Living in our digital age, when most people are present on some social media platform, it is pretty frustrating when you are unable to capture the perfect photo to post of your vacation or business event or just to remember special moments.
This is a frustration that Olga Kharitonova understands well. But she is not a photographer. Olga is the founder of the ‘Academy of Photogenicity and Personal Branding’ and a photogenicity trainer.
It was through my Instagram account – @salifamagnanphotography – that Olga and I met for the first time. Interested to learn more about photogenicity, I met with Olga, who was on vacation in Seychelles, in person over a cup of coffee
What is photogenicity? Simply put, it is the state of being photogenic, Olga explained to me.
“To be able to pose like a professional model, you firstly need to realize that the bad photo isn’t a result of how you look on the outside. It’s about the skills of posing and your psychological condition. When you doubt yourself during a photo session it gets stressful, and it is that inner dialogue that affects your body,” Olga said.
She caught my attention there. Surely many people have felt this way in front of a camera. I did not miss a beat to ask her for some tips because I felt that the cap fits me well – I love being behind the camera taking photos but simply hate being in front of it as the subject.”Instead of enjoying yourself during the photoshoot, you think about how you look or if something is wrong with your body. As a result, in the photos you see your tension instead of natural beauty,” she continued.
The most common question to me is how to remove tension from the jaw. (Salifa Karapetyan, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY
“I’m happy to share three basic posing rules with you and if you follow them, you will improve your photos. The most common question to me is how to remove tension from the jaw. It is as simple as opening your mouth slightly. At the same time, exhale or mentally remove tension from your jaw to your eyes. This will make your gaze more powerful,” she outlined.
“Secondly, don’t strike a pose. The best way is to move in front of the lens, by shifting your weight from one leg to the other. The third tip has to do with the awkward question, ‘what to do with my hands?’ You can straighten your hair or tuck it behind your ears, or you can play with your earrings or pendant,” she advised.
Wanting to learn more about how she came up with the idea to help others ‘become photogenic’ when in front of the camera, Olga shared that this was a personal solution that became something bigger.
Olga explained that she previously owned a digital agency and did a lot of public speaking. As such, she needed a lot of photos and in every one of them, she shared that she looked like a person who doesn’t believe in herself.
The best way is to move in front of the lens, by shifting your weight from one leg to the other. (Salifa Karapetyan, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY
“I definitely didn’t see a beautiful woman and as such did not like my photos. That is when I approached a friend who is a professional model and asked her to please show me a few poses. She told me that this is impossible and started explaining the technicalities of posing. It is then, that I understood that posing is not just about the pose – you have to believe in yourself, enjoy yourself, and understand how to move. I started to do researches about these points and I found that a lot of psychology surrounding this. Using her technical points, I combined it with my psychological knowledge and got this methodology – photogenicity,” she explained.
Fast forward to today, Olga has seen more than 200 women graduate from her academy over the past five years of doing offline and online courses called ‘Reveal Yourself’.
Talking about the progress she had made so far for her academy, Olga shared that at the moment she is really interested in personal branding as this is an important aspect for business owners.
“Implementing photogenicity is a step for the creation of a personal brand. I really enjoy it because a lot of entrepreneurs really do not care about how they look until they understand that they should promote themselves. When this happens, they start looking at what can be done to achieve this. Poses for a business person are a little different from ordinary poses. I like to show them how to position themselves ahead of the crowd and to be unique. This is the most important for brand creation,” she said.
For anyone who would like to dig deeper into the science, or get help from Olga can do so via her LinkedIn profile or by sending her a message on Instagram.