Shake It Like a Polaroid Picture

Social media is always changing, and my job necessitates being on the cutting edge of it. That’s why, half a year after it was introduced and four months after I downloaded the app, I decided it might be time to figure out what Vine is all about. Because I am not allowed to have pets and therefore do not own a guinea pig, I did what I always do when I’m conducting experiments and used myself as a test subject. It will be so easy! I thought. Six seconds of video! I thought. You look pretty good today! You’ll be a Vine star in no time!

Then this happened:

AGH. What is going on there? When did my forehead vein get so intense? What’s the deal with my hair? HOW DID IT TAKE ME THIS LONG TO REALIZE I HAVE A WEIRD MOUTH? I don’t even want to talk about my vocal inflections. My hair and mouth have had better moments, but you’re just going to have to trust me on that one because I don’t have any photographic evidence.

There are people out there who look really good in every single picture. They look so good that they inspire confidence in you, too, and the next time someone whips out a camera you channel them and toss your head back in laughter because you are attractive and carefree and kind of like an American Eagle model. Then the picture shows up on Facebook and you’re horrified to discover that when you laugh like that, you do not look like an American Eagle model at all. You don’t even look like the understudy for an LL Bean model. You look like a horse that was surprised by a seizure in the middle of a big yawn.

I know everyone is overly critical of themselves, and I hate it when people complain about how bad they look in photos and videos when they look fine, but I can safely say that although I am graced with several talents (impeccable Google Calendar skills, an awe-inspiring ability to eat blueberries, and an impressive knowledge of US presidents, to name a few), being photogenic is not one of them. For some reason the second a camera lens is involved, my face freezes into a tight mask of rage and I get crazy eyes.

You know. Crazy eyes.

You know. Crazy eyes.

Unfortunately, no matter how many times I tell people that taking my picture sucks a little bit of my soul away, they keep trying it. I’ll never be a natural at posing for photos, but I’ve decided that maybe it’s a skill that can be learned. I’m turning to eHow in my hour of need.

How to Be Photogenic, According to the Internet

1. “Look slightly to the side of the lens. This reduces the chance of having red-eye from the flash and also avoids the ‘deer-in-the-headlights’ look.” I am all over this one. If there’s one thing my giant eyes are good at, it’s accidentally catching bugs. But if there are two things my giant eyes are good at, it’s accidentally catching bugs and looking anywhere but at a camera.

2. “Think of a happy thought if you are going to smile for the camera. Remember to engage your whole face in the smile, so you don’t appear as if you are revealing your teeth for a dental exam.” This is a real problem for me. Once, I met so many people at a work party that by the end of the night I wasn’t sure if I was actually smiling or just trying to prove to everyone that I have all my teeth.

3. “Twist your hips so that one side of your body is completely facing your photographer. This twisted pose will make you look leaner and elongate your body. Your shoulders should also be twisted in opposite directions to achieve the most flattering picture-perfect pose.” I’m not super sure what this means. Should your shoulders be twisted in opposite directions from your hips, or from each other? Is that… is that possible?

4. “Place your hands gently above the hips, or hold arms at the sides slightly away from the body.” At this point I’m almost positive that posing for a picture makes you look even stupider than any embarrassing, homely photo could.

5. “If you turn your head slightly to the side and look straight ahead, you will appear to be looking straight at the viewer of the photo no matter the viewing angle.” Like those super creepy pictures that follow you with their eyes! I’ve always wanted a portrait of me that did that to give to the people I love. I know a girl who does this in all her pictures. She looks great in individual photos, but an album full of them starts to feel like you’re looking at pictures of a brave, pretty young woman who has sustained a horrible neck injury. Presumably this isn’t what she’s going for.

6. “Take the time to strike the right pose, but not so much time that it takes away from the spontaneity of the moment.” Or better yet, never stop standing around with your arms slightly out, your shoulders twisted in opposite directions, and your head tilted to one side, thinking about your vacation to Disney World with slightly unfocused eyes. Then every photo is beautiful and spontaneous!

Acting as my own guinea pig for the second time in a day, I decided to give my new photogenic self a test drive:

Screen Shot 2013-07-31 at 10.36.41 PM

Thanks, Photo Booth!

Honestly, I’ve looked worse.


  1. Life on a Branch

    Hahahahaha, “You look like a horse that was surprised by a seizure in the middle of a big yawn.” For the record, I don’t think that’s what you look like, but it made me laugh. Also the entire list of how to pose was confusing to me, so your take on it was perfect. Who spends that much time preparing for being photographed? But I imagine more people have read this eHow article because I always see a combo of hands on your hips and twist to the side. This is all way over my head. I don’t have enough body awareness to be a model, or a person who can be photographed in general.

  2. Scott and René

    Ok…I just have to say that your “Crazy Eyes” picture is awesome! It makes me smile…because it makes me wonder why you looked like that when someone was taking your picture!

    But honestly….I think most people think they look bad in pictures….but it just isn’t so. The joy is finding the good in the “supposed” bad!! For example…on crazy eyes….I think you were saying “What The Heck!! Why would you take my picture when I am wearing these awesome glasses!? You know I look good in these! Let me take them off and do it again!”


  3. AdonaiShekhinah

    I just read somewhere that 77% of women have difficulty in front of the camera…so you’re not alone. And always remember that whole social media thing about ‘pics or it didn’t happen’ is not always wrong, or right ;)

  4. marielynn413

    Reblogged this on bornalegend and commented:
    I just love this. Social media these days is INSANE. I have personally (not proudly) engaged in SEVERAL heated twitter shamings and dramatic (She stole my man!) debates. And last month I deleted my Facebook and Twitter entirely. Freaking GOLDEN man.

  5. emisformaker

    I hate to break it to you, but you’re just about the cutest thing on the internet, and now there’s video evidence to prove it.

  6. pastramibasket

    Those 4 pics at the end are pretty much what I’ve looked like in every picture with my family for the past 6 years or so. Glad to find out I was only following what the internet wants us to do to be photogenic.

  7. Nichole

    Your blogs always makes me smile! On a side note, my mom friends, we all have a pact to take pictures from the shoulders up! It does wonders for my self esteem when I see them on fb :P

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