It should be simple. But posing for a photo—whether you’re walking the red carpet or out for a birthday dinner with friends—offers myriad opportunitites to screw up: you accidentally flash a little too much tooth, a double chin inexplicably emerges, your 42R frame suddenly shrinks to a 34S. How could this happen? Simple: You don’t really know what you’re doing. Follow the advice of famed photographer Patrick McMullan and you’ll never have to untag a Facebook photo again (well, at least for the way you look—untagging due to what you’re doing in the photo is another issue entirely.)

(Spotted at Park & Bond)

Stand up straight—but not too straight.
“Rest your weight on your back foot so you feel solidly planted on the ground and pull your shoulders back, but comfortably back—just enough that you’re not slouching. Then lean your head a little bit forward and tilt your chin down slightly.” Good posture is universally flattering, and this particular stance plays very well on camera.

Keep those eyes open.
Despite that inner voice telling you “don’t blink! don’t blink! don’t blink!,” McMullan says this is the single biggest issue he encounters with the people he shoots: “I tell them to look right into my eyes. Focusing on the head of the photographer will help you keep from accidentally blinking.”

Skip the tough-guy scowl.
“This is not a serious thing. Think of something light, and smile.”

Watch that jaw.

“Don’t lean back, and don’t try to pull your head up high for the shot. It makes your head look smaller, and it gives you a double chin.”

Don’t preen.
There’s no need to belabor the process. “A good photographer will quickly take the picture. Just stand, look, smile, and you’re done.”

Plus: A few bonus tips…
– “Be sure you’re properly dressed. It’ll make you feel confident, and nothing beats confidence.”

– “Don’t lose the sunglasses if you’re outside. It looks cool. But do get rid of that cap—it’ll put a shadow on your face.”

– “Having an attractive person on your arm never hurts. Plus, it cuts the focus on you a bit.”