You know it’s coming and you take every measure to avoid it. Staring at your phone, walking ten feet away from everyone else, debating Gone Girl-ing yourself so you never have to do it again.
But inevitably, the question always hits you like a ton of bricks.
“Can you take a photo of us?”
Dammit, dammit, dammit. But because you’re as a stand-up guy who does stand-up things (and because “happy wife, happy life”), you bite the bullet and extend your hand only to receive a white or rose gold iPhone in exchange. There you stand, staring three to twelve people in the face attempting to take a photo that will please them all – even though it never will.
It’s time to minimize the pain of the process by following six steps that will make you the Most Valuable Player of the situation.
Step 1. Take control.
Yes, you’re the beaten down Instagram boyfriend everyone’s laughing at. But don’t let that deter you from realizing that you legitimately hold all the power in this situation. Without you, there’s no Instagram. And without an Instagram, there aren’t any likes. And without any likes, none of us even fucking exist.
Once she hands the phone over, you’re James goddamn Cameron.
“You, over there. And you, stand behind her. Sarah, you’re short, get in the front. Tara, you’re like six-foot-nothing, stand in the back. Alright, half of you are in shadows, take four steps to the right. Okay, one step back. Perfect.”
Starting the process with a laziness about you only lends you to taking more photos when they realize how hard you mailed it in.
Step 2. Hold her shattered iPhone 7 Plus higher than you think you should.
You know what happens when you hold the phone low? Double chins. You know what will make pretty much every single human being on this earth wish death upon you? Taking a photo where they have a double chin.
Much like people stick their jaws out or tilt their head forward, the easiest way to avoid the dreaded two-chin is by just holding the camera a little higher. Sure, it cuts out the background, but if the subjects of the photo don’t look good in the first place, the background doesn’t matter.
Oh, and the “push your tongue to the roof of your mouth to avoid having a double chin while smiling” trick? Doesn’t work. Trust me.
Step 3. Take as many photos as humanly possible.
The iPhone’s burst function is your friend. Just take your finger, hold it down, and watch 40 to 100 photos magically appear. If you take two or three photos and hand the phone back, that’s pretty much like Leonardo da Vinci penciling in shapes on the ceiling of the 16th Chapel only to ask for a paycheck and move on. You’re going to get denied a million times over.
And the beauty of all those photos? Even if they don’t look good, there are simply too many to sort through after you hand the phone back. “Oh, I’m sure I look skinny in one of these,” she’ll think while you sprint in the complete opposite direction hoping you can avoid taking more.
Step 4. Master “Portrait Mode.”
If you don’t know what Portrait Mode is, you’ve already lost the war. If there are between one and three people in the photo, it’s perfect. Four and up, though? Too many and you have to take a normal (read: shittier) photo.
Stand eight feet from the subjects. Move the phone horizontally back and forth until it locks in. And then just start mashing that photo button until you fear shattering her screen more than it already is.
Step 5. Count down 3-2-1.
If you don’t start counting down, you’re never going to get the shot. Then you’re the guy standing there with an iPhone in his hand getting laughed at by everyone else in the park.
“Three! Two! One!” you yell to get their attention. None of them want to look terrible, so the second you hit one, it looks like a cheerleading squad holding one single pose.
The trick here? The second you say “two,” start taking photos. And then keep taking them until they’ve attempted to go into their second position. At some point, they’ll all start fake-laughing with one another which is just an unspoken attempt to get a candid shot. Don’t fuck this up.
Step 6. Compliment, compliment, compliment.
My key to getting five stars in an Uber is by saying, “Wow, that guy is getting five stars!” to my friends as I start getting out of the car. The same goes for taking group photos.
If you tell them that they crushed it and throw in a, “You guys look so skinny,” you’re pretty much guaranteeing that you won’t have to take a photo until your next outing. Plant the seed that everyone looks phenomenal and all of the sudden you’re Nigel Barker to their Heidi Klum. I hate myself for knowing what that last sentence means.
Step 7. Botch the entire process and accidentally drop her phone in the water.
And you’ll never be asked to do it again because they’ll just find some good looking girl in the general vicinity who they assume has a good Instagram aesthetic. .