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How to Consistently Look Cute in Photos, Part Two
Oft-photographed local fashionistas share their fail-proof tips.
By Erin Keane Scott
Photographs courtesy of Kate Michael, District of Chic, Katherine Kennedy, and Lacey Maffettone (clockwise).
Comments () | Published May 24, 2012

The annual simultaneous arrival of bathing-suit and wedding seasons is officially upon us (whose idea of a cruel joke was that?), meaning weeks of continuous picture-taking that make us wish the words “social network” weren’t in our lexicon. Per the ace advice boudoir photographer Shelby Leigh gave us back in April, we’ve perfected our skinny arm and made false lashes a must for any and all photo-worthy events. But though our Facebook profile is now much improved, we couldn’t help but wonder how our favorite local style setters manage to look so flawless in photos time and time again. Read on for their go-to strategies.

Standing Out in a Group Shot

“Try to find a flattering position. For instance, if you’re tall, try not to stand next to the shortest person in the group. If there’s a part of your body you’re self-conscious about, just hide it behind someone else.”

—Irene Bartell, model with THE Artist Agency

“Photobomb! I usually try to make goofy and overdone poses in photos with friends. The LiLo peace sign is always a fave.”

—E, District of Chic

“Guys tend to be less comfortable in front of the camera. Making them laugh with a pinch here and a joke there will lighten things up for a more genuine photograph.” 

—Katherine Kennedy

Not Squinting on a Sunny Day

“Wear sunglasses! It’ll make you look more glam. You can also try closing your eyes between shots and opening them right before the click.”

—Irene Bartell

Changing Up the Overdone Skinny Arm Pose

“I remind myself to roll my shoulders back when posing. This gives the body immediate lift.”

—Yun Shen Chong, Model with THE Artist Agency

“The hand-on-hip pose can look really fake. Instead, try a less exaggerated version of the supermodel pose where you slightly bring your shoulders forward and relax your arms. It looks more natural but still skinny enough.”

—Carlis and Katya, SpicyCandy DC

“It’s all about angles. Don’t stand straight on to the camera; take a step back with one foot to angle yourself to the lens. That slight movement will be more slimming in a photo than your hand on your hip.” 

—Lacey Maffettone, A Lacey Perspective

“You don’t have to jump to hand-on-hip attention in every picture to put a stop to your arm muscles getting squashed against your side! As long as you leave some space between your arm and your side you’ll achieve the same effect. Sometimes I bend one arm behind my back, or I touch my fingers loosely to my upper thigh with a slightly bent elbow.”

—Kate Michael, former Miss DC

Smiling Like You Mean It

“If all else fails, I think of the delicious food I’ll consume when I’m done shooting! That ALWAYS puts a smile on my face.”

—Yun Shen Chong

Creating a Picture-Perfect Ensemble

“Solid-color tops with interesting necklines look best in close-ups. As for an entire outfit, I like to chose fabrics with larger prints, a bit of shine, or an interesting silhouette.”

—Kate Michael

“I think any outfit can be photo-worthy. If you’re wearing a flowy skirt, move a little to show its true beauty. If you’re rocking a figure-hugging dress, position your body to show off your curves.” 

—Lacey Maffettone


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  • Lorene

    Great Tips! I specially like the one of Spicy Candy DC, met those girls at an event last month, so sweet.

  • Abbey Brandon

    Lighting also makes or breaks a photo. Soft, warm lighting right before the sun rises and sets does wonders for the skin and will significantly improve your appearance.

    I'm glad to see you included District of Chic. She does a great job incorporating interesting and trendier pieces into professional ensembles. I think she has a look that embodies a stylish DC professional.

  • Try Again

    Bwhahahah this is funny, these are the same overdone blogger poses that already suck the life out of the art of blogging. They take themselves way to seriously judging by their blogs anyway. Please shed the light on the other bloggers in the DC area who actually have fun, and don't look like mirror images of the larger well known blogs. There are hundreds out honestly. Plain outfits and basic tips....yawn.

  • sarahzlot

    Try Again, I think these girls look great in their pics (hence why we reached out to them for advice), but am definitely curious to see what local bloggers you think do a great job. If you've got suggestions for people we're missing, please send them my way! My email is

  • Try Again

    Of course, but some of us tend to disagree, and if it weren't for the huge ego's attached to some of these bloggers I'd come across a little nicer, but......

    I'm sure you can look on Capfabb's list on their website, there are over 400 bloggers there.

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Posted at 11:45 AM/ET, 05/24/2012 RSS | Print | Permalink | Comments () | Blogs