This article is part of Science of People's "Optimizing Your Photos" Series. Other articles in this series you might like:

Taking pictures can really suck.

You leave the house feeling great about your body until you take a selfie with your friends and you don’t look as good as you thought you did.

Then you start having thoughts like “Are my arms really that flabby?” and “Yikes. Maybe it’s time to start dieting again.”

I’m going to let you in on a secret. It’s not you; it’s the pictures.

Yup, cameras have a magical ability to make even the skinniest people look fatter than they actually are.

Luckily, beauty bloggers and photographers have mastered the art of looking thin in photos and have shared their insights with the world.

Here are 10 easy tips to show you how to look skinny or thinner in pictures.

#1 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. 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!).

#2 Avoid Patterns

look thinner in pictures

Style expert Charla Krupp suggests avoiding bold patterns since they draw attention to unflattering curves. Instead, try single-colored outfits because they create clean lines that elongate your body and make you look slimmer.

#3 Know How to Hold Your Body

Move what you want to look smaller back and what you want to look bigger forward. Models typically stick their butt away from the camera and their bust/shoulders toward the camera to emphasize what’s closer.

#4 Don’t Place Your Arms at Your Side

look thinner in pictures

Fashion blogger Marianna Hewitt says that you should never place your arms at your sides in pictures. Doing so makes your shoulders and torso look wider. Instead, place your hand on waist, by your hair, or hold your arms back so they’re not pressed against the side of your body.

#5 Avoid Bulky Clothing

While you might think tight-fitting clothes highlight your unwanted curves, the opposite is actually true. Michelle Scanga warns people to avoid wearing bulky clothing because it makes you look heavier than you actually are. Instead try clothes that are light and fitted to make your figure look as small as possible.

#6 Stand/Sit Straight

Slouching makes you look shorter and and angles your body toward your middle, which can create an unflattering image of your midsection. Contrastingly, standing/sitting straight elongates your figure, making your legs and torso look thinner.

#7 Have Pictures Taken From Above

Shy magazine recommends taking pictures with the camera slightly above your head. This forces you to look up for the picture which hides your double chin and the downward angle of the camera makes your entire body look slimmer.

#8 Hold Your Purse in Front of Your Body

If you get caught wearing an unflattering shirt that clings to your tummy and your friends want to take a picture, use your purse as protection. Holding your bag in front of your stomach is an easy way to cover your midsection.

#9 Cross Your Ankles

Michelle Scanga says you should always cross your ankles if you’re taking a photo sitting down. Not only does it look classier, the angle also makes your legs look thinner.

#10 Pose at an Angle

look thinner in pictures

You look your widest when you are standing straight forward. When taking pictures, put one foot in front of the other and stand at an angle so your entire body isn’t seen. Maximize the slimming effect by placing your hand on your hip that’s facing the camera and tilt your neck to elongate it.

Hi, I'm Vanessa!

Hi, I'm Vanessa!

Lead Investigator, Science of People

I'm the author of the national bestselling book Captivate, creator of People School, and human behavioral investigator in our lab.

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