • Stand/sit straight (no slouching)
  • Show less movement (unless you’re trying to capture a moment, don’t do any actions in your photos)

#5 Stick Your Chin Out

Want to avoid the double chin? An easy trick is to slightly jut your chin out to give your jaw a more defined look. Beauty blogger Perrie Samotin says you can even put your tongue on the roof of your mouth to tighten your facial muscles (a trick supposedly used by Heidi Klum!).

#6 Angle the Camera to Create the Illusion of Height

Insecure about your short height? At a petite 5’3, fashion blogger Kat Collings knows a thing or two about how to look taller in pictures. She did an experiment taking pictures with the camera positioned at different angles and found that pictures taken from below make you look the tallest. Since the camera is angled up, it elongates your figure and gives the illusion of more height.

Did you love these 6 tips? We have 14 more hacks for you to check out in our newest book Captivate!

Book Descriptioncaptivate, captivate book, vanessa van edwards

Do you wish you could decode people? Do you want a formula for charisma? Do you want to know exactly what to say to your boss, your date or your networking partner? You need to know how people work.

As a human behavior investigator, Vanessa Van Edwards studies the hidden forces that drive our behavior patterns in her lab—and she’s cracked the code. In Captivate she shares a wealth of valuable shortcuts, systems and behavior hacks for taking charge of their interactions at work, at home, and in any social situation. These aren’t the people skills you learned in school. This is the first comprehensive, science backed, real life manual on human behavior and a completely new approach to building connections.

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