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8 Tips to Look Better in Pictures

Summer is almost here and that means taking lots of snapshots, but making people look pretty in pictures is no easy job -- professional photographers get paid lots and lots of money to do just that (more than any other creative professionals, actually). Even so, you can improve the look of just about anyone (including yourself) with some basic photo-taking and -editing tips, the best of which we've compiled here. All of our suggestions can be executed using simple, inexpensive point-and-shoot cameras and free post-processing software: iPhoto on Mac, or Picasa on PC are our top choices. (Other apps, such as Adobe Photoshop Elements [PC/Mac] and GIMP [PC/Mac/Linux] are great as well, but the former will cost you a few bucks.)

1. Look younger

If you want to make your subjects look younger than they are, focus on the skin tone: Our number one tip is to use flashes in sunlight. It might seem counter-intuitive, but flashes override the shadows that overhead sunlight might cast on faces, making for pronounced under-eye and chin shadows. Also, putting anything white or translucent over the flash while indoors (or up close) will soften the light, making for much smoother skin tones through softer lighting. If you're in a bar, for example, just hold a napkin in front of the flash (in your camera settings, you might also want to turn the flash power up, if that's an option). You can also use the "brush" function -- usually indicated by a brush icon -- on most photo programs (such as those mentioned above) to virtually brush over age-revealing wrinkles, dark circles under the eyes, and blemishes.

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