AskCara Popular Tips & Tricks

My tips on looking your thinnest in photos.

After last weeks post on looking good in photos I had a wave of emails asking for my tips on looking thin.
Then, while we were in North Carolina Mandi voiced the same concerns.
I told her I was planning to do a post on all of my acquired knowledge and she offered her services as my model.
She has a gorgeous figure but was claiming her natural awkwardness in posing for photos would be an exceptional example of a “before”.

I’ve said it before (twice at least) but it’s important so, I’ll say it again:
Photos are a flattened version of a 3 dimensional object. They don’t always do you justice.
In the meantime, there are things you can do to make sure it’s you in the photo and you’re not getting photobombed by your evil twin.

These tips are a must pin! Very simple and incredibly effective!

These tips are a must pin! Very simple and incredibly effective!

For full body shots:

Wear heals
Wear dark colors
Use good posture
Pretend you’re a turtle and push your neck forward a bit, feels weird but totally works, promise!

Bold prints
Thin, clingy fabrics
Flattening your arms against your body or your legs together


I love taking head shots from above. It’s flattering and it shows off your eyes. Double threat!


Objects closest to the camera may appear larger than they are.
Always remember that the closest thing to the camera will take the spotlight.
Mandi is a looker and if we were doing “sexy” photos to show off her assets we might choose the pose on the left, but in the cases when you want your face to be the focus (so, usually)
put it in front.


OK, so here’s the set up: You are with your friends at dinner and you want a photo together, so you hand the camera to the person next to you and lean back to get in the photo with your girls.
Pretty standard, right?


Except now the photo is primarily of your arm, which is totally not what you guys were going for.
In this case I say jump up and bend in to stand over your friends putting all of your heads on s similar playing field.
Not only will it be more flattering but it will also bring balance to the photo…and you won’t feel the desire to untag yourself in it:)


(we were kind of cracking up cause Mandi kept making her most awkward faces to add to the ambiance)
Are you kind of seeing a pattern here? It’s really all about the distortion of size that the camera creates based on how close or far something is to the lens.
Just make sure you’re all as close to the same distance from the photographer as possible.

I hope this helps you feel better about your posing in the future but I also hope it helps you realize how easy it is for a photo to get distorted and not let it stress you out or ruin an otherwise lovely image for you.



Thank you so much to Mandi and my other lovely models 🙂

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  • Reply
    Chandra Myers
    October 16, 2013 at 4:40 am

    Thank you so much for these tips. I cant tell you how many pixs of me with groups i dont like of myself.

    • Reply
      October 16, 2013 at 10:47 pm

      You are welcome! Now you know it’s just the darn camera and you can love the photos anyway! 🙂

  • Reply
    October 16, 2013 at 4:56 am

    Thanks for each one of your very practical and helpful tips! You definitely rock!

  • Reply
    Lisa Scott Provost
    October 16, 2013 at 4:59 am

    That group shot – Lisa’s giant upper arm plus some other stuff that might be people – is TOTALLY me.Maybe this will remind me!

    The whole arms and legs thing was news to me, though. I’ve got some serious badonkadonk, so I will be working that one HARD next time it comes up, believe me! 🙂

  • Reply
    PennyPincherFashion (@PPFGirl)
    October 16, 2013 at 5:49 am

    When I saw the title of this post, I couldn’t click on the link fast enough! As a fashion blogger, I am always trying to look my best in photos…loving these tips & will definitely be bookmarking this for future reference – thanks for sharing! xo

    • Reply
      October 16, 2013 at 10:50 pm

      AS a fashion blogger I’d love to hear some of your tips!!

  • Reply
    October 16, 2013 at 6:20 am

    Excellent tips! Much needed too. Thank you!

  • Reply
    October 16, 2013 at 6:21 am

    These are great! I actually had a lady tell me the tip about sticking your neck out like a turtle once when I was having my employee ID photo taken. It was the best ID badge I’ve ever had lol!!
    On another note, I was googling St. George b/c I’ve never heard of it and was curious b/c there seems to be quite a lot of you beautiful people out there :). It looks like a real lovely place to live. And I love that it’s nicknamed ‘Utah’s Dixie’. I live in Chattanooga, TN now but grew up in the heart of the Mississippi Delta – home of the Blues and cotton fields for days. I think you would fit right in as a Southern Belle!! Love all you do for us girls! ❤

    • Reply
      October 16, 2013 at 11:07 pm

      I WISH I was a southern belle!! I have heard of Chattanooga from watching Teen mom – I know, shameful! But it always looks so pretty there and I am in LOVE with southern accents! Love you back girl!

  • Reply
    October 16, 2013 at 6:24 am

    Mandi’s jeans look super comfy, what brand are they?

    • Reply
      October 16, 2013 at 11:08 pm

      forever21! the ten buck jeans!

  • Reply
    October 16, 2013 at 6:58 am

    Totally love Mandi’s shirt! Where do I get one 🙂 This was a great post at a perfect time! I literally just took a 1000 pics of me trying to get one for my blog profile and it was awful! I was doing everything wrong! Thanks for breaking it down and giving the turtle tip!

  • Reply
    October 16, 2013 at 7:10 am

    You are adorable, and as a photog I have to say that these tips rock! It’s all about tricking the camera. 😉 I even stuck a pose for my license pic. Did the lady taking the pic laugh at me? Duh! But I have a fab license picture, so who cares? Haaaa!! Also, I recently saw a super famous blogger on the street in NYC and could not believe how much better she looks in pictures than in “real life”. She knows how to work it for the camera!!!

    • Reply
      October 16, 2013 at 11:28 pm

      haha that’s why I like to look like my everyday self on the blog as much as possible! I never want anyone to meet me and be totally let down! haha might as well embrace the averageness!

  • Reply
    October 16, 2013 at 7:23 am

    Really great tips! Usually when I read posing tips they present awkward poses which I know I won’t end up doing. These are so natural ❤

    • Reply
      October 16, 2013 at 11:31 pm

      yes! I’ve tried doing weird things and I end up looking so strange in my photos, the key is to be comfortable and natural while still being aware of a few key tips!

  • Reply
    October 16, 2013 at 7:59 am

    These tips are so great!! Maybe now I’ll start liking pics of myself. 🙂

  • Reply
    Tansey z
    October 16, 2013 at 8:12 am

    Yes! where is the leather baseball tee from?

  • Reply
    Connie Shirley
    October 16, 2013 at 8:20 am

    This post is awesome! Thanks for all the tips; they totally seem like common sense once you say them like this. Can you do a post on caring for and carrying around your camera? I have a nice camera, but rarely take it out for fear of banging it up, and end up using my phone to create some cringe-worthy photos.

    • Reply
      October 16, 2013 at 11:35 pm

      I hear ya! I need some help on this one myself…I’ll get on it!

  • Reply
    Nancy OConnell
    October 16, 2013 at 8:33 am

    Thanks for the tips on what to avoid.

    I recently noticed that my short sleeved arms looked gigantic in a family photo taken at my daughters gradation. I was disappointed because I had recently lost 30 pounds and was actually excited to be seen in photos again. I came to the conclusion that when my arms are exposed I need to hold them slightly away from my body so that they don’t plump up when they are pushed against my body. I tested my theory out with a few selfies, and it really seemed to make a difference.

  • Reply
    October 16, 2013 at 8:49 am

    Where did Mandi get her shirt?? I need one!!

  • Reply
    Jodie Tighe
    October 16, 2013 at 9:02 am

    Thank you! This was a very, very helpful and illuminating post. I’ve always hated having my picture taken, and now I understand a lot about why and what to do instead. Cara, a lot of people wouldn’t have shared that with the world in general; you have such a sweet and generous spirit.

  • Reply
    Cassie (@AdvocareLean)
    October 16, 2013 at 9:12 am

    LOVE this post! Thank you sooooooooo much! She is a very beautiful girl!!! The ‘before and after’ shots put side by side..WOW…like a 20 lb difference! Crazy!

  • Reply
    Sarah @ Just So Lovely
    October 16, 2013 at 9:19 am

    I learned about angling your body to the camera during my wedding photos and I’ve been doing it ever since! Now I’m sooo happy to now know your tips for posing while sitting with friends… not only am I going to use this but I’m going to share the love with any ladies I EVER have pictures with. We’ll all be thanking you for such genius moves 😉 Thanks!

  • Reply
    October 16, 2013 at 9:52 am

    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE! I need to know where Mandi bought her leather baseball shirt?!?!

  • Reply
    October 16, 2013 at 9:54 am

    Another tip I heard, in addition to jutting out your neck a little, is to press your tongue to the roof of your mouth. Bye bye double chin.

  • Reply
    October 16, 2013 at 11:18 am

    This is so perfect because I was just thinking the other day how inconsistent I look in photos….now I know how to fix it!
    Mandi is so super cute! She’s awesome.

  • Reply
    October 16, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Great tips! Thank you! Also, where is Mandy’s grey and black shirt from?

  • Reply
    October 16, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Great tips! Here’s one I learned from a friend: For standing photos, stand with your shoulders squared to the camera and your hips twisted to the side. It gives you that v-taper we all want. Basically, I turn slightly sideways to the camera, then twist my shoulders to face the camera fully. It feels weird, but works!

  • Reply
    Jessica Lee Hart
    October 16, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Great tips!

  • Reply
    October 16, 2013 at 11:57 am

    Would love to know where those black heels came from???Please??

    • Reply
      October 16, 2013 at 1:05 pm

      If I’m not mistaken, the shoes are Steve Madden Spycee black sandals. You can find them online at Zappos. I looked them up before when Cara was wearing with another outfit but in sparkly champagne color. Wanted them sooo bad!! Unfortunately, I have a small foot (5) and Steve Madden shoes usually start at 5.5

  • Reply
    Brighton PortmN
    October 16, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    Love love love the shirt with the leather sleeves! Do you know where I could purchase it?? Thanks so much! 🙂

  • Reply
    Ana Leote
    October 16, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    such great tips!


  • Reply
    October 16, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    I can’t seem to get the hang of the neck thing. When I do it I don’t get the double chin but I get this very oddly thick scrunchy neck thing instead. It’s so frustrating!

  • Reply
    October 16, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    Kaitlyn Thatcher!!! Well, this is a small world. I’ve been following your blog for awhile now and all of a sudden, one of my friends shows up on here as a “friend” in these pictures!

  • Reply
    October 16, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    This is awesome, no wonder I look thinner in some pictures, and heavier in others, thanks for the tips!!

  • Reply
    October 16, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    fantastic tips! Never thought of it like this but crazy how subtle changes can make the photo and you look entirely different!!

  • Reply
    Sugar Free Ear Candy - Lynsey
    October 16, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    Cara you are absolutely heaven sent…and right in time for the family photos that I have been dreading since I scheduled them in August! Thank you so much for all of your wonderful tips! You are the best!

  • Reply
    October 16, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    Cara…you are amazing! I have large cheeks and need to know how to not monopolize the photo with them. Thank you!

  • Reply
    chic abiti
    October 16, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    You girls both look good!

  • Reply
    October 16, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    Thanks! Great tips!

  • Reply
    October 17, 2013 at 6:23 am

    These are such great tips! Definitely sharing this on FB. 🙂


  • Reply
    Bethaney - Flashpacker Family
    October 17, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    These are excellent tips! Thanks so much!!!!

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Shulamit E
    October 19, 2013 at 2:22 am

    great information!

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    Mallory @ Because I Like Chocolate
    October 19, 2013 at 7:37 am

    Love these! I always look horrendous in pictures, I am basically the least photogenic person on the planet!

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    October 20, 2013 at 7:17 am

    Just in time. Now maybe I won’t look so horribl looking in the Halloween photos. Thanks for the tips.

  • Reply
    Debbie Holobaugh
    October 20, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Thank you so much for posting this! I wish I had seen it earlier because I attended a function yesterday where several “once in a lifetime” photos were taken I look horrid in all of them! I have never been photogenic, I always end up looking fat when in actuality I’m not. Every time I look at photos of myself I think to myself “Is that what I really look like? Am I really that fat?” While the photos taken yesterday are awful, I must say this makes me feel so much better about myself. Looking at the before and afters of Mandi I can see that I DON’T really look like those photographs! Thank you!


  • Reply
    October 20, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    These tips are great!

    Sparkles and Shoes

  • Reply
    October 23, 2013 at 3:20 am

    You really look beautiful 🙂

  • Reply
    November 1, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    So thankful to have found your blog. We are doing family pics tomorrow, and I am practicing in the mirror with these tips, and I am succeeding for once!!

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    November 11, 2013 at 5:52 am

    Wonderful tips. As a woman who is about to turn “60”, I value your tips very much. Thank you! Will try them for sure

  • Reply
    Stylishly Social
    November 11, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    Great tips! Now I just have to remember to actually use them! 🙂

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    Jonathan Page Acabo
    January 29, 2014 at 2:50 am

    These tips are so great thank you so much for sharing…

  • Reply
    January 31, 2014 at 8:55 am

    I loved your post. I’m a new blogger; so this will be really helpful with my future posts. I’m definitely filing this for future reference; when my layout is ready.:) Thanks so much!!!

  • Reply
    March 2, 2014 at 8:38 am

    Great idea’s, I’m quite the same type as you (long same colour hair and same body, bit thicker though ;)) and I’m always struggling with my poses on a picture – and they almost always tend to fail so I will untag myself 😉 Thanks!! Xx from Holland

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    Sona Hodaie
    November 1, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    As someone who has a little modeling experience, I’ve found you can look thinner when a photo is taken during your EXHALE. Blow your air out, hold your breath, and smile. Also, when doing standing shots, you can tilt your hips backward, slightly arching the back, elongating and separating the thighs (thigh gap). Also, finding what angle for your face is the best–some look better looking down their nose, looking up their nose, squaring their jaw to the camera, maybe the right or left side of the face is best–knowing your best/favorite angle is helpful.

  • Reply
    Mutebi Roy
    April 13, 2015 at 11:53 am

    It really works. Thanks Cara

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    April 13, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    All great, thanks for all the wonderful tips!

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