Looking Good in Front of the Camera or Not Photogenic? Here’s What to Look For in Photogenicity

Good looking camera photogenicity not photogenic
For some people, it's hard to be as beautiful as they are good looking. | © Pixabay

The camera doesn’t lie, the saying goes. Nevertheless, anyone who is blessed by nature with an attractive exterior and looks dazzling to the eye may not be photogenic at all. In this article, we’ll explain how to optimize your photogenicity. So that looking good is no coincidence.

Not all and not everything looks equally good when viewed through the camera eye. This post explains why a camera lens perceives people and things differently than the human eye. He gives you tips and tricks on how to best position yourself to look photogenic and ensure good looks.

Looking good: loved by cameras?

There are inconspicuous contemporaries without great grace, which the lens of a camera and the right light enchants into a charismatic personality.

When someone tells you that you are photogenic, it really means nothing more than that pictures of you are more beautiful than you are.
Ritu Ghatourey

In this case, professionals talk about the fact that the camera loves an actor or actress, he or she (not) photogenic. The Good New are: For marketing and communication with film and video, as in photography, there exist a number of established and proven tricks of the trade on how to positively influence the image of people in a formal way.

Looking good and being photogenic are not just about subjective perception. You can’t be photogenic either.

What does photogenicity mean?

The following is not about who is being recorded, whether it is for moving image or a still image. Rather, it’s a question of what the camera can do for that person on its own. There are three things to keep in mind.

Without these three things, looking good in front of a photo or film camera is not possible:
  • First, the basic guidelines of image composition also apply to the consideration of photogenicity.
  • Secondly, looking good is of course dependent on what is being filmed or photographed in what lighting conditions.
  • Thirdly, one can be photogenic, but nevertheless the daily form of the people in front of and behind the camera always plays a decisive role.

Photogenicity, looking good in front of the camera, also has to do with what angle you are shot from.

Actors or models often speak of the “chocolate side” – they know from which angle they look perfect. Mostly it is about the lateral position of the camera (how far sideways is it positioned) and less about the camera perspective (top view, bottom view, etc.). Shots in half profile and profile views like half back view are the exception.

Where the face is the focus, the front view always counts.

What does image effectiveness have to do with looking good?

Looking good means nothing more than looking good in a picture. That is why it is also calledimage effectiveness. The same is meant by those who speak of photogenicity. To look good, or to be (not) photogenic, the professional observes the following basic rules, tips and tricks:

APhotogenicity = Presence

People or animals, basically all living objects, always look better and are easier to image than inanimate subjects. Anyone who has ever witnessed so-called pack shots (product shots) in a commercial knows a thing or two about what is photogenic.

Films and photographs, more than any other medium – apart from photography perhaps – can bring static objects to life and visually enhance dead objects to make them look good.

BPhotogenic= Originality

Exclusive, rare content and unseen imagery always have a greater impact thanks to new information than content that the viewer perceives as already familiar. This applies to real images as well as to footage from the archive. You can score points with originality and look good even if you’re not a supermodel.

CPhotogenicity = Dynamics

Movement in the image creates dynamics, which always works better than static. Looking good means movement, because this, symbolizing liveliness and life, is psychologically positively linked to human perception.

The viewer of an image “clicks” faster when a photo or video shot looks dynamic and photogenic. Again, what was said before for originality applies here.

DPhotogenicity = Image composition

Images with a clearly recognizable foreground, middle ground and background are always better than those without image planes and without image composition. But it is not only the conscious use of the design of the image depth that decides what (not) looks photogenic.

Rules for ensuring a photogenic image composition:
  1. Whether living or dead objects,
  2. exclusive recording or copy,
  3. CEO video, interview or testimonial,
  4. static or dynamic motifs
  5. with or without foreground, background and middle ground

The image composition always follows the photogenicity and the good look. Being photogenic also means conforming to viewing habits and the psychology of perception. They are supported by the right lighting. For interviews or video statements, this usually follows the principle of 3-point lighting.

Looking good in front of the camera: 5 points that make photogenic

There are five tried and tested rules for the formal effect of the picture, i.e. looking good. The question is always what looks good to the viewer. And what’s not photogenic.

1Simplicity increases your photogenicity

Simplicity, clarity and order are the basic requirements for photogenic images for human eyes. The moving image can be particularly brilliant in this respect due to its sequential narrative style. Through the composition of the image and the editing, the image motifs can be broken down not only in terms of content, but also in terms of visual effectiveness.

2 Image contrast makes you look good

Contrasts have their place not only in dramaturgy, but also in the work of the cameramen and photographers in looking good. When distinguishing between light and dark, image contrast helps objects appear vivid and look good. The more spatial an object appears, the more real and alive it seems. This is as long as the contrast does not exceed a certain maximum and does not contradict our usual visual experience.

3 Size and shape direct the eye in photogenicity

Close-ups, another specialty of storytelling with video, are more effective for looking good and photogenic than wide shots (long shots). One of the reasons for the effectiveness of close-ups is that smaller sections of the picture have fewer but clearer forms, which thus appear larger at the same time.

4Differences in sharpness cause photogenicity

The use of focus range, and thus the sharpening of details in the midst of an out-of-focus image environment, helps our eyes and brains to focus effectively. That’s what we call looking good. This visual aid in the form of focusing on actionable content is perceived by our brain as attractive. We then say that photos or moving images look good.

5 Repetition in the formal structure is attractive

The repetition of individual photogenic formal pictorial elements within the shot reinforces the uniformity of the image. Repetition in visual design makes image compositions and shots appear complete.

To sum up: Looking good and photogenicity

If you want to look good, you know the tips and tricks on how to formally create a positive image effect.

You need to know

  • Photogenicity is no accident. Looking good in front of a camera depends on a number of well-known factors. A professional photographer or filmmaker sees these things because that’s what they’ve learned and been trained to do.
  • Who looks good from a camera is not only dependent on one’s own appearance. There are people who look fabulous when viewed with the human eye – but can’t make any impact at all through the lens. They’re not photogenic.
  • To look good in front of a lens, the following points must be considered: Vividness, movement, contrasts, simplicity, shape, proportions and levels of sharpness.

What is photogenic and how photogenicity can be promoted is not just a matter of chance. Especially with CEO videos, this insight is important. Whoever is in front of the camera lens can be well – or poorly – recorded. Talent is not just in the eye of the beholder. But also in that of the director and the cameramen.

However, even the best camera person cannot influence what kind of face or body is present. As with spelling, “beauty,” whatever that is, has no commitment to fairness. But, as we have seen before, looking good is not necessarily dependent on that either.

Photogenicity: What’s in store for the future?

Anyone who would now like to know what image effectiveness and photogenicity mean for themselves can test their own visual attractiveness of their face online immediately and free of charge: employees of ETH Zurich have developed an algorithm for this purpose. But watch out! Appearance and being (not) photogenic is evaluated by a neural network based on … – photos. These can be digitally manipulated.

This article was automatically translated into English using AI. If you would like to help us improve the quality, we would be happy to hear from you.

Carlo P. Olsson
About Carlo P. Olsson 138 Articles
Carlo P. Olsson begleitet die Herstellung von Filmen, Videos und TV-Serien im Auftrag von Unternehmen, Agenturen und Produktionsfirmen. In seiner Freizeit spielt er Eishockey und beschäftigt sich mit barocker Klangdramatik.

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