There’re tons of YouTube videos on how to pose for an aesthetic Instagram feed. Problem is, most of them are either for girls, caucasians, or both. Over the years, I’ve developed a thick skin and more importantly, a few go-to tricks for getting that *aspirational* #ootdmen shot quickly before onlookers start staring at you, wondering which pretentious planet you come from. Here are some of them.
1. Stare straight into the camera
Though the most straightforward, Asians typically shun taking this type of photo because our pupils are generally darker and therein less piercing. The trick is to make your gaze piercing when the colour of your eyes aren’t: imagine you have X-ray vision and can see all the gears hidden in the camera. Furrow your brows and look through the camera lens, not at it. This applies even if you’re wearing shades!
2. Run your fingers through your hair
The oldest trick in my book that I still fall back on whenever I freeze. Why? So I don’t feel awkward when I have no idea what to do with my hands. If your friend/parent is taking his/her time to take the photo, the good news is that this works even if you’re looking down to avoid eye contact with passers-by.
3. Frown while looking at a specific point in the distance
10min after the broskis said I keep getting mistaken for Muji staff because I dress with a Muji aesthetic (okay I paraphrased him to sound nicer), I walked past an oxford shirt that looked exactly like the one I was wearing 🙄 @titusong I was also just thinking back to Y2 when I genuinely thought I’d become one of those people you’d say you used to be close to but are not anymore: though it’s still as hard as ever to meet up with you, I’m glad that contrary to our dinner conversation, your value to my life as a brother cannot be quantified based on how many times we meet up or how many times you reply my messages (I.e. very very rarely) 😌 #minimalistaesthetic
The key to nailing this is to cheat your angles. Focus on a point between the camera and the direction you want the audience to think you’re looking at. That means that if I want to come across as looking 70° away from the camera, I should be tilting my face 35° away from the camera. This will allow the camera to capture more of your face.
4. Think about something while looking to the side
If a picture speaks a thousand words, you should definitely make a story out of it. Be it a head-cock to evoke pride/confidence or raising an eyebrow like you’re processing something you find strange, imagine those feelings to make your story more convincing.
5. Lounge on whatever’s around you
You want to look like you’re in a comfortable position that you could remain in for at least twenty minutes, but you’ll also want to create shapes with your joints to make for a more interesting photo.
6. Chuckle to yourself
A smile is the best thing you can wear – just remember to exhale and relax all the muscles in your face. The most Insta-worthy smiling shots are usually the candid ones in between posed shots because they look the most natural. For me, that usually happens when I laugh at myself when I realize how pretentious I can be in the other posed shots above.
7. Walk while doing any of the above
If you’re having problems looking natural while holding a pose, then walking while doing any of the above should do the trick. After all, walking’s one of the first things we learn to do when we’re babies.
8. Jump shots
Okay, I’m probably biased towards this because I did Long Jump for 15 years of my life. That’s also why I generally avoid cliche group jump shots and try to make my jump shots more fly by attempting levitation shots (like the one above), a Super Mario style side-view jump shot with angular limbs, or leap with one leg in front while running towards the camera, staring it down.
9. Put on an alter ego / don’t take yourself too seriously
This is the second most important tip to bear in mind, because even the world’s best models don’t look fierce 24/7. Imagine yourself as a larger-than-life character, then laugh it off in between shots for the perfect candid shot mentioned above (just ask your friend to snap furiously in between your poses as well).
10. Find your light!
And leaving the most important rule of photography for the last: light is your best friend – always make sure your face finds it. As a personal preference, I also generally prefer working with natural light outdoors because it’s less harsh on the face and, well, looks more natural.
There you have it! Let me know in the comments below if these have been helpful!