How to take the perfect picture (even without Steve Carell)

How to take great pictures -- even without Steve Carell.

How to take great pictures — even without Steve Carell.

As the editor of Vegas magazine, I organize photo shoots and pick pictures for publication all day long. Another part of my job includes representing the magazine at the very best of Las Vegas events that in turn require having my photo taken, something I have loathed my entire life. But since I now have to run 3-4 of those pictures in every issue (oh, and I have a blog!), I have learned how to take good pictures or at least do the best I can. More and more lately, I’ve been asked for tips, so these skills must be improving… I promise you, it’s not about looking like a model or having the most expensive clothes, as evidenced in the following photos. In fact, there are several easy tips that make all the difference in the world.

I have two favorite tricks, one of which I utilized [ABOVE] with Steve Carell, my current cover model and the star of the hilarious upcoming Vegas-based film, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone. In a nutshell, I always slide in behind who-ever I am taking a photo with, to block half my body. [BELOW] is another example, this time with Coco Austin, star of Ice Loves Coco on E! and the live show Peepshow on the Strip. Because I immediately jumped behind her for the shot, her famous, uh, assets blocked half my body making me look 10 lbs thinner!

Coco Austin Abby Tegnelia



My second favorite signature move? ANYone who has ever taken a picture with me, repeat after me. “Higher! Higher!” I always have people take pictures of me from above, even if I have to run behind them, hold the camera up high where I’d like the photo to be taken from, and then run back into my place. Worth the effort! Doing this pretty much guarantees that no double chin will be photographed, and everything in the photo will look smaller.

Leora Hasas Abby Tegnelia

The famous “skinny arm pose” used by women all over the world!



My final tip is to always, always place yourself in the background. Now, this is not the same thing as actually using someone else to block you. Instead, I mean literally make sure you are not the closest person to the camera. In the picture below, with Vegas food writer John Curtis, after the waiter, close to me, told me that because of a window, that was the only angle he could take the picture from, I immediately panicked: I was in the front! But John, being an old-fashioned, red-blooded male, could not have cared less about where he was in the photo. So we swapped seats (sitting in front of each other’s meals), and snap!, we had a great photo.

 How to take good pictures

One last example, using the good-natured NVR Guys, during a recent visit. I was horrified when they asked for a photo, since it was a weekend afternoon, and I had on not a drop of makeup. But, by placing myself in the background and having the waiter stand on a chair (the guys behind us clearly enjoyed the show!), we came up with a picture that even picky me was fine with.

NVR Guys

Happy picture-taking! Especially that I am now armed with a new Sony NEX-5RK, you just might catch me posing all over town…

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I'm a life-long travel junkie journalist who works hard to find adventure in everyday life after two years of travel and expat living.

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  1. I don’t usually go into the background on purpose, but since I’m taller, I use that as an excuse not to be front and center. 🙂

  2. Until I lose ten pounds, I jump in the back lol.

  3. Funny, and helpful tips! Those ‘arm’ pose… 🙂

  4. Skinny arm pose forever lol

  5. I love you for this post!!! In all honesty Abby, no matter what angle you would look like a million dollars.

  6. Some cool tricks I had not heard about!

  7. Hahaha, I love that you have waiters standing on chairs. Good tips though…I definitely have a good side and really try to stick to it since photos look so much better when the camera’s aimed at the left side of my face!

  8. I’ve never before considered all these angles but you’re spot on!
    Btw, so pretty – no “need” for makeup.

  9. I remember the “higher, higher!” demands when we were photographed together 🙂 I definitely go for the skinny arm, need to be better about being in the background and asking people to hold the camera up 🙂 Love this post!

  10. Great tips! Thanks. You couldn’t take a bad picture if you tried though. I’d much rather be behind the lens.

  11. I need them all! Taking pictures..I got it! But being in front of the camera, always my downfall. Great tips Abby.

  12. You know how much this topic cracks us up! You are the master.

    All I can see in that picture is the food. Damn that was good. Clearly… look at the empty plates.

  13. I was going to crop in more, but the guys laughing in the background and the ridiculous amount of empty plates made me crack up too much!

  14. Nice! Fun article 🙂 and truly helpful! I always “slide in behind who-ever I am taking a photo with, to block half my body” 🙂

  15. I love this! I despise being in front of a camera but these tips might just make it okay for me. Love the skinny arm pose. Definitely doing that from now on. 🙂

  16. Hi! Thanks a lot for sharing valuable tips! I didn’t know anything about them before reading your post! By the way, in the last photo of your post you seemed to me so nice. I’m aware how much the make up is important today but, when it’s possible I like a lot women who don’t use it.


  17. Loved this! Great tips Abby! No more unfortunate photos for me!

  18. Great tips. I can’t believe not everybody knows about the high camera angle. I was at the spa with some friends the other day and the girl who took our photo instantly put the camera up high and we didn’t even have to ask for it! 🙂 I never thought about not being the closest person to the camera, but it totally makes sense.

  19. I’m so glad this was useful to people!

    I know — more and more women immediately do it, but most men have to be taught lol

  20. I can’t get the “skinny arm post” right. And you make it look so effortless!

  21. Lol only because I do it so often I wouldn’t know what else to do!

  22. Once I was taking a photo with Ayngelina in Mexico and the male (of course) photographer tried to take it from a crouching angle. We both screamed ‘NOOO!” at the same time haha. In the end he took it from up high, and both of our arms were posed properly 🙂

  23. That was very interesting to read. It does seem you have the same pose in almost every photo. However, I don’t see any reason why you need to hide behind anyone 🙂

  24. Love these tips! I use the “higher, higher!!” one all the time, but will start incorporating the others, too! Thanks!:-)

  25. I love the length you go to to get good shots! I’m usually too shy to ask someone to switch seats or stand on a chair, but it’d probably be worth it to not have that dreaded double chin!

  26. LOL it is usually more like, “higher please — no higher!” And they go, do you want me to just stand on a chair? “Yes, please!” I am also shy about photos, but when you really need one taken…

  27. Just reminds me of TBEX when we took a picture of me taking a picture of you from super high.

  28. Totally! I started to look for it but realized I had delayed the post long enough and needed to just publish. I LOVE those photos!!

  29. Haha, that skinny arm trick works ALL THE TIME. I always try to elongate my torso as much as possible too, works wonders!

  30. Natural beauty is a major yes yes and it looks like you’ve got it without all the makeup. 🙂

  31. This is so funny 🙂 You would think I’d know all these tips but being an entertainer for years I always want to be in front LOL – issues.

    I’ll try the chair one for sure 🙂 You always look great though and I LOVE that pink dress so pretty.

  32. Your posing abilities are already in my mind, legendary and I love hearing about how you boss everyone around in the name of a hot shot… too funny.

  33. You are still taking great pictures.

  34. I totally remember you at TBEX Colorado doing the “higher, higher” thing!

  35. Yup! Haha. We’re not all small like you!

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