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Tips for Natural Smiles in Photos

Natural Smiles

A smile looks good on everyone. But a natural smile always wins over a forced, cheesy grin. Here are our tips for making sure your smile is one that looks real and authentic – and not fake.

  • Relax! Tense jaw and neck muscles show up on film. It’s hard to have a natural smile when your whole body is tense. Fortunately, a great photographer will help you feel relaxed and comfortable in front of the camera and may even joke around with you. This will help you flash a natural smile instead of posing with a stiff, forced one. If you’re nervous, try some breathing exercises beforehand – and even shake out those arms and legs to loosen up your muscles.
  • Make sure your eyes are in it! A huge grin where the eyes aren’t engaged will always look fake. For great results, try what Tyra Banks calls a “smize.” A smize is where the eyes are slightly squinted, and makes your smile look natural and genuine. Don’t squint too much, though, or your eyes will appear closed.
  • Try a celebrity smile. Celebrities touch their tongue to the tip of their mouth when they smile (go check out some celebrity photos – you’ll see it!) This helps set your face into a friendly, natural smile that doesn’t rely completely on your teeth. A small smile – think a celebrity “smirk” with slightly upturned mouth – is another option if you’re self-conscious about braces or your teeth.
  • Don’t say cheese! We’ve all done the “cheese” thing for a group photo, but saying cheese actually creates an awkward, opened-mouthed expression. Your photographer will guide you to say something like “money” or will even just tell a joke to get you grinning. In group settings, you’ll probably be told to look at each other, direct your attention to a specific spot, perform a group action, or chime in with a phrase or laugh.
  • Practice in the mirror. How we see ourselves isn’t always how the camera sees us. If you’d like, spend some time in front of the mirror, finding your best angle and trying on a few different types of smiles. You’ll get a sense of how your face moves and what kind of smile looks and feels comfortable and confident. Although, the best result for a natural smile is to skip practicing and just be relaxed. When you have fun with the photographer and are laughing or happy, you’ll have your best smile.
  • Skip the lipstick. Bright or dark lipstick shades can make teeth look discolored and stand out on film. Try a tinted lip gloss or lip balm instead. Chapstick is great if you’re worried about dry lips.
  • Trust your photographer! Our biggest tip of all is to trust your photographer. At Freed, our team of pros knows how to make you feel comfortable and confident – so that we can capture your best smile. We’ll help you shine on film.

Ready to Shine? Talk to Freed!

If you want to put your best foot forward on camera, book a session with Freed today. From school pictures to solo, group or family shoots, we’re experts at teasing out those natural, genuine smiles that make a photo a winner. For a keepsake photo worthy of framing, let’s talk!