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.