Looking at photos with smiling faces can also make us smile. Looking at a beautiful smile also brightens our day and helps us to be in a happy mood.
But what if it is now your turn to smile for a photo? A professional portrait photographer can help you create a picture-perfect moment. But being the subject, you should know what to do.
No matter how many times you have been in a portrait photo, smiling in front of a camera can still be challenging at times. Like other activities, you need to prepare to get the best results.
In this guide, you will not only learn how to smile for a photo. You will also learn how to create a perfect smile and how to fake a smile in photos if needed.
12 Effective Ways to Smile for a Picture Perfect Moment
1. Relax Your Face and Body
Relaxing your face and body is the most important task before you can wear that perfect smile. If you feel nervous, take a deep breath and let loose your body.
You can also massage your face a bit to relax your jaw muscles and shake your arms and hands. If there’s no need to rush, pause for a few seconds before facing the photographer.
2. Wear Comfortable Clothes
It’s hard to smile when you feel uncomfortable. If you feel awkward with your clothes while posing for a photo, you cannot focus, and it can be seen in your smile.
But if you are wearing comfortable clothes, it will boost your self-confidence in front of the camera. Aside from clothes, you should also wear shoes that are comfortable for your feet.
3. Think of Funny or Happy Moments
Who does not smile while thinking of funny or happy moments? So go ahead, close your eyes and think of the acts of Mr. Bean you have watched or any funny moment that made you laugh until you cry.
Think about the happy moments in your life, like meeting your crush for the first time, winning a crucial game, passing a job interview, etc.
4. Imagine the Photographer Is Someone You Like
What if your favorite star is taking your photo, will you not show your best smile? So, close your eyes again and imagine Keanu Reeves standing in front of you and about to take a photo of you.
Will you wait for him to ask you to smile, or will you smile without even noticing it? As a matter of fact, you are now smiling while reading this. Admit it.
5. Imagine Someone You Admire Being in the Picture
What if Keanu Reeves granted your request to be in a photo with you? How cool is that? Your smile will now be sweeter than when he was taking a picture of you, don’t you agree? But no, you don’t have to rely on him alone.
Once again, close your eyes and imagine your family, best friend, or favorite teacher standing beside you in the photo.
6. Ask the Photographer to Crack a Joke
There are times when it’s really hard to think of something funny or that can make you smile. This is when the photographer can come to the rescue.
As professionals, they have encountered different kinds of people, including children who are sometimes not in the mood to smile for a photo. So go ahead, ask your photographer to do some jokes.
7. Say “Money” Instead of “Cheese”
Traditionally, anyone who takes a photo will say, “Say, cheese!” before pressing the shutter button. This idea is believed to have started in the 1940s, and it has been proven effective to make people smile to create a perfect photo.
However, some experts suggest that saying “money” instead of “cheese” is more effective. That makes sense, right?
8. Practice Your Smile
As they say, practice makes perfect. So, if you know when the photo will be taken, practice smiling in front of the mirror the day before the photoshoot.
You can also ask your family and friends how you look when you smile. You can also try smiling with teeth and without teeth, and see which one looks better. But still, just smile naturally.
9. Don’t Let Your Top and Bottom Teeth Touch Each Other
This is one of the “perfect smile” tips that you will seldom hear. But in case you don’t know, your neck muscles are tense when you smile with your top teeth touching your bottom teeth.
So instead, try giving a tiny space between your top and bottom teeth when you smile. You’ll notice that it makes your smile look better and more natural.
10. Find Your Best Angle
All of us have uneven faces, which is why you might want to avoid a full face even if your smile is great. Instead, turn your head slightly to the right while looking at yourself in the mirror or at your smartphone as if you are taking a selfie.
Then, slightly turn your head again, but this time to the left. Repeat the process until you find your best angle.
11. Wear Bright Lipstick
For women, using bright lipstick can enhance their smile in photos to help their teeth look whiter and shinier. If you use dark lipstick, your teeth will look dull and yellow.
Your lips may also appear smaller, and your smile will look weak in photos. This is also why most photography models use red or light pink lipstick instead of matte lipstick.
12. Don’t Be Too Conscious of How You Look
Having a photo taken by a stranger or when somebody else is looking can make you feel awkward. You tend to check your clothes from time to time, as well as how you look.
If you feel comfortable with your clothes, then you’ll be fine. If you have chosen an angle that you think looks, don’t change it and trust your gut. Strike a pose!
What Is a Duchenne Smile?
The Duchenne smile was named after Guillaume Duchenne, the French neurologist who in the 1800s studied human emotional expression by stimulating different facial muscles using electricity.
He also theorized that smiling with the eyes is linked with genuine positive emotions. Hence, smiling with the eyes is called a Duchenne smile.
How to Do a Duchenne Smile?
Since the Duchenne smile is smiling with the eyes, it is considered the most authentic smile. Also called a “polite” smile, this smile technique is done by wrinkling the corners of your eyes until they look like crow’s feet.
Duchenne smiles are contagious and can change a person’s mood. However, it is also possible to fake a Duchenne smile.
How to Fake a Smile in a Photo?
Since we are not living in a perfect world, not every day is a happy day. But sometimes, the bad days arrive when we are scheduled to have a photo session and we cannot postpone it.
Actors and politicians know this, and they have learned the art of faking a smile in a photo. So, if are not in the mood, here are some tips to fake a smile in photos:
1. Do the Smize
To smile is to smile with your eyes. The term “smize” was coined by supermodel Tyra Banks in 2009 during America’s Next Top Model Season 13.
It is almost the same as the Duchenne smile, but it is a fake smile. Here, you have to relax your shoulders, take a deep breath, and squint your eyes. This requires a lot of practice, though.
2. Do the Close-Open Eyes Trick
Just before the photo is taken, close your eyes and open them slowly but not super slow, and then add a soft smile. In doing so, you are removing your awkwardness to make yourself feel relaxed when you smile.
This technique is very effective in hiding a fake smile, thus resulting in a natural-looking smile. But then, it also needs a lot of practice.
3. Do the Touch-Tongue Trick
Instead of using your teeth to flash a smile, touch your tongue to the roof of your mouth. Here, you are tightening the muscles in your face and neck.
Like the other fake smile tricks, this technique can also create a natural-looking smile. Medical experts also suggest that this touch-tongue trick is the proper posture when our tongue is at rest.
4. Do the Clench-Smirk Trick
To do this trick, slightly clench your teeth and smirk at the camera. Clamping your teeth first before throwing a smile somehow adds definition to your jawline, resulting in a “genuinely mysterious” smile that looks great in photos.
You can also combine it with a smize or the close-open eyes trick. But just like the other tricks, practicing is also a must.
Related: 10 Tips on How to Take a Good Selfie If You Are Not Photogenic