Of getting the perfect photograph clicked…

I make horrible photographs. Most of my photographs are the sort the child will hide in the deep recesses of the photo album, and wonder whether he had himself a werewolf for a mother. I’m either grinning so ferociously, that them incisors are in the foreground of the photograph, jostling for prominence with the proboscis that probably is a fair enough inspiration for Saleem Sinai’s noted one. Or if I’m not grinning, I am so grim, the onlooker could probably be forgiven for thinking I am a)looking death in the face b)not had a satisfactory bowel movement that morning or c)I have suddenly realised that the zip on my trousers has parted self like the Red Sea.  Or worse I give the pugilist’s pose, head down, eyes glaring, and broad forehead in full foreground. And of course, I always forget the classic rule to look slimmer in photographs, stand with your body turned three fourth to the camera. I admire the page three-ites who have made an art of it. I have gone through the wedding ceremony, looking like a Goth with a white face and blood red lips, and soot blackened eyes and a broad grin which revealed what could pass as blood on one incisor, but was in actuality an innocous smear of said blood red lipstick, which no kind soul offered to inform me needed wiping off, including idiotic photographer. I have gone through the child’s naming ceremony, which was a relatively big do, revealing deflated tummy looking much like a collapsed parachute, as I struggled to keep newborn and self from teetering over and collapsing, me due to complete lack of sleep and such like. And there were the various birthday parties in which I was seen in the photographs only around cake cutting time and that too with mouth in wide open pose, exposing yellowed rotting fangs, covered with plaque and in total gluttonuous mode. And every public appearance in dressed to the fangs mode sees me in deeply animated conversation everytime the photographer lurks around, therefore every photograph is the kind that deserves a hall of mirrors tag.

Therefore I am now educating myself on how the perfect photograph can be taken. Indulge an old lady, I need at least one decent photograph to have up on the wall with the sandalwood garland around when I go, don’t I?

Below are the tips that have worked for me and resulted in a few good uploadable photographs.

Get clicked from an angle lower than your eye level.

Mop your face of excess oil. Run your tongue over your teeth to get rid of lipstick spill over.

Keep your mouth closed. Resist the evil ingrained impulse to grin ‘Cheese’.

Smile a bit. Keep it soft, mysterious and Mona Lisa. Makes for less wrinkles on the face.

Wear make up. Unless you photograph fabulously without make up and have a flawless complexion, in which case you are not my friend and I hate you.

Wear subtle make up. Ringing your eyes with black and slapping on the pancake is best left for when you have professional help and a practised hand applying it for you. Soft eyepencil, a flattering muted lip colour and slight blush/bronzer should suffice for most photographs.

Do comb/brush out your hair. I mean it. Especially if you have hair that refuses to settle or behave. You dont want a photograph which has your hair looking like hat head.

Figure out the side of the face which looks the best. For me, its my left. And stick to it. This, I realise is what celebs mean by ‘best angle’.

Dont fold your arms schoolmarmishly in front of your body. Or keep them hanging loosely by your side. Find a hand prop if you have no clue what to do with your hands. And yes, a drink does not a suitable hand prop make.

And posture. Posture. Shoulders back. Stomach in. Great posture always makes for great photographs. And posture, thank you Mom for the whacks on the back, is something that carries you through bad hair and skin days like nothing ever can. Regardless of whether you are being photographed or not.


About Kiran Manral

Kiran Manral published her first book, The Reluctant Detective in 2011. Since then, she has published nine books across genres till date. Her books include romance and chicklit with Once Upon A Crush (2014), All Aboard (2015), Saving Maya (2017); horror with The Face at the Window (2016), psychological thriller with Missing, Presumed Dead (2018) and nonfiction with Karmic Kids (2015), A Boy’s Guide to Growing Up (2016) and True Love Stories (2017). Her short stories have been published on Juggernaut, in magazines like Verve and Cosmopolitan, and have been part of anthologies like Chicken Soup for the Soul, Have a Safe Journey (2017) and Boo (2017). Her articles and columns have appeared in the Times of India, Tehelka, DNA, Yowoto, Shethepeople, New Woman, Femina, Verve, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Conde Nast Traveller, DB Post, The Telegraph, the Asian Age, iDiva, TheDailyO and more. She was shortlisted for the Femina Women Awards 2017 for Literary Contribution. In 2018, she was awarded the International Women's Day award for literary excellence by ICUNR and Ministry of Women and Children, Government of India. She is a TEDx speaker and a mentor with Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walk 2017.
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27 Responses to Of getting the perfect photograph clicked…

  1. Rani says:

    Incredibly funny!!
    ur writing style is extraordinary, lady. totally love it.

    Ur header pic is so good. and there its taken above eye level. and of the left side as u say 🙂
    With wit like yours, i wonder why u shud care about a lifeless picture 😉


  2. Here are some other pointers on the art of getting that perfect photo taken. They really work well for me, so I thought I’d share them with you…

    1) At the appropriate moment, duck!
    2) Or stand behind someone taller with your arm sticking out…at least you can prove that you were there.
    3) Hide behind a rock or a tree.
    4) Wear a mask. Any kind. Even a beauty mask.
    5) Make sure buttons are buttoned.
    6) If you’re wearing a sari, make sure the pallu is pinned.
    7) When the shutter goes ‘click’, don’t sneeze.
    8) But then again, don’t suppress it either.
    9) Avoid cheery photographers with high-pitched voices. Their personality will grate on your nerves while their voice will grate on your ears.
    10) Do NOT stand next to someone who photographs well.
    11) If you see the camera being taken out…RUN!!!


  3. Abha says:

    hehe! me, i just smile and thats that!! and am not going to complicate that with a whole list of do’s and donts! :p

    i remember the sasuaral folks saying something like this at our wedding “Ladki acchi toh hai par hasti bahot hai aur bhagti bhi bahot hai!”

    oh well! i was happy and there were so many sarees to change and so many friends to hug! 🙂

    awesome post like always!



  4. R's Mom says:

    Heheheh Your header doesnt do justice to your post then….:) you look wonderful in it 🙂 and Loved your style of writing 🙂


  5. suma says:


    from the header, i think the front profile is terrific too 🙂

    if you don’t like being photographed you can take a few pointers from my son..he is in a ‘i don’t like being photographed’ phase.


  6. Shivani says:

    It’s difficult to believe that the person on the header is the same one who wrote this post. If people would have synonyms, then yours would be ‘diva’ 🙂


    • Kiran Manral says:

      Diva…..ROTFLMAO. You should just see me scrubbing vessels and doing jhadoo pocha bartan to get rid of that misconception…


  7. sraikh says:

    Mine is hide behind the kids.

    Although I have been taking way too photographs lately, everyone is saying I should smile more. Which I dont. I have the thin Mona Lisa smile pats down.

    And you photography beautifully and I am most envious of your hair. Sigh


  8. Sonia says:

    Kiran!!!!! You should share some of those so called horrible pictures of yours so I can empathise with you! You are sooooo beautiful, lady and your intelligence and good nature make you shine from the inside too! :))


  9. CA says:

    I never used to smile before (though in my mind I was smiling … it did not show across to others) and then I started showing my pearls and what to I see ??? Every other photograph has my teeth on full display … sigh whats this monalisa smile ?? How do I get it ????


    • Kiran Manral says:

      Google Monalisa images…a small slight smile, without opening your lips.


      • CA says:

        OK … I know Monalisa .. 🙂 I meant, how does one get it right … for me its a toggle switch .. all your teeth on display or frown 😦 THere is nothing in between 😦


  10. tearsndreams says:

    Just be yourself and get photographed often.
    Law of averages will make sure that you will get it right, sometime.
    For me the ratio is 1000 to 1.
    Burn/delete/hide the 1000 and keep the 1001.
    Works for me


    • Kiran Manral says:

      Well, I dont get photographed often…so I need to make sure the few times I do, are workable, printable photographs. Very often when folks need pics to accompany some feature I have to go scrambling to find some print worthy ones.


  11. Hema says:

    Loved the post especially the humor with which you make such things so light hearted! I still dread the days when I have to pull out the wedding albums when people ask of them and cringe in embarrassment. These days I make it a point to pose with my son, so that I am given lesser attention! I was smiling (that subtle smile just right for a photograph and not that toothy grin I always manage) when I was reading this…but no one is around with a camera when I read your blog!!


    • Kiran Manral says:

      Hema: I began doing that too, but now have stopped myself…Why should I hide behind my son. I deserve to be clicked in my ‘entirety’…. LOL.


  12. Veena says:

    From what I can see in your header, I don’t think you need to worry about bad pictures!

    I position myself behind my kids each time – hides some of the bulk!



  13. faeriee says:

    Of what I have seen of your snaps, you look really good in them. 🙂


  14. Nova says:

    I photograph really bad myself… In fact, I wrote a post on it a while ago 🙂



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