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Let's talk about necks, baby! | Toronto family photographer

Photo of woman, smiling, outdoors in autumn

If I had a dime for every time somebody told me they hate getting double chins in photos, you could hear me jingling a mile away.

Why do necklines plague us so? You get a photo taken and instead of your normal neckline, you get back something with extra chins or extra folds of skin. You don't have to be vain to hate it -- you're in very good company. It's the very reason I always go over posing and positioning of the neck area when I do my pre-session consultations. It's a small detail with big payback.

I'm going to start by saying this isn't a tip that applies only to those of us who have fuller faces and curvy bodies. I've seen skin folds on people who are very fit -- marathon-running fit. The simple fact is that as we age, our skin gets looser and it really doesn't care how many times we reached our step goals that week. And when we are doing family photography and have others squished in close, the tendency can be to pull our chins in and invite folds where we'd rather they were not. But with a simple tweak in how we position our heads, we can improve how our neck/chin/jawlines look when photographed.

A raised chin doesn't look good in photos
Avoid chin-ups
Bring the chin down slightly to define the jawline
Bring the chin down slightly to define the jawline

A mistake that many people make is to lift their chins up to "stretch" the neckline so that skin doesn't fold behind and below the chin; but looking upward actually reveals more of the neck and diminishes the line that your chin and jaw together form. It's this chin-jaw line that we want to hone in your photos. The trick to doing this lies in two motions: forward and down.

Think about pushing your forehead forward, toward the camera. This elongates your neck and makes the skin more taut against your neckline. From there, bring your chin down slightly so that your chin and jawline are clearly defined against your neck. (If you want to see this in action, check out the video below by headshot master, Peter Hurley.) This motion elongates the shape of your face. A final thing to remember is to avoid pulling your head and chin back when you are close to others, including when you have little ones in your arms. Bring that forehead right out to meet them -- it makes for a really playful moment and a better neckline all at once. Win-win!

If you have any posing woes or worries, don't be shy about discussing them with me when we meet before your session. It's your memories we are capturing, and you deserve to look your best in them!


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