So here it is, the results of our Hello Gorgeous! sessions with photographer Karen Cooley at 3000BC WellMed Spa. No Photoshop. No filters. This is me, at 49.
Only one thing was done to the pic -- my (oops!) unexpectedly see-through top was darkened. Other than that, we relied on subtle makeup, natural lighting and the magic of a client and photographer relaxing and having fun working together.
Read on to get Karen's top 5 Tips for looking YOUR best in photos, plus some special INSIDER offers
To find out more about how we got this look, check out this Makeup Tutorial by Naomi Weiss of 3000BC WellMed Spa using Becca cosmetics. Go even deeper with this feature on the spa's Dermaplaning skin prep service.
Karen Cooley's Top 5 Tips for Looking Your Best in Photos:
1. WORK THE Angle
Don't stand straight on to the camera--it makes us look wider. Instead, angle your body, keeping one shoulder towards the camera and one shoulder away. This little trick helps to slim a woman in the photograph.
2. Do the Turtle
To help disguise any neck issues, this awkward feeling tip is the best. Stick your chin straight out as much as you can (not up or down, seriously, straight out!), then ever so slightly drop it down. If it feels ridiculous, you're doing it right. No unnecessary double chin now, thank you very much!
3. Arms Away
Be sure not to have your arms hanging straight by your sides. Just like standing straight on to the camera, this will also make you look wider. Think about it: you're adding a good extra several inches to each side when there is no gap. Instead, put a hand on your hip or, if no room, place your hand on your thigh and slowly pull up so that a gap appears between arm & body. [You can see this illustrated in the photo strip above--photo 1 vs. photo 4]
4. BALLERINA Hands
Hands. Who ever thinks about them when they're having their photo taken? Don't have claw hands! Relax them. Think of a ballerina and how soft her hands appear. Tense hands are easily spotted and can wreck an otherwise lovely image.
5. Smile & Be YOurself
Last, but never least: smile. It goes a long way to lighting up a photograph. Don't overthink it. Just be YOU and bare your best smile for the camera. When you do, your eyes will follow and smile, too. Remember, a photograph is documenting who you ARE and you don't want to look back and see an expression that's not true to you; you'll end up hating the photo no matter how good the rest of it is. (Ladies, can we say "duck lips"? *shudder*)
Meet The Expert: Photographer Karen Cooley
Karen Cooley specializes in Portrait Couture photo sessions with a relaxed, journalistic approach that aims to bring out your own natural beauty. I loved working with Karen--she's fast but never rushed, easy-going and caring. She makes you feel safe in front of the lens, a quality that I feel is key to getting a great image.
A Special INSIDER
Book a luxurious Portrait Couture beauty session with Karen, complete with hair and makeup artistry, and receive a metal desk art piece as her gift. The 8x12" metal photograph is printed on aluminum with a high gloss finish, a $175 value.
"It's a gorgeous conversation piece with an artistic edge and contemporary elegance," says Karen.
DETAILS: Client will receive the print with their order. Portrait Couture sessions are $650 and include a 3 hour session, hair and makeup styling, and a $500 print credit. Offer valid through November 7, 2016. Specifically, session must be booked within that time and held within 4 months of booking.
Get In Touch With Karen
Get The Look
My thanks to Karen, our first volunteer Jen, and the great team at 3000BC WellMed Spa -- Jennifer, LeighAnn and Naomi -- for helping me take Hello Gorgeous! from an idea percolating for years in my head to beautifully realized results.
Photos of Doreen Creede/Style Maniac by Karen Cooley
Becca Cosmetics Makeup application by 3000BC makeup artist Naomi Weiss
Hair, wardrobe and styling by Doreen
Jewelry courtesy REALM Fine + Fashion Jewelry. (Enjoy another INSIDER perk: get$50 off your first order from this line with Doreen's Brand Ambassador code newempress50dc )
Shot on location at 3000BC WellMed Spa
"Use the good china for breakfast."