Friday, December 16, 2011

Holiday Photo Tips for Better Picture Taking!

Watch the video here
Everyone reaches for the camera this time of year because the holidays make for Great Photo Opps, so here are some tips to turn your ordinary snaps into magical memories!

Double your Chances
The portrait in front of the tree is always traditional in my family, but remember that some of your best images happen in between the posing so keep shooting. It's a good idea if you can enlist another camera person along side you. A different exposure, perspective with twice the chances for that perfect photo. In the digital age there is no reason not to make it your goal to fill up the memory card!

Turn your Flash Off
I always prefer photos in natural light. You can reduce the dependency of using your flash if you open up window coverings and turn on lights in the room. Here is a photo of my Christmas tree, one with a flash and immediately after with the flash off.

Flash on                                         Flash off

Which one is better? Well it depends. If you are really proud of your tree trimming abilities you would pick the one with the "flash on" because you can see the details of the tree and the ornaments, whereas the photo with the "flash off" adds a tremendous amount of warmth, with the lights illuminating the tree. Just to be safe, take your pictures both ways ... with and without a flash. 

When you are photographing your kids underneath the tree looking for their presents you might find that the lit tree will be bright enough to light up their angelic faces, or you might need to turn on your flash. Most built in camera flash's  reach about 10 feet, but if it's washing people's faces out, back up a bit. Certainly, no flash is needed Christmas morning when all the light is streaming in from the windows.

Many religious and family traditions at this time of year include candlelight which gives off rich red and orange tones in a photo and adds drama. Sometimes the ambience is more important to your photo than a clearly lit face. The best way to capture the innocence of the moment itself ... is in it's natural light. 

Determine your Focus
When you are taking pictures of people, be sure to point the focus dot (or box) on their eyes. Generally when we look at people, it is eye-to-eye so naturally this is where you are able to capture the emotion of your subject. 

When you are trying to photograph a group of people in staggered depth, keep in mind that you will want to focus in the middle so the person in the front row and the back row remain in focus. If you only focus on the front, the people in the back will be blurry.

You might find there are many points of interest in your frame when you compose a photo, but you will need to choose one. This is what will grab the attention of your viewer ...
Sometimes you won't want the focus to be on a person at all, but instead on something not so obvious, like this piece of pie which makes for a unique and fun image you will treasure!

Get Closer
One of the simplest tips to getting a photo with a real a wow factor is to fill the frame of the shot with your subject and eliminate the dead space or headroom around them. This also gets rid of any clutter in the background, that can be distracting. Doing this will add a dynamic element to your photo and have a profound impact on your shot.

No Excuses. Period.
Almost everyone these days has a smart phone or iPhone in their pocket so there is really no excuse for not taking a couple snaps and sharing them with family far away. Download the popular and FREE apps like Instagram or Hipstamatic which can add cool effects like blurred edges and vignetting for a vintage retro flair.  -------------------------------->

AND if you are giving the gift of a camera this year to someone, make sure you take it out of the box, charge up the battery and install a memory card so it is ready to be used as soon as the wrapping is ripped open!

If you want to learn more about your camera and the keys to improve your photos, check out Chapter 13: Digital Tech and Chapter 14: Advanced Exposure in my book Face This, Real Advice from Real Models,   191 color pages full of tips and advice from models, photographers and makeup artists ... The secrets to looking great in front of the camera along with everything else you need to become Picture Perfect! Available on Amazon, Nook, Kindle and iTunes for iPod, iPhone and iPad users.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How to DeBloat after the Holiday Parties!

The media suggest that the average American usually gains around 7-10 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years, but according to the most reliable study to date published in the New England Journal of Medicine, in truth, it is less than one pound!

If your clothes feel tight and your face puffy it is more likely you are experiencing the holiday "bloat" which can tip the scales up to 5 pounds plus.

Holiday festivities include family potluck gatherings, neighborhood gift exchanges, Thanksgiving dinner, cookie swaps, Christmas and office parties, not to mention the celebratory New Years toast!  All of these rich and processed foods that are being served usually mean more sodium - leading straight to water weight. 

It’s important not to freak out and remind yourself that weight loss and weight gain are mathematical equations and in a few days it would be nearly impossible to consume enough extra calories for a real 5 pound gain. 1 lb = 3500 calories AND 5 lbs = 17,500 calories extra.  Here are some  strategies to help you de-bloat.

1.  In between parties cut back on calories. 
This shouldn't be very hard to do since you have overindulged and feel full. Bethenny Frankel, author of Naturally Thin, suggests whipping up a big pot of vegetable soup to slim down. Just throw some onions, broccoli and carrots, in a fat free chicken stock and puree to eat with brown rice. 
2.  Fill up with loads of de-bloating foods to tell your body to get rid of all that water. Some natural diuretics are watermelon, asparagus, oats, cucumber, ginger, pineapple, and yogurts containing probiotics ("good" bacteria) can help.
3.  Eat fiber to help clear your colon of any undigested foods and air. Foods like bananas that are high in potassium  have also been shown to beat bloat by causing your body to flush out the water.
4.  Drink lots of water to stay hydrated. Sodium intake acts like a water retention magnet so you need to drink enough water to flush all of this from your system or your body will keep trying to save water reserves.
5.  Sweat it outWorking out not only helps burn calories away but you can sweat out unwanted water swelling. Before supermodel Heidi Klum gets in front of the camera she de-bloats with an Epsom salt-rich bath. Magnesium sulphate in the salts draw out the fluids from your body.

6. Plenty of Zzzzz's. Sleeping raises growth hormones and reduces stress. Stress can increase cortisol levels in your body over time and cortisol inhibits sodium loss through the small intestines. Water will stay where the sodium is which often causes water retention. So focus on getting to bed early and letting your metabolism get in check to help your body recover!

Shelley GoodStein is a FORD model who speaks to women through television, national articles and public forums about a model's secrets to looking good from the inside out and the beauty of aging! She is the author of Face This: Advice From Real Models, Photographers and Make Up Artists on How to Become Picture Perfect!

Friday, December 2, 2011

How to Depuff and Conceal Under Eye Circles

'Tis the season ... for no sleep.
 Which sometimes leads to under-eye circles and dark, puffy eyes. A one-way ticket to looking older than you are! 

One of the reasons you notice puffiness under your eyes so quickly after a sleepless night, crying, or overindulging in salty foods or cocktails, is because the skin around your eyes is thinner and more delicate than anywhere else on your body. Most likely the cause of puffiness is fluid retention, but sometimes genetics are to blame. If you see a bluish tint under your eyes, it is caused by the blood vessels underneath which become more noticeable as we age and the skin here becomes more translucent. 

In place of sleeping pills, here is my Beauty Fix ToolKit for under eye bags:

1. Depuff. Ideally you should sleep with your head elevated - totally impractical, and luckily gravity usually takes over by noon and naturally reduces some of the puffiness you saw under your eyes when you first woke up, but thankfully there is more you can do: Place anything cold under your eyes, like cold cucumbers or spoons soaked in ice to speed things up. Try Patricia Wexler's Instant De-Puff Eye Gel $19.50 or some of the new cool gels with caffeine to tighten that are sold in a rollerball applicator like Clinique's All About Eye Serum De-Puffing Massage $26. You may have heard beauty pageant girls talking about using Preparation H to constrict blood vessels under their eyes, but the ingredient that worked for this effect is no longer contained in the US version, so save your money unless your ordering it from Canada.

2. Stay Hydrated. Drink water to remove toxins and extra sodium from your body, and keep your skin properly hydrated with an eye cream rather than a regular lotion because they tend to have higher concentrations of emollients to help them remain in the ever-mobile eye area.  Daily use of any cream will temporarily plump up the skin so that the blue-ness of the blood vessels are less visible. I personally love using Clarisonic's Opal Sonic Infusion System, it vibrates at amazing speeds, delivering more than 7,500 micro-massages a minute to help the eye serum penetrate into the skin better. 

3. Brighten. A luminizing pen is one of the best kept secrets that models use for erasing those missed hours of sleep. It is seriously like a magic wand for under eye circles. The best is YSL's Touche Eclat $40. Just dot it under your eyes and blend! The light reflectors in this product will help make the area appear less depressed.

4. Conceal. Do this last after you apply foundation and use concealer with moderation, especially for puffiness or you may just draw attention to what it is you are trying to conceal. Be sure you choose a creamy formula and apply it using a concealer brush to get to the areas your fingers cannot saturate. This should be just a shade lighter or warmer than your regular foundation.

Be careful to avoid scented products and those that contain ingredients like salicylic, glycolic or alpha hydroxy acids and retinoids , which can irritate delicate eye tissue making redness and swelling worse. Also, skip mascara on your lower lashes alltogether so you won't look like a raccoon by adding darkness to your lower eye.

Shelley GoodStein is a 47 year old FORD model who speaks to women through television, national articles and public forums about a model's secrets to looking good from the inside out and the beauty of aging! She is the author of Face This: Real Advice From Real Models, Photographers and Make Up Artists on How to Become Picture Perfect!