How to look good on staff photos



I started working at a glossy magazine about two months ago and I’ve been lucky enough (or unlucky?) to feature in the staff photographs.

We all headed into the Johannesburg CBD for the whole shoot and the photographer came back to us with the final results in record time. She was amazing so everyone looks good except me of course. I hate photos. I always feel awkward when a photographer coaxes me to smile or strike a ridiculous pose. I never look natural and my smile always looks incredibly forced.

Anyway, before the shoot I did some research on the topic and decided to share my infinite wisdom on the subject with you:


  • Don’t wear pattern heavy clothing – It makes you look bigger than you are and you risk looking like a crazy bag lady if the pattern doesn’t photograph well.
  • No polar fleece – Our shoot was in winter so the temptation was there to wear something warm and fluffy, but don’t. It doesn’t photograph well and makes you look top heavy.
  • Wear darker colours – It makes you look slimmer.
  • Don’t wear fashion faddy clothing – Rather go for something classic that will still look good in a couple of years. You don’t want to look at the photos and cringe or potential clients giggling at your ensemble.


  • For a work related shoot keep your make up slightly lighter and more natural. I went with winged liner and falsies to accentuate my eyes but I skipped eyeshadow altogether. I wore a light pinky almost lilacy lipstick (MAC’s Snapdragon).
  • Chill on the contouring – I’m terrible at it but I contoured very lightly. Depending on how you turn your face it can look like dirt marks on your face or just look weird and unnatural. I’m also not blessed with killer bone structure like Kim K so I had to do something to make my moon face look slimmer.
  • Same for blusher. Don’t look like you have a weird red heat rash on your cheeks.
  • Wear your hair in a way that you feel comfortable with. I just threw up my hair in a bun since I have unruly wavy hair and it would’ve looked untidy and unprofessional on the photos if I just left it to its own devices.

The night before

  • Eat healthy for glowing and clear skin at least a week before
  • Lay off the carbs and foods with a high sodium content. It will cause water retention.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Get enough sleep the night before.
  • Know that photoshoots take long. You’re going to be there for a while so take a book or something to entertain yourself with with to the location. Ours took 5 hours and there’’s about 20 people if that much working in my office.
  • Just relax and try and enjoy the shoot.

Please note that I’m no professional and I don’t think I look amazing on our staff photos at all. I’m simply sharing some tips and my experience from what I learnt and I find that these tips helped me.


XO Carina