Whatever we might tell others, the vast majority of us care what people think of us. Caring about our reputations is a very natural and human thing to do. So we want to look our best. Both in real-life and in photos. If we look good, we can impress others, and reap those sweet, sweet social rewards!
However, looking good in front of a camera is an art form in itself. Some of us have an instinct for how best to pose; some of us don’t. Fortunately, Chicago-based photography major Bonnie Rodríguez Krzywicki is here to swoop in like a flash and save the day—or rather the snap!
Bonnie has been passionate about photography ever since she was 14. That was when she did her very first photography course. “Since then, I knew it was my passion. Especially portraits because I loved working with people,” she said.
“I did my bachelor’s in journalism, and then I move to NYC for my Master on fine arts in photography. I worked in LA and Miami for a couple of years, where I had the opportunity to work with celebrities like Camila Cabello, Donnel Rawlings, among others. I also worked as a freelance photographer with companies like Atlantic Records, Miss USA, and Univision,” the photographer shared. “Now I work in Chicago with fewer exclusive photography clients because my career expanded. I create my own digital products, have online workshops, and partnerships with companies as an influencer, which I absolutely love.”
It’s the community that surrounds Bonnie, her adoring fans, whom she calls ‘Shutterbugs,’ that keeps driving her passion and creativity forward. “My heart beats faster every time somebody sends me a message or leaves me a comment, saying they felt helpless and hated photography, and now they feel empowered, happy, and confident. Their success is what keeps me going,” she shared.
Waist transformation in 1 move. Elongate.
“While working as a photographer, a common comment among new clients will be, ‘I’m not an expert; I don’t know what to do.’ This situation wouldn’t happen with people in the entertainment industry, but with people who didn’t have experience in front of the camera. I understood their fear completely. I was timid, and it took me years of university, working with models, and practice to finally discover what made me feel fearless while taking my own photos,” Bonnie told Nasty Bear about the roots of her Dos and Don’ts in an interview.
“Confidence comes from knowledge. I can talk all you want me to about lighting, planing a fashion editorial, editing. But if you ask me about quantum physics, I will probably start sweating and look nervous because I have no clue what to say. Same with poses. If you know what to do initially, you will flow, but if you have no clue what to do, the stress will take over, and the photo won’t be successful. So I decided that before any photoshoot, I will share a pdf with some tips. This change was a big success, and my clients will arrive with positive energy. At that moment, I started sharing some of this info on social media, and that became my signature.”
We needed a swimsuit that shows our beauty and makes us feel powerful. With that in mind we designed a piece with large graphics to stylize and highlight.
For Bonnie, creativity is something that you have to consistently work towards every day. “The action gets me inspired. So every morning, I take one hour to write down my video ideas. Some of them are very successful, and others never become a reality. I take great inspiration from the comment section on my social media. I’m always asking my community, what makes them feel uncomfortable, so I have a better view of how I can serve them,” she said.
However, just like all of us, Bonnie does hit a creative wall sometimes. “Hey, I’m human, and sometimes I don’t feel inspired. In that case, I take a day off from anything linked to photography, and I dig into an entirely different subject. It can be cooking, mystery stories, really anything I stumble. I usually will end up hearing or reading a random fact that strikes my creativity again. Probably next time, I should dig into quantum physics.”
2021 looks like it’s going to be a great year for the photographer and she told us that she’s very excited. In fact, she’s writing her first book with a publisher on the art of being photogenic. “I’m writing my first book with a publisher on the art of being photogenic. My idea is to take my readers on a photo journey. They can discover their angle, their side, how camera distortion affects them and how to use it to their advantage. Also touching on other important facts that make you photogenic, like fashion, lighting, makeup, and location. Everything a man or woman needs to consider.”
She continued: “Every step of the way will be a building block to create their unique, personalize photo experience. Not what works for X celebrity, but what works for YOU. I can’t wait to share it!”
Show your curves.
The various poses that Bonnie posts on social media have been her signature feature for many, many years. However, this year, she plans to share a much broader photography perspective with her online fans. “I will be creating more videos about all the little things that I learned on set that make a difference in our final photo—content about poses, fashion styling photo tips, photogenic makeup, and photo locations. I’m taking it to the next level.”
Bonnie has over 811k followers on Instagram and more than 28.6k fans on Facebook. One of the main draws for her followers is that she posts content very often. You’ll find updates and advice on how best to pose and what pitfalls to avoid almost every single day on her social media.
A lot of Bonnie’s tips have to do with being confident in front of the camera, showing off your most flattering aspects, as well as creating artistic and dynamic—rather than mundane or touristy—shots.
Professional photographer Dominic Sberna gave Nasty Bear his take on looking photogenic in front of the camera. In his opinion, it’s difficult to find a clear-cut line between someone who is photogenic and who isn’t. “I don’t know if [being photogenic] is anything that can be learned, but I do believe that everyone can look good in a photo,” he said.
“I think being photogenic is a matter of opinion to each viewer. Everyone can look good in a photo though, but again it’s a matter of opinion if said person does look good and/or photogenic. As far as models go, that’s something that is definitely a learned skill for some, but for others, it could be natural. Modeling is a whole other game and skill set,” the photographer shared with Nasty Bear his opinion.
Dominic revealed that one piece of advice that was instilled in him is that “if it feels uncomfortable or awkward as far as posing, it probably looks good.” A lot of poses aren’t natural but they might look fantastic in a photo. “If someone has the natural ability to pose, it’s easier to work with that person because they sort of take the reins and the photographer can let them do their thing. That’s my opinion at least. I’m also not always comfortable posing someone as I don’t want them to be uncomfortable. It’s a double-edged sword in that regard.”
Photo One: We tend to put our hands foward, losing shape.
Photo two: Show your waist by placing your hands inside the blazer.
Photo One: Flat with no rhythm.
Photo Two: One step foward and one step back to capture movement.
While you can take a lot of great shots by setting up the camera yourself or using a selfie stick, there are still some additional fundamental things that a photographer must know in order to go from merely ‘good’ to ‘great.’
In a couple of previous interviews, Nasty Bear spoke with professional photographer Dominic about composition, timing, different styles of photography, patience, improving our skills as photographers, as well as certain stereotypes about photographers that some people have.
In Dominic’s professional opinion, timing—knowing when to take the picture—is an essential component in any photographer’s toolbox. However, its importance is determined by the style of photography that you focus on. While composition will always be near the top of the importance hierarchy for any professional.
Take adventage of the dress you wear in your photos. The dress in this photo is cute. But we can’t see the things that make it really attractive. If your dress has an opening, show it. It will give more visual definition to your body.
From lost to diva!
Pose to show your outfit. Flamingo pose.
“Planning out a shot or scene (depending on your style) takes time. Composition is probably the most important in my mind though. One doesn’t have to necessarily follow the rules of composition, but how a photo is laid out is going to make or break a photo,” Dominic explained to Nasty Bear.
“Some of the best photos in the world don’t necessarily follow the rules of composition because their layout is made that much better by breaking them in a way that challenges the norm,” the pro photographer added, pointing out that we have to be open to experimenting, bending (and breaking) the rules, as well as moving outside our comfort zones.
Open pose. Face up. Can you see the difference?
The timing of the shutter is vital in sports photography while the opposite is often true in landscape photography. Meanwhile, nature photography is a mix of both. Dominic added that luck is also a factor that can make or break an image: whether or not we’re quick to react to the opportunities that life presents us is another question entirely.
“Timing means something different to everyone, but it is of utmost importance. Some will say it’s luck, some will say it’s skill, but at the end of the day, I truly believe it is a bit of both combined with experience and the ability to learn from your previous work,” he said.
Steamy photo effect with beauty bar. Cover your shower glass with water and soap.
For Dominic, repetition and effort are the keys to success. So if you ever find yourself missing out on perfect shots or messing up your photos, keep at it. “Keep trying and it’ll pay off eventually. Maybe not as fast as you would like it to, but like anything, if you work at it enough, it will come to you in time.”
Photo One: Visually wider waist.
Photo Two: Defined waist.
Photo One: The wrong lighting makes us look different.
Photo Two: While correct lighting avoids unwanted shadows.
We also chatted to Dominic about the stereotype floating out there that boyfriends are supposedly ‘bad’ at taking photos. In his opinion, this probably has more to do with social media and how easy it is to pick up a camera than anyone’s actual skill level. “It seems like at a quick glance, there are young females choosing to pick up a camera one day and pursue photography. Whether this is accurate or just my perception of what I’ve seen, who knows.”
Photographer Dominic has been at the receiving end of the stereotype, with someone preferring that a woman take a picture instead of him who was studying to become a pro. Whether or not guys or gals take better pictures depends on each individual’s skill level. As well as their personalities, too! For instance, Dominic takes silly pictures of his wife, even though they can both take good photos of each other.
Use your scarf for movement.
One thing that Dominic believes is missing in our fast-paced modern world is patience. There’s an unholy amount of pressure on us to do things very quickly which means that patience is in short supply and often overlooked. “Sometimes, it’s hard not to feel rushed, whether it’s on vacation or photographing a family, it does happen. I’m the kind of person that needs to take my time and work into the setting,” the photographer shared.
Photo One: Selfie mistake. If the light comes from behind you:
1. You lose detail.
2. Your skin and face doesn’t glow.
3. It is more difficult to edit.
Photo Two: When the light comes from the front:
1. Return your natural shine.
2. It is easy to edit.
3. The photo has more quality.
Experiment with levels.
“My first few shots of any scene, aren’t typically my best. I think the biggest thing to remember is to take your time and focus on what you like to take pictures of. We live in such a fast-paced world. But with art, it can’t be rushed. We all want to rush (myself included), but it creates lesser work at the end of the day,” Dominic said. “Focus on what you want to take pictures of, and if others like it too, that’s an added bonus! As long as you’re true to yourself, you’ll be okay. Not every photo will be great or gather the praise you feel it deserves, but the important thing is to always be true to yourself in your art and in life.”