Photo face

This being party season it’s time to limber up those facial expressions for the inevitable flash of a digital camera frenzy. Oh, how bored I am of watching groups of people put on their instant ‘camera face’ with no variety or imagination. To be fair, I guess it’s not something most people think about. But on the other hand, why spend hours agonising over what to wear and painstakingly applying Pat McGrath-standard concealer, highlighter, blusher, mascara, eyeliner, lip balm, lip gloss, ad infinitum, if you’re just going to wheel out your one and only gormless grin in every picture? No, this should be the season when you put some pizzazz into your pose.

My standard party-photo face is big on high camp hamminess – hand on waist, hip thrust out, eyebrows raised and mouth wide open in a big old comedy faux grin. Think Bonnie Langford in her stage school publicity photo and you’re pretty close. Of course, it gets a bit tricky holding this supposedly spontaneous pose for upwards of ten seconds while the photo-taker wrestles with the flash button, but the results are worth it. However, this life-and-soul-of-the-party pose only works if you know the photographer very well, or you’re in a group of close friends. If in a less gregarious setting, I propose the shy-but-friendly option consisting of hands in pockets, weight on one foot, head to one side and a half smile – no teeth. This says ‘I’m nice’ without being over-theatrical and you don’t feel too much of a twit if the picture needs to be reshot.

A good idea for a group photo when the group consists of a number of random characters is the jump-in-the-air pose. How can you not look like you’re having a ball when you’re a foot off the ground with your arms above your head thumbs-aloft? Caution: while this works well if you’re wearing a dress, it’s not great for loose untucked tops combined with paunchy midriffs. If attempting this one, make sure stomachs are sucked in. (I suck my tummy in for all photos but only recently realised that’s just me.)

It’s always worth aiming for one really nice smiley photo of yourself but it’s a hard one to get right. The best solution is to have a photo taken with your best friend. Hug each other tightly and laugh spontaneously at the same time. You’ll need someone who knows you both pretty well to get this one right. If it works, the result is a good candidate for the death photo. What do you mean ‘what’s a death photo?’ A death photo is that one picture of you where you look happy, gorgeous and healthy. It’s the photo you nominate for if you ever go missing and the local paper needs to put a picture of you on its front page. It’s the one where all your ex-boyfriends feel guilty and think, ‘aaaah, wasn’t she lovely’. Doesn’t everyone have a death photo? Or is that just me as well?