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It seems everywhere I go nowadays someone is pulling out a camera. Whether it’s a digital point-and-shoot or a phone camera, people are photo-happy (or photo-crazed) and taking pictures of everyone, everything and anything. These pictures are quickly uploaded to Facebook, Twitter (and who knows where else).

This 21st century instantaneous phenomenon, gives a completely new meaning to “Insta-matic!” But more photo ops means more photo faux pas. It’s good to be prepared for that compulsive picture taker/uploader (from your BFF to your kid), as well as the obligatory holiday gathering photo.

As many of you know, I do hair and make-up for my celebrity clients at their magazine and photo shoots. They tell me their tricks, tips and secrets of how to look fab in photos–whether it’s paparazzi in Beverly Hills, the red carpet in Hollywood and even the holidays at home (with their very own photo-maniac relatives).

Here are some of the Tips & Tricks I have picked up over the years from my celebrity friends, my photographer pals, and my experiences at these Hollywood parties, worthy charity events, and on the red carpets.

• The head turner. Look at the camera using one eye, which turns your head ever so slightly to the side. Know your good side and use it (usually the side you part your hair on). Look into the lens and imagine that you are looking at someone you absolutely adore or genuinely admire.

• The head tilt. Avoid the dreaded double chin shot caused by a bad camera angle and a bad pose. First, try to have the picture taker stand a little higher than you. Now look up at the camera, tilt your head a little, forward shoulder down and stick your neck out a bit more than normal (it’s called “The Chicken” or “The Turtle”). This may feel strange and contorted, but believe me it will look better on camera. Also, fab photo secret weapon (told to my friend by her European male model ex-husband): Put your tongue on the roof of the mouth and watch your chin disappear even more!

• The J-Lo twist. Stand sideways, with your best side toward the camera. I call it, “putting your best foot forward.” Practice in a mirror at home beforehand if you need to. There’s a reason that celebs use the same poses in so many pictures–they know how to “work it” and they literally put their best foot (and side) forward.

• Give yourself some air. Leave some “air” between your body and your arms. You can make your arms appear thinner if you either put your hands on your hips or hold them slightly away from your upper body.

• Laugh out loud. Do it right before your photo. If you are nervous, laughing out loud really helps to loosen you up. Be sure to have fun or at least look like you are having fun. Really, the camera can be your new BFF if you make up your mind to start to enjoy picture taking. (Wear any of my Live+Love+Laugh Fragrance Trio to remind yourself not to worry and to be happy even in photos.)

• The red carpet special. For that “hey there, I’m looking back over-my-shoulder at you” look. Have some fun in your holiday snapshots and pretend you’re on the red carpet posing for the throngs of celebrity photographers and official paparazzi. Some celebrities recommend you think about winning the lottery (research shows that a “winning attitude” is clearly evident in photos).

• Classic dark (without going Goth). If you wear something darker in color, it helps to slenderize. Maybe put a bit of bright color near the face (maybe even your lips–how about my Tint & Shine Villa Rosa Lip Stain & Gloss!), so your picture “pops.”

• Lovely lipstick. If you don’t have time, lick your lips right before the snapshot. (Hint: use my Lip 6X Lip Amplifying Serum often to help keep your lips moisturized).

• Va-voom your hair. Lean over, shake your hair a bit and fluff it up, flip your head up and Va-Voom, you have fab photo hair for a few moments.

• Wear your confidence on your sleeve (or your fave dress). Dress in your favorite outfit that you know you look great in. But don’t overdo it (PLEASE, not that fabulous prom dress from 1992). Avoid shiny clothing because it is distracting. Remove bulky clothing from around your face. Keep your neckline area open and maybe even adorn it with a fabulous necklace.

• Get together. If you are with one or two or seven friends in a photo, put all your heads together–it definitely shows your bond and mutual affection in photos.

• “Take two” (or three or ten shots). Shoot several pictures because it’s digital and it’s delete-able! If you take one photo landscape (horizontal), have your picture-taker, at least, shoot another one portrait (vertical) too. I sometimes hear “let’s shoot one for safety” on movie sets even when they get it right. I think that’s a great idea when you are taking snapshots, too, especially during holiday gatherings (inevitably someone blinks or your “Cousin Eddie” puts rabbit ears on someone).

• Be aware of lighting and protruding objects. Make sure no poles or Christmas Trees or Menorahs stick out of your head or your ear. Try to position yourself in front of a lighter background. Caution: Too much light, you’ll look blown out like a ghost. Warning: Not enough light, you’ll look dark and shadowy like a ghoul.

• Zoom in. For a more flattering shot, have the picture-taker stand farther away from you and use the zoom lens to get close. Your features will look better (nose, chin, ears) and it feels less intrusive, too.

• Into the night. If flash is used, step away from the light. Don’t shoot into a black hole – avoid dark “dead space” behind you. Try to find a festive background (but not too busy).

• Be yourself. Bottom line: please, just relax. Don’t try too hard or over-think your pose, make it fun. Your pictures will be more natural and reflect the real you.

And remember what I wrote to you in my November blog: the most important things about looking great during the holidays (and in life) are the simplest: Smile and reveal your inner radiance!

Have a Beautiful Holiday Season,