There’s nothing wrong with doing as the celebrities do and adopting your own ‘iconic’ pose for snapshots, as long as you get your signals right and don’t use body language gestures that can be seen as arrogant, insulting or incongruent.
• Smiling is important but your smile needs to look genuine rather than forced. A genuine smile starts in the eyes and the mouth is evenly spread rather than lop-sided. Rigid or over-stretched smiles showing too much teeth will look threatening as they mimic animal tooth-baring, which will suggest a snarl of attack.
• Tilting your head slightly to the side as you smile will make your expression look more natural as it signals relaxation and confidence.
• If you feel under pressure posing for shots the chances are your shoulder muscles will contract, making your posture and arms look and feel rigid. By rolling your shoulders back and down you’ll look confident rather than tense.
• Avoid trying to pout for the camera. Some celebrities make pouting their iconic look but for inexperienced posers it can look sulky rather than sexy.
• Push your elbows slightly away from your body as you pose. When we get anxious we often self-hug, gluing our arms to our torso (especially women). Spreading out slightly (splaying) looks and feels more confident. Rest your elbows on the arms of a chair, put an arm around the person next to you, or place one hand on your hip. For girls – thumbs hooked into a belt or one hand in your trouser pocket for the guys.
• Avoid open-mouth poses, they look aggressive, as though you’re trying to eat or attack the camera.
• Tongue-poking might feel naughty and rebellious but it looks like childlike humour, signalling rejection or disgust and can spoil the shot.
• Breathe out before the photo is taken, it relaxes your torso.
• Avoid pseudo-aggressive gestures like pointing or over-splaying with both hands on your hips. These body-bulking gestures mimic an animal in a state of aggressive arousal.
• Never do arrogant body language, even when you’re being funny or ironic. Standing with your chin raised or using dramatic hand gestures will make you look as though you take yourself way too seriously.
About Judi James
Judi is one of the UK’s leading body language / behaviour experts with a high TV and radio profile. Judi has presented her own body language series for Ch 5: Naked Celebrity and has been regular body language/ behaviour expert on Big Brother’s Little Brother and Big Brother on the Couch since episode two, working with Dermot O’Leary and Davina. She had a nightly slot on Sky News analysing politicians during the election and pops up regularly on Sky News and BBC news 24. Judi worked on Strictly Come Dancing from series one, analysing contestants and appearing regularly on It Takes Two, had a regular spots on The X-tra Factor, Fame Academy, Strictly Disco and Chris Evans’s show Boys & Girls. She also appears as the body language expert on The Paul O’Grady Show.
About Orla Diffily
Orla Diffily has over 20 years experience working in the PR, Fashion and Modeling industry. Her role working with models, actors and celebrities, as well as corporate clients, has afforded Orla a valuable insight on how important it is to look good on camera and how it can be used as the ultimate communications tool. She hosts courses on deportment, posture and personal self projection through her business, Upfront Model Management.
The research for Nikon was carried out by Opinion Matters between 04/11/10 and 09/11/10. Sample 1,480 UK adults.
* Percentages used in this paragraph refer to the top 5 poses exclusively and have been taken from a sample of 783 UK adults.