If you have no idea what an #ootd is… #wherehaveyoubeen
It stands for “outfit of the day” and is a commonly-used hashtag across social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Yes, it’s somewhat self-gratuitous and a little vain, but it’s also a way to document your outfit – hey if you spend time getting dressed in the morning, you might as well celebrate that effort by immortalizing it in a snap, right?
As someone who is guilty of taking #ootds and uploading them (mostly to Instagram), I’m often asked a few questions, such as, who takes your pictures? Once in awhile I’m lucky to find myself in the company of photographers such as Daniel Ho or friends who are into photography who can really help make me look better. This unfortunately doesn’t happen very often! Unlike some fashion bloggers who really take the time and effort to chase light and have the luxury of shooting with a professional photographer all the time, most of my outfit shots are taken by…my husband. LOL. The rest are taken by unsuspecting friends I’m with – “erm…sorry ah, can help me take an outfit shot please?”.
Shooting with a professional photographer or even with someone who is into photography is that they take the effort to art direct the shot and give you helpful directions when posing to help you look better. The difference when asking a friend to shoot is that most times, they only take one shot. Sometimes I look like crap in that shot but I feel a little awkward to ask them to take another (and embarrassed by my own vanity!). The long-suffering husband will snap two or three for me, but he won’t stand there taking millions of shots just so I can get that one perfect look!
The point I’m trying to make is that I’ve had to learn to get it right in the very first shot (or at most, in the second shot), and here are the tips I’ve figured out along the way that help a person look better in an #ootd.
1. An OOTD-worthy outfit
Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t have to be all Anna Dello Russo FABULOUS before it’s an “OOTD-worthy” shot.
Because we can’t all be Anna!
However, she does have the right idea: playing around with prints, proportions, colours and shapes help make an outfit more interesting and photo-worthy.
Nicole Warne of garypeppergirl and her take on prints:
Even with her dimunitive frame, Margaret Zhang of shinebythree manages to play with proportions:
Aimee Song of songofstyle plays with shapes:
While our very own Yoyo Cao does colour to a tee. I admit I’m biased – plus she’s head to toe in my personal favourite colour!
Another tip to looking good in clothes is simply…
Know your body and be honest; play up your best body features and downplay the features you don’t like as much. (Yes, this is groundbreaking stuff, hur hur.)
It can be scary and a little embarrassing to do this, so I’ll go first! I like my height and my long limbs; I don’t like my short torso and the fact that I’m shaped like a boy (no curves). So…
I don’t favour crop tops that visually shorten the body. I also don’t like bodycon dresses that hug every curve (or lack thereof!). Instead, I opt for cigarette pants, shorts and skirts.
Hips don’t lie? Shakira can say that only because she’s lucky to have ample hips! Here, details like tassels and fringe in strategic spots distract from the lack of curves and add a little bulk to the hip area (hence creating the illusion of hips where there are none!). Note also the choice of fade in the jeans – the white fade in the middle adds some curves to skinny legs. Rips and patchwork details also add a little more bulk!
Horizontal stripes across the body add curves. A well-cut blazer will a nipped-in waist also creates the illusion of a more defined midsection – perfect for boy-shaped types like me! Shorts play up longer limbs and show off a little skin to keep the look from being frumpy. It’a all about balance.
Now you know my tricks! Please share some of your styling tricks with me too!
2. Give good face
It may be a full body shot we’re after when taking an #ootd, but do not underestimate the importance of your face and/or facial expression in this. A pleasant-looking face goes a long way to making an outfit shot look better than it is.
Some people look cool and classy when they don’t smile; others look like they want to beat someone up when not smiling. If like me, you belong to the latter category, then smile if you need to!
Yes, I am actually quite nice (even though I look like I want to beat you up).
Another thing about the face is that V-shaped faces generally look better in photos. These are pictures of me from 8 years ago:
And here is a recent picture of me:
Same chin, same face, no fillers or plastic done (say no to plastic surgery!) but less fat in the cheek area (and a few more lines, unfortunately, haha). I was introduced to Clarins Shaping Facial Lift more than two years ago when a good friend of mine introduced it to me, and I find that my face has gotten so much more V-shaped over the years, mostly in the lower cheek and also in the area underneath the chin. I look better with a wider range of different expressions now and also from all angles. Which brings me to the next point in taking a good #ootd…
I know a lot of people like the top-down angle for selfies. Although I personally don’t, I do admit this can sometimes be flattering for selfie shots. For taking #ootd shots though I personally prefer the bottom-up, low angle. This angle makes one look taller, slimmer and with longer legs – triple win! To achieve this, get the person taking your photo to squat/bend down (haha this person will unfortunately look a little unglam in doing so!) and take you from a low angle.
Because dear Rozzie is sweet like that and takes the best #ootd shots at our girl dates!
Many people shy away from the bottom-up angle as they think it is unflattering to the face as it gives one a double chin. If feel you have a double chin with this angle, you might want to try not going super low on this; just a slight low angle is good enough and will make you look slightly taller and slimmer. For me, I’ve found my double chin woes gone since using Clarins Shaping Facial Lift – I look okay from a chin-up angle now and it makes my legs look longer than they are too, haha! Only the husband suffers because he now has to bend lower to get this angle when he helps me snap my shots, lol.
4. Find a nice background
It’s great if you are in a city that is amazingly photogenic (London, New York and Paris come to mind) but don’t diss dear Singapore as not having nice spots to take photos! Just check out some of the shots bloggers take in sunny Singers:
And my take of the streets of…Tanjong Katong Road, lol:
While a cool background that tells a story is a bonus, for someone like me who simply gets someone to snap #ootd shots of me when I’m out, I sometimes just look for a simple and uncluttered background – a blank wall, wall with muted colours and interesting shapes. I personally also like backgrounds that give a little depth to the shot such as corridors.
Another thing that is even more important than background is lighting. I spoke about this in a previous post on How to Take a Good Selfie (check it out here if you haven’t) and lighting is as important for taking #ootd shots as it is for selfies. Make sure the place is bright so all outfit details and colours are visible. The way the light hits is important too; I personally like light coming in from the side. I also much prefer natural lighting so most of my photos are taken in the day:
5. Don’t over-pose.
You are not a pageant queen, and it looks contrived and dated to always do the weight on one leg, hand on hip, “teapot pose”.
Even Angelina Jolie gets it wrong now and then. (She blamed this on her stylist for choosing such a dress, but the person who spent the entire night sticking out her right leg like her life depended on it? That was all you, honey.
6. But don’t just stand there, slumped, either!
Keep it simple and natural, but with better posture, lol.
Cross your legs or even try a walking shot.
7. Don’t over-edit
Don’t go mad with the filters and editing – you don’t want to look so much better in photos that people are disappointed when they meet you! LOL.
So, now you know the tricks I’ve learnt to taking #ootd shots – please share some of yours if you have any that I’ve missed out!
Because I believe good things must be shared, especially with my dear readers: get a free trial of Clarins Shaping Facial Lift here!
This post was kindly sponsored by Clarins. Views all my own.