Thursday, August 8, 2013

How To Look Your Best In Photos (from someone who usually doesn't)

This is probably my author photo. I was told if giving diet advice I have to look approachable, do I?

I’m fine in front of the camera if I’m being interviewed (and thus talking) or if I’m with my kids, as they relax me, but when it’s just me standing there trying to look natural? Eek. I recently took photos for my book The Little Book of Thin (due out in January, just saying). The photographer, Douglas Gorenstein, is someone I have worked with a few times but photo shoots are still not my cup of tea. I know some people have their signature pose or never take a bad picture but I’m not one of those people. I have no idea what my good angles are, do you? If you’re jetting off on a summer trip or if lousy photos upset you... have no fear, Doug is here.

As a professional headshot photographer my job is to take amazing images of my clients that show them looking like themself on a really great day. Whether it’s for corporate websites, acting or personal use, achieving this  “great day” look entails using exceptional lighting, a brilliant make up artist, photographing from flattering angles and making each person feel relaxed in order to bring out their true personality.  But what do you do to look your best when just having random photos taken with mediocre lighting, hastily applied make up (if any) or when it’s not necessarily a great day? Here are a few tips that will help you take control and look even better in those impromptu photo moments:

Avoid double chins with the turtle
One great trick is to push your nose and chin forward towards the camera. It might feel exaggerated or turtle-like but for most people it helps contour jaw lines and is flattering on camera. The tendency is to pull your chin up and back when smiling in photos which results in double (or triple) chins. So take some practice shots, nose forward and you’ll see a big difference.

Beneath me
If you get squinty when smiling, try popping your eyes open a bit more. Easy there, not so much that you look bug eyed but just enough to show off your eyes. Also if you can get the person photographing you to be slightly above your head shooting from downward angle that will also help to open eyes. Having the photographer shooting downward is also slimming (bonus). If you’re a blinker, ask for a 1, 2, 3 count so that you can have your eyes open at the right moment.

Boxy Isn’t Best
When you see woman on the red carpet they are never standing with their bodies straight on to the camera as that tends to look boxy. They are always on a bit of an angle with one foot forward for a more flattering look. Your back arm can be on your hip and also looks good at the side. Red carpet or not leave boxy to football players and put your best foot forward for a more flattering photo.

Time to Make-up
If you’ve never had a lesson on how to do your own make-up it might be beneficial to learn some tricks from a pro. I’m talking a real make-up artist not the salesperson at the department store counter. Knowing how to do your make-up properly will make you feel and look even more beautiful.

No faking it
When smiling in photos if you think of something that makes you feel happy it can help bring out a natural smile. If you aren’t smiling try to covey a real thought or message into the camera. You’ll avoid the forced smile or deer in the headlights look and instead will see a real authentic moment captured.

Let’s face it
Make sure to take great care of your skin everyday. Lauren can help you here but eat healthy, drink plenty of water and avoid lots of alcohol and smoking. If you get a facial, hair color or hair cut prior to taking photos it’s best to schedule these services 1-2 weeks prior.

I liked this one, others didn't like it as much. And trust me there were may blinks, funny faces and double chins.
Feel free to contact Doug at  212-967-2810 or with any additional questions. You can also check out his website. He makes the whole process fun, there were actually some shots my eyes were tearing from laughing so hard. 

Do you like having your picture taken? Have you ever done headshots? What are the tricks that help you look better or relax?

I will see you in September. I am on vacation next week (hopefully will take some nice photos/thanks to Doug). After Labor Day I’ll be back with regular posts. If there’s a topic you want covered please let me know. And congratulations to our Sinless mix winner Lauren Luhrs, enjoy your winnings.

Douglas Gorenstein is New York photographer specializing in headshots and portraits for actors, authors, celebrities and business professionals. He serves as the photographer for Celebrity Apprentice and was voted “Favorite Headshot Photographer in New York” by the readers of Back Stage.

Monday, August 5, 2013

You Have to Try This Ice Cream

Fortunately for me, when it comes to ice cream I thought I had left my heart in San Francisco. I can still salivate thinking about the salted caramel at Bi-Rite Creamery. I have had previous flings with Steve’s (dairy free mint cacao chip) and Victory Garden which are both delicious local options. However, this summer, with the exception of a La Newyorkina stop with the boys at the farmer’s market, I had gone ice cream less until recently (terrible).

You may have read our Cool Treats newsletter. We try to suggest both local and widely available options but we held back on you. We had a tasting scheduled with a highly recommended local company that didn’t happen in time. Enter Alchemy Creamery. Aside from a great name, the founder or  “Alcreamist” is lactose intolerant and makes dairy free, gluten free, vegan ice cream.

Their "potions" as they call them are made with a hazelnut/coconut milk base.
They also use teas in many of their flavors. “Chief "Alcreamist" Giuseppe started experimenting with tea because it gives a huge burst of right-from-the-earth-goodness to our creations. That being said, we also wanted to create a product that is actually good for you and we love the health and wellness benefits from all the teas we use.”

We tasted these flavors:
Luna's Kiss - Green Tea and Coconut
Jealousy - Strawberry
Fixation - Chocolate Chai
Heart of Mars - Red Tea and Lime

What does it say that Carolyn’s favorite was Fixation and mine was Heart of Mars? We haven’t tried the Magic Wand may be my end of summer goal.

For a list of stores carrying Alchemy Creamery, check out their website and if you’re not in NYC there are some fantastic options on our Cool Treat list including a DIY recipe.
Are you an ice cream person? Do you make your own? Do you look for dairy free or gluten free options? Have you tried Alchemy? What’s your dream ice cream flavor if you were the “alcreamist” for the day?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

When it comes to vices, is smoking a little ok?

I’ve established that I’m not a Gwyneth hater; I know some of you are and you’ll have more ammunition as this post continues. I like G’s recipes, I like Goop and I didn’t think I had that much more to say about Ms. Paltrow but I was wrong.Yesterday, The Today Show asked Carolyn for her professional opinion on an article Gwyneth wrote for the Telegraph. In this article Gwyneth admits to 1 cigarette a week.
I often have a glass of red wine in the evening and smoke a cigarette on a Saturday. I love those moments because they are just the right amount of naughty. That balance keeps you vibrant. You have to live your life, after all.

Whether it chocolate or French fries or margaritas or pizza treats happen for all of us.. Ideally, for my clients, these treats are planned and contained. Gwyneth isn’t advocating chain smoking or binge drinking but she did just put out a book that included a detox regime? Can you advocate making everything from scratch, juicing and ditching gluten while having an occasional cigarette? Can the same person who pushes detox also endorse “tox”? You lost me at cigarettes and vibrancy.

What bothers me most is that Gwyneth wasn’t embarrassed about her smoking but made a case for it. I used to be silly or more than silly about the sun and some clients were surprised to hear that. Others were pleased that I admitted it, have since changed my habits, and suggested ways to stay safe from sun and the cancer it can give us. Now what if I had said "I think baking in the sun once a week is fine go for it." Gwyneth pulled the old “I don’t like to deny myself anything” and “it’s the right about of naughty”. Is this someone who lost her father to cancer? One sweet a week is one thing, a drink here or there (can actually be healthy) but smoking as part of a balanced life? Nope, call me a party pooper but it’s not naughty it’s nasty.

I don’t believe in promoting the unhealthy while encouraging others to be healthy. I didn’t like it with Michelle Obama and I don’t here with Gwyneth either. And relax, it’s not about being perfect it’s about being consistent. We don't have to go out of our way to publicly do or endorse unhealthy things to appear "normal", not too rigid or sadly maybe cool.

I will have you know some admired the smoky Gwyneth, I read an article that found the smoking “endearing”.  And see I found using food to make herself and her family healthy far more endearing. It makes me wonder if Gwyneth’s regime, for her, is really about health or just about as she said having “a 20 year old stripper’s butt”.
Do you think smoking a little each week is the same things as drinking or eating treat food or, is it worse? Would you buy Gwyneth’s clean eating books if, in the intro let’s say, she mentioned her naughty cigarette? Are there some things we should deny ourselves of?
 Join me in Sun Valley Septemer 19th-22nd for the Harvest Festival
I’ll be speaking on a great panel on food trends but it’ll be a weekend full of food, tastings and talks in a beautiful location.
The official blurb:
The weekend offers attendees an opportunity to learn culinary secrets from the country’s top chefs, taste agricultural wonders from Idaho and the Northwest and learn from nationally-recognized food and health experts. Adventurous foodies will have the opportunity to enjoy hiking, biking, and all that the beautiful fall weather offers.
 I’m really looking forward to it, tweet us if you’re planning to be there, it’s known as “foodie heaven”
And trust me, smoking will not be a trend this year or any year.