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Never look bad in a photo AGAIN!


After being a portrait & family  photographer for a few years and then spending the next few posing for photos myself I feel like I have learned some really valuable info on working the camera!
I posted on this subject about a year ago, but after 12 more months of taking more photos I’ve stumbled on even more conclusions… and since I know many of you are gearing up for family photo season again, I thought I would share my findings.

Here we go…



Exfoliate: Dead skin is going to KILL your IT factor by making you look drab and colorless. Get rid of it.
Get rest: Baggy under eyes are not your best look. We both know that.
Water: Cause I can’t make any kind of a beauty list without adding this stuff…

The other thing that is REALLY important is that you don’t procrastinate anything else you have to get done before the photo shoot. Picking out an outfit, your kids outfit…whatever it is make sure you can have as much as possible done before hand so that you’re not stressed to the point of murder by the time you get to the picture taking part. Stress photographs TERRIBLY.



There are a million fashion blogs you can go to and get much more information than I can offer on this one but I am going to talk sheer logistics here-
as a photographer I can tell you the number one thing women didn’t like about their photos was that they look bigger than they like.

Sometimes the camera really does add ten pounds!

But there are ways to avoid this.

Proper undergarments are crucial.  (you know.. bras that fit, no panty lines…that sort of thing can be overlooked by the mirror but NEVER by the lens)
I like to pick flowy fabrics that don’t hug me too tight. I know if I feel like I need to suck in the whole time my photos are going to look…pained and if I have a muffin top I’m not going to be super stoked about it. (peplums are pure muffin camouflage!)
Oh, and heels, for obvious reasons.


shoes: steve madden | pants: forever21 (similar) | top: forever21



My hair ALWAYS looks flatter in photos so I amp up to volume to compensate, I do that by starting my curls at the root instead or half way down the shaft and by adding clip-ins.
If I’m taking photos outdoors I like to pick a style that can move around and not get ruined. Highly hair sprayed or perfectly coiffed styles are bound to drive you crazy if the wind makes an appearance.
Don’t be afraid to get generous with shine serum! I mean, you don’t want to look like a grease ball or anything but I’ve noticed you can use more serum than you normally would and it just makes your hair look so luxurious!

>>>>Here<<< is my favorite hair tutorial for photos.



I am always SHOCKED at how different makeup is in person vs. on camera. For me it can be so frustrating because I want to teach makeup looks that look gorgeous in person and then try to photograph it and it just doesn’t show up like it does in person. This makeup is the opposite, it looks good in person but it looks much better in photos.

I compiled all of my best makeup tricks in this video:
Beware when you watch it at certain points you are gonna be thinking: that is too much color or that doesn’t look right but the proof is in the pudding! These photos are unedited and were taken right after I filmed the video. (well I guess if you don’t like the makeup in the photos then…touche… 🙂

Product list:
Tomas Airbrush Tan
Loreal Perfecting Base
Make Up Forever HD Foundation
Maskcara Blush in Jem (Coming soon!!)
Loreal True Match Powder in Deep Warm
Anastasia Brow Genius in Brunette
Loreal Gel Liner in Blackest Black
NYX HD concealer wand in Glow & Yellow
Sephora Collection Fushcia Gloss
Ardell Lashes in Wispies on top & individuals in short for the bottom


Being photogenic is ALL IN YOUR HEAD!
It’s a vicious cycle. You see a bad photo, decide you look bad in photos, the next time the camera is out you get all awkward trying not to look bad, you look worse….etc.
Photographing well is all about being comfortable and confident….or at least convincing yourself you are.

Here are some ways I use to shake out my nerves and fake supreme comfort and confidence:

Eat some  food. You don’t want to take hungry photos…ever.
Bring some fun music to lighten the mood.
Pull out one of your old elementary school tricks and “shake your wiggles out” – really a little wild shaky dance will help loosen you up


When I used to take photos I would always tell strained smiles to laugh out loud.
I’m not that funny so I’d make them actually fake laugh. With the laugh sound and everything or it doesn’t work.
For some reason this A. Makes you actually laugh or B. Brings out a totally genuine smile.
The above photo was taken after such a laugh.
Nick is so embarrassed for me when I do this…but he is admittedly not photogenic so…maybe he should try it sometime:)

Hope this ends in you having the sexiest photos of your life:)


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  • Reply
    Miss Viola Swamp (@imaqt209421)
    October 3, 2013 at 4:29 am

    Awesome, gorgeous, inspiring 🙂

  • Reply
    October 3, 2013 at 4:33 am

    Ugh, I am not photogenic at all. I have this second chin that only cameras can see. (I have this that I am photogenic and I actually look worse than that in real life. *shudder*) I will keep this in mind for the holidays.

    I’m dying to see your new line. Do you know when you’ll have a release date? Are we going to get bunches of tutorials for the role out? I was eyeing the Tutorial Requests on Pinterest yesterday so I was super excited to see this tutorial this morning!

    • Reply
      October 3, 2013 at 9:49 am

      It might be your posture that’s giving the illusion of a double chin. You might just need to angle your head differently. My posture isn’t great and photos seem to accentuate it. My neck sticks out and I look like a sad turtle, so I have remember to compensate and stand up super straight which feels unnatural, but it works.

    • Reply
      October 3, 2013 at 8:34 pm

      I get the weird surprise double chin that only appears in photos too. Here’s the solution to that problem that I heard from a pro photographer and I haven’t had the tragic chin since. Push entire face toward the camera. You’ll feel like you have some serious forward neck syndrome (yes, that’s a thing) but it will create more definition between your face and neck that the camera will pick up. Be sure to push your whole face evenly and not just your chin or forehead or it will make the problem worse.

    • Reply
      October 4, 2013 at 4:39 am

      My sister is a pro photographer, and she says to move your face toward the camera. It feels weird, but outlines your face so it’s not pressed into your neck creating that double chin (I have camera double chin too). It just defines the face really well and looks great in photos. (great for those guys without a jawline, too. :-))

    • Reply
      October 8, 2013 at 5:54 pm

      I find angling the camera above my head is best for combatting the horrible “chin” and slimming the face….so you are always looking up at the camera. Huge difference!!!

  • Reply
    Samareen Yusufi
    October 3, 2013 at 4:51 am

    You look gorgeous in all the pictures 🙂
    I’ve two main problems : my wide and quite big face 😛 and my thin and flat hair that make almost all my pictures bad 🙁
    So now I rarely have my pictures taken

  • Reply
    October 3, 2013 at 4:53 am

    Cara,love all your tips here. will you promise to do a camera tutorial including manual settings and such. Would love to hear your approach on the subject. You are amazing behind the lens too! Keep up the great work.

  • Reply
    October 3, 2013 at 5:09 am

    The laugh trick works! When I’m photographing my friends and they’re not giving me good smiles I always make them laugh so it will be more natural 🙂

  • Reply
    October 3, 2013 at 5:15 am

    Love it!! Im glad you talked about how different makeup can look in pictures. Honestly wondered how some people look so good in pictures even bigger people and I look terrible. I understand now lol! Won’t be so scared of the camera. You’re tips are awesome! Thanks so much :))))) xx

  • Reply
    Jessica Lee Hart
    October 3, 2013 at 5:16 am

    I agree! Exfoliate. Sleep. Drink water! Great tips… Thanks for sharing 🙂


  • Reply
    October 3, 2013 at 5:30 am

    It’s hard to believe a bad picture could be taken of you! It makes me think of trying to take photos for a home-style blog–the camera lens can show all the flaws if precautions aren’t taken. Thanks for the tips–yes, I think we’ll be taking holiday photos in a couple of weeks when everyone’s in town. Hugs! Kim

  • Reply
    Katie / Charming City Style
    October 3, 2013 at 6:00 am

    I’m one of those “I look bad in photos” people so I love these tips. And you’re so right about make up on camera and off. If you’re taking photos, you do need more than you think you do. Now, I just need to master that “comfortable and confident in front of the camera” thing that you do so well.:)

  • Reply
    Charlie Gibson
    October 3, 2013 at 6:57 am

    Love it ! What is the link for the white pencil , or the name of the white pencil?

  • Reply
    October 3, 2013 at 6:58 am

    I’ve been waiting for this kind of tutorial! I have family pics next month. Thank you!!!!

  • Reply
    Krista Wilson
    October 3, 2013 at 7:00 am

    I have a question about your contouring process. I have never heard of that and was very intrigued! When you pick your contour is it always a powder? Is it suppose to be darker or lighter than your foundation? That was a great tutorial, you look fabulous!! Thank you!

  • Reply
    October 3, 2013 at 7:01 am

    This is perfect timing! We are getting family pics on Saturday. I am totally copying this. Now if only i can figure out how to get lashes on…Can’t wait for your makeup line to come out. Love everything you do! I am always excited when I see you have posr ed something new! Have a great day

  • Reply
    October 3, 2013 at 7:27 am

    I have my engagement photos in two weeks! You are a lifesaver, as always!

  • Reply
    Hayley Grade
    October 3, 2013 at 8:25 am

    I love it!! Very clever ideas! And those jeans….they are phenomenal, especially with that top and those heels! Can’t wait to try these makeup techniques!

  • Reply
    October 3, 2013 at 8:46 am

    You’re such a genius!! And you have mastered the art of being helpful, entertaining and real, all at the same time. Thanks for the tips 🙂

  • Reply
    October 3, 2013 at 8:47 am

    Thank you, yet again! Timely, down to earth, fun and insightful. Very indicative of a Cara post:)! If you don’t mind my asking, where did you get your shirt?

  • Reply
    Charlie Gibson
    October 3, 2013 at 8:48 am


  • Reply
    Haley W
    October 3, 2013 at 8:53 am

    You keep teasing us with your make up line! Can you give us any details yet!? Even just a potential release date!? I am dying to get my hands on your make up products!

  • Reply
    Amy F
    October 3, 2013 at 9:37 am

    What setting spray do you like? I’ve used the nyx dewy one, but it makes my face itch!

    • Reply
      October 4, 2013 at 5:20 pm

      Cara had been using the NYX Dewy one but she said that awhile back that she realized the Urban Decay one worked much, much better.

  • Reply
    Rachel S
    October 3, 2013 at 9:45 am

    Perfect timing! We have a family photo shoot scheduled for this weekend and I’ve been scouring your site for photo makeup and hair tips. Thanks so much! Now if only you had a foolproof way to ensure full cooperation from toddlers on picture day,,,

  • Reply
    October 3, 2013 at 9:53 am

    It was like you heard my prayers; I have engagement photos in a week and I’ve been scouring your site playing with different make up tutorials you have, reading them, re-reading them, and this is perfect!! Thank you! You’re so beautiful, and listening to you and seeing the different makeovers you do, I now see my face differently and believe (most of the time) that i’m actually beautiful too!

  • Reply
    October 3, 2013 at 10:38 am

    I love your writing lol. Thanks for sharing your knowledge, I totally need it!

  • Reply
    October 3, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Girl, I love your new website! You are so legit. Keep teaching me the beauty tricks, master!! Can’t wait for your line to come out!

  • Reply
    October 3, 2013 at 11:02 am

    Thank you so much for this post! It had perfect timing! I have my first paid photoshoot this weekend and thanks to your tips I am MUCH less nervous. You have helped me so much, keep it up!

  • Reply
    Tiffany C
    October 3, 2013 at 11:42 am

    I am loving your new set up/ filming and site!! Keep your amazing tutorials coming, they are so helpful!!

  • Reply
    October 3, 2013 at 11:57 am

    I’m so going to try this! Not convinced I’ll like myself any better in photos, but definitely worth a try. I really enjoy your tutorials! Thank you so much for them!

  • Reply
    October 3, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Loved the video! Thanks for all the tips. the new space looks great too!!

  • Reply
    Ary C
    October 3, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    You look gorgeous like always, must try tips for sure!
    ps i must make a trip to forever21 asap, i didn’t know what cute clothes the have!

  • Reply
    October 3, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    Great tips!
    BUT, my mom and husband do the laugh thing…and it drives me crazy! Hahah. : )

  • Reply
    Raquel English
    October 3, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    I’m curious about something that I’ve thought of several times. Here it is: when you use foundation & then contouring & highlighting, how do you keep from your makeup (foundation) clumping up? I really don’t like wearing foundation. I’ve tried the light ones & still prefer a light application of makeup. I’ve done your tutorials with the same products & I seem to have an issue every time. Grrrr… What am I doing wrong??? Help Car Car… Mermaid love & ocean kisses…

  • Reply
    October 3, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Whoa that was pretty amazing Cara! I kept thinking that the foundation esp. looked too heavy in the video but as you said, it looks like you’re wearing so much less in the actual photo and not heavy at all. Gorgeous look! Oh and I love that top, forever21 here I come!

  • Reply
    October 3, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    love the blog!! where is your necklace from?

  • Reply
    October 3, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    You are such a wonderful person who is so inspiring and natural. Love your posts!! Stay the way you are 🙂

  • Reply
    Lisa Michnick
    October 3, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    I have a small discovery to add. Selfies. With digital cameras we can take picture after picture after picture of ourselves that no one but us has to ever see. I have found a good head angle, how much to smile (more than I would have guessed! ), what hairstyle photographs best, etc. Now, when I am with a group where somebody pulls out a camera and my friends start whining about how they HATE to get their picture taken, I am thinking “he he he…. “.

  • Reply
    Erin Marie
    October 3, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    I cannot. wait. to try your makeup line!! Any sneak peaks you can give us??

    You are so fabulous and cute and accessible and you make us feel good about ourselves. Thank you. 🙂

  • Reply
    Brooke Barcia
    October 3, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    Cara you are beautiful! Love all of your info, thank you!

  • Reply
    October 3, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    For the double chin thing, pretend you’re ET. It sounds strange, and feels even stranger, but pull your head up and stick your face out just a little. It might take a few selfies to prerfect it, but it totally helps!

    As for this tutorial, awesome! Last thing I can say is to blend, blend, blend!

  • Reply
    October 3, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    Awesome tutorial ! You are chock full of useful info ! And absolutely beautiful too !

  • Reply
    October 3, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    I remember when you started doing your contouring differently on your cheekbone area. I always loved your contouring regardless, but I do really like the way you’ve been doing it since that one makeup tutorial. It was a model, I think? You were re-creating her look, but I can’t remember her name. You wore brown contacts! Lol, anyhow, you are gorgeous regardless. I love, love your cheekbones!

  • Reply
    October 4, 2013 at 12:36 am

    the colour is magic on you

  • Reply
    October 4, 2013 at 2:34 am

    Hi cara! Love all your tutorials! Just wanna ask the powder you used for contour, loreal deep warm, is it also the one you used for bronzer in the end of your video? Thanks!

  • Reply
    October 4, 2013 at 9:44 am

    I like it !

    This is my Fashion Blog on Blogspot follow me !

  • Reply
    October 4, 2013 at 10:57 am

    This was very helpful so thank you for writing it, I loved it!


  • Reply
    Nanda Secrets
    October 4, 2013 at 11:02 am


  • Reply
    October 4, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    I read this right before going to bed and then dreamed all night of preparing for photo shoots with fabulous hair and makeup. A far cry from my daily no-makeup mom routine. Ha!

    Love, love, love your blog!!

  • Reply
    October 5, 2013 at 9:16 am

    Great tips! Thanks Cara 😉

  • Reply
    October 5, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Gorgeous!! Such great tips!! Thanks for sharing!!

  • Reply
    October 5, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Could you do a review on the Clarisonic?!

  • Reply
    October 5, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    What lash adhesive do you prefer? Never tried falsies, but will use them soon….It’s a little scary if I don’t know the right adhesive, worried that they’ll pull my real ones off!

  • Reply
    October 5, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    i have the camera lens question haha. i looked in the faq section and see that you use nikon, but would you share what lens or lenses you use? apologies if you’ve answered it already but i looked and haven’t found it. 🙂

  • Reply
    October 6, 2013 at 2:25 am

    I have a question:

    I have dark under eye rings, so I use concealer… but then it settles in the creases under my eyes… I then apply powder to stop this from happening… but then my under eye area looks wrinkled and dry… What should I do? Do you have any recommendations for concealer or powder that could help?

    I have been using MAC’s studio fix powder in NC15 and Lancome’s concealer in Ivoire. I also usually wear Laura Mercier’s oil free tinted moisturizer in Porcelain, but have recently been trying Marc Jacobs’ Genius Gel (aka foundation) in 10 Ivory Light.

    (I have very fair skin that is tricky to match.)

  • Reply
    October 6, 2013 at 7:18 am

    Perfect timing! I have family pictures in a week. I need to start exfoliating and practice the makeup tips. Thanks so much!

  • Reply
    October 6, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    How do you whiten your teeth? They always look the perfect shade of white!

  • Reply
    October 6, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    Hi Cara – This isn’t a topic related response, but a comment on your blog in general. I feel compiled to thank you for sharing your knowledge. I’ve tried the HAC and some of your hair techniques recently. Each time I have received compliments on my makeup and hair. Even my husband has noticed! Now shopping for makeup is no longer a overwhelming expedition. Bahama Mama! LOVE it! So thank you!!! You really have changed my outlook on beauty. I feel like I can attain it too.

    Love Tiff

  • Reply
    Xiaoou Zhang
    October 7, 2013 at 2:06 am

    Hi Cara,

    My name is Xiaoou, easily remember as “O”. Am I the first Chinese girl to leave you a comment? ^^ Thank you for sharing your findings. In return of your findings, I would like to share mine, which is if a girl who could not follow all your tips, she has to find a professional photographer or a graphic designer (photoshop expert) as her bf …jk…..


  • Reply
    October 7, 2013 at 6:36 am

    Great tips, thank you for sharing 🙂

  • Reply
    October 7, 2013 at 11:53 am

    Tips on how to put on store bought lashes??

  • Reply
    Anna Apanasewicz
    October 7, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    you’re so pretty! and i love your blog 😀

    Anna xo

  • Reply
    October 9, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Love your blog! Can you give me some options for SPF free foundation?

  • Reply
    Natalie A.
    October 10, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    This video literally changed my photos forever. It is in the back of my mind every single time a photo is taken of me. It teaches you to stick your chin far out & I truly think it takes about 10 lbs off me in every photo. It’s all about the jaw line:

  • Reply
    October 11, 2013 at 9:15 am

    Anyone have a link to the red shirt? There is no link connected with it on this post and I love it…trying to find it if it’s recent.
    Also, does anyone know if there is a tutorial on here for putting the lashes on??

  • Reply
    October 13, 2013 at 4:00 am

    Thank you, Cara, for your blog and awesome tips and videos!!! I found the tutorial for putting the lashes on. Wishing on this video that you let it go all the way through you doing your lashes. It’s like, you’re subtly putting on a dab of mascara and then, BAM, all of a sudden you’re back with the lashes looking awesome 😉 But, once I found the lashes video that helped 🙂 It’s nice to see it all put together though at once. Thanks so much for all you do! Your tips truly are amazing and so helpful. Being able to watch a video of everything in the actual process and real time helps a ton!!

  • Reply
    October 13, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Please tell me you got that shirt at F21 recently! I have been looking for that exact type of top but didn’t see you link to it.

  • Reply
    October 17, 2013 at 5:22 am

    Such great timing! I just had holidays pictures taken of my family so I tried some of your tips out. I haven’t received my pics in yet but hopefully it worked out! Thanks!

  • Reply
    October 18, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    Good tips.Would be great if you could stop saying pitcher instead of picture though. It’s so distracting. Really distracting.

  • Reply
    October 23, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    Great tutorial as always, but today I just want to say I LOVE the way you say “pitures”. 😛 It’s adorable and refreshing! <3

  • Reply
    A picture is worth a thousand words…
    October 24, 2013 at 9:07 pm

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  • Reply
    November 1, 2013 at 9:10 am

    You are gorgeous! Trying to duplicate for family photos tomorrow! What eye shadow did you use? Maybe I missed that??

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    May 6, 2014 at 8:11 am

    I love this tutorial! I used a mixture of everything I learned from you for my engagement pictures, and they turned out wonderful! Your 3D fountation helped a ton as well! I do have one quick question. You linked the L’Oreal Deep Warm powder, but said the color was W10. Deep Warm is W9.5 and Deep Golden is W10. If you get time, could you clarify which powder you used? Thanks a bunch 🙂

  • Reply
    Mom Makeup |
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  • Reply
    August 11, 2014 at 1:04 am

    nice tips …here the below article too provides a great approach…

  • Reply
    Jamie Gingerelli
    August 13, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    I absolutely love this video! So helpful! I vow never to look bad in a photo again!
    Jamie @ SnapGinger

  • Reply
    September 22, 2014 at 4:46 am

    I really love your top in this post! Where did you get it? If you remember.

  • Reply
    Best Holiday Makeup Tutorials | Hair Romance
    September 22, 2014 at 5:03 pm

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  • Reply
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    October 20, 2014 at 7:51 am

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  • Reply
    October 26, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    I love this post, Cara!! Especially adore the part about doing the fake laugh. Made me smile…and it {{so}} totally works ; )

  • Reply
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    […] incredibly endearing, she is beautiful and really makes you trust all of her recommendations.  This blog post is a must if you’re doing portraits anytime soon – I make sure to re-read her photo […]

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