OH MY GOD, somebody is about to take a photo.
Sure, you look nice, your hair is pretty swish and that’s a sweet shirt you’ve got on there bro, but what, in the name of thunder, are you supposed to do with your fucking hands?
Terror sets in, your forehead becomes moist, heart rate rises, bum is squeaky, hands flail like a pair of suffocating squids tied to a ceiling fan.
Oh no, one thumb up, one thumb down? What is that? You look like an absolute berk, mate. You’re getting rinsed in the comments when that goes up on Facebook.
Thing is, I feel for you: it’s hard to know what to do with your dumb hands when someone goes in for a photo. So I’ve put together a handy little guide – here are the options for what to do with your hands, and what it says about you if you choose them.
One thumb up
Can’t really go wrong with this – it’s a little earnest, but it’s nice and friendly. People will think you’ve got your shit together, basically. The camera won’t capture your internal screams.
Two thumbs up
A bit Christian Union, this, a bit children’s TV presenter. You can get away with it if you’re “a bit of a card”, but otherwise, I’d stick to one thumb. Don’t want people thinking you’re a pervert.
This is funny if you’re like at a wedding or something, or perhaps even funnier if you’re at a funeral, but any other time it’ll just make you look a bit weird, really. Unless every single one of your Tinder profiles pics is you doing that. That is: also funny.
If you’re posing for a photo underwater, then you may find yourself inexplicably making this hand sign, but above ground it doesn’t really come into play, unless you’re standing over some food or something.
The A-OK sign below your waist
SOMEBODY ‘BOUT TO GET PUNCHED.
Don’t wave in pictures because you will look like a future murderer. Unless you are over 30 metres away from the camera, then it is the only thing you should do.
Holding a beer
This says nothing about you, apart from that you drink. It only makes a statement if you are, I don’t know, on a rollercoaster or something. So carry on as normal, keep holding your beer, even lift it to your lips if you want – that’ll show the haters that say you don’t like pints!
Pointing at the camera
Pointing is fine, because it means “Hey, you caught me!” or “Hey, I know your game, Mr Photo Man!” or “Look out! There’s a train!”. Pointing is therefore often employed by your standard popular dude. That may or may not be you – but keep pointing, and one day it might be.
Pointing at a friend next to you
This is fine, and a rather gracious way of subtly saying “Cor, gedda load of THIS guy!” You’re politely deflecting attention over to your photo-mate by heaping the praise, and guiding the eye, towards them. Maybe you’re a bit shy, but you’re a nice guy.
Two fingers pointing at the camera
Straight from popular dude to overzealous car salesman. Swiftly from happy-go-lucky life-of-the-party to winking perfume con-man. If you’re going to point, then keep it solo.
Hand grasping chin, with finger on cheek, feigning deep thought
This is always accompanied by an eye-brows raised, distant look, diagonally upwards. You most likely play rugby, and you most likely do this look in every single one of your photos. Also, put your collar down – that’s not a thing anymore.
This is good if you’re at Download Festival or are posing at a meet-and-greet with someone like Dave Grohl, but if you’re in a Pizza Express, then you’ve slipped up somewhere along the line.
Unless you’re actually in a gang, then you shouldn’t be throwing this up, even ironically. Saying that, it is a very nice feeling in the old fingers when you do it, soooooo.
Rarer than the westside because not as many people know how to do it, but you should still stop doing it either way, regardless of how fun it may look from the comfort of your red chinos.
Bunny ears behind someone’s head
You are tired and old.
Covering bottom half of face
You are a graffiti artist, and you cannot reveal your identity. Either that or you’ve got a giant cold sore or something. I once spent a whole night out at uni with my hand over my mouth because I had a giant spot on it. Luckily everyone just thought I was a graffiti artist.
You are a time-traveller from the ‘90s or you are a surfer – these are the only two possible situations where this is acceptable.
Flicking the V
Very good, and always acceptable. If you’re wondering what to do with your face, a scrunched up forehead and aggressively-bitten bottom lip will go down a storm. A good, wholesome all-rounder.
Flicking the V with your tongue in the middle
Wayoooo! You! You’ve had sex before!
Flipping the bird
Like flicking the V, this is ALWAYS acceptable no matter the situation and works great as a one-handed or double-handed endeavour. It’s fun to do, fun to look at, and also makes you look a stone-cold hard-nut, and no mistake. I love you.
This only works depending on the camera. If you’ve got a slow shutter speed then the blur will make it obvious that you “are doing a wanker”, but if you’re on a high-speed cam, then it’ll just look like you’re doing a donut sign or something equally confusing.
You are either an ex-pat in Japan, a hippie, or someone that uses Instagram too much (must be paired with a pout). So, slowly but surely, concentrate, keep your fingers in the same position, turn your hand around 180 degress, there, muuuuuch better.
Hands by your side
You don’t know what you’re doing, either in the moment, or in life, so you’re doing a fucking Gormley in the middle of the pub like you’ve just been given a detention. Strange boy.
Best to do this looking over your shoulder while you jut your arse out – it makes people think you’re a bit of cheeky beast. It’s either that or narrow your eyes, purse your lips and smoulder directly into the lense. In both cases you are a highly-sexed and overtly sensual hound, and you don’t care whoooooo knows it.
Upside down batman face
Funny. No matter where you are. Always good.
I don’t think this is problematic, but then I have been described on two occasions as “the least woke person in the office”, so maybe I’m wrong. If you’re at a gig and you’re doing this in a photo I think it’s fine. Good songs demand gun fingers. Even if it’s Taylor Swift.
Finger tips and thumb on one hand touching the fingertips and thumb of the other hand
You are a balding, yellow billionaire megalomaniac. Only do this if you’re getting your photograph taken sitting in a big red velvet chair. Or maybe you’ve sat on the Game of Thrones throne at a tiresome event somewhere. It’ll do, but better options include: thumbs down and upside down Batman face.
This is very good, because doing this literally hides your hands, so dispenses with any stress. It also means you are a nightclub doorman, or a child that has been denied a Hot Wheels loop-the-loop set. Unless it’s very obviously cold in the picture (snow, frozen geese), in which case you are just: cold.
Hands behind back
This is similar to crossing your arms, as it hides your hands and eliminates hand-pose-based worry. Only thing is, you will unavoidably look like a 65-year-old man in a museum.
Come and have a go if ya think ya hard enough
So, arms outstretched, all four fingers beckoning inwards, chest pumped forward, mouth halfway through saying “fuck” – you know, bottom lip right out there – and knees pointing outwards in opposite directions. Acceptable to do at the football, at a house party, in a pub, at a wedding, the street, an artisan bakery – actually, anywhere. Do this everywhere. Nobody will punch you.
Hanging over a friend’s shoulder
You’re an amicable guy – look at you, with your mate Steve on your left, your mate Sqwozz on your right, arms draped round their shoulders, this is life. This is life because you don’t even need to think about what to do with your hands – you can just let them hang there, or alternatively, actively grasp onto their shoulders. Easy-going, friendly you, loadsa mates, relaxing in the pub, nice dry arse.
UT OH. Now there are girls in the picture, one on each side – things are hotting up, and quickly. Suppose you had better put your arms around them – BUT NOT TOO MUCH CONTACT THERE BUDDY. Leave a couple of cm between your hands and their bodies – don’t want to overstep the mark. Hover juuuust over their shoulders there, but curl your creepy fingers round to give the illusion you’re not afraid to touch a lady. You have the world fooled. YOU AIN’T AFRAID OF NO GIRLST.
Throwing up your deuces
Probs only best if you’re in a gym, have met Sylvester Stallone, are doing one of those white-collar boxing events or your mates are literally taking photos of you having a fight with your uncle at your cousin’s wedding. If you do this any other place you are insufferable.
Clenched fist underneath/in front of chin
This really only works if you rest your elbow on your thigh, so when you’re crouching down on one knee or something. Like you’re doing some sort of “Imagine this is my new mixtape” type joke.
Hands clasped in front
You are an usher at a wedding.
You’re doing this in an irionic Instagram post, only, right? Because if you’ve been caught gazing across the room at the object of your affections, then you are a 11-year-old girl, I guess. And who’s taking pictures of 11-year-old girls? Remove him.
You are on the final of X Factor.
Hands in hair
Literally only do this if you are a model and it is for a photoshoot and you are very good looking. If you are doing this in a pub, then, well, what are you doing. I mean, do it in a pub if you are doing it so obviously ironically, that it’s funny, like, with your arse out or something, but don’t actually do it thinking you’ll look good.
“My mate took this picture and posted it without me knowing but I’m not going to delete it lol!”
You’re a fraud.
Live Long And Prosper
Shut up, nerd.
You’ll thank me in the long run for this.
(Images: Our terrible, terrible lives)