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Women: How to look your best in holiday photos

3 young women in paper crowns, holding out wine or beer as gifts.

Looking good, acting zany. (Photo: Flickr/Monica D)

Women: How to look your best in holiday photos

By Dr. Jennifer Hanes on December 17, 2012

It is the time of year when cameras become ever-present, and your anxiety increases at the dread of seeing more pictures of yourself. No worries, because as a woman (and doctor) who has been obese, I understand the pain of seeing less than ideal photos. I have studied the science of what makes women beautiful.

With just a few easy tips, I can help you look fabulous in your photos.

Pull your shoulders down. All throughout your day, not just in photos, pull your shoulders down. Imagine you are trying to twist your shoulder blades so they touch in the middle of your back. This lengthens the appearance of your neck and gives you a thinner appearance.

Arch your back. Really arch your back and stick that booty out, no matter the size. To begin with, this "c"-shaped curve in your lower back is a primitive sign of fertility, thus increases your beauty in everyday life. For photos, arching your back helps minimize the appearance of your tummy and even makes your thighs appear thinner. Before hopping into your next shower, try this exercise in front of the mirror, noticing when you arch your back the difference in your appearance in the front.

Rethink the high heels. It is true heels make your legs appear longer, but this is most beneficial for photos or when alone. The added height can often simply add to your overall size. Thus, if you consider yourself overweight, heels may simply add to the perceived size of your body rather than give you a slimmer appearance.

Wear necklaces above your decollete. I recommend avoiding those long chain necklaces. They inevitably end up ensnared around one of your breasts. It looks tacky and at parties can be saved in pictures forever. Instead opt for a sparkling, shorter necklace that makes you feel beautiful.

Whiten your teeth. The holiday season is a great time to whiten your teeth, be it over-the-counter or a Expert treatment. White teeth give you a younger and refreshed appearance and help draw attention to your lovely face and away from those features you find less than ideal.

Be front and center. Nothing screams "I hate my body" more than dodging photographs, trying to cover yourself with children in your arms, or hiding in the back row. I know this not simply from observation but also from experience. It has been difficult for me to find "before" pictures to highlight my weight loss because when we dislike our bodies, we unknowingly broadcast our insecurity to the world.

Smile and enjoy! Of course a smile on your face is gorgeous; however, the most radiant smile comes from your heart. Know that you are a divine woman who the camera loves and who loves to snap some photos with friends. This confidence and joy is the factor that elevates every woman to simply magnificent.

So this year, instead of saying cheese, "Say beauty."

This article is reprinted, with permission, from DrHanes.com.