We don’t always have to smile for photos, but more often than not, it’s appropriate, and the last thing we want is to look like we are squealing “CHEEEEEESE” while clamping our teeth down. But there are some easy solutions!
I’m always asking my clients to giggle or give me a big laugh. When you genuinely smile (which you can get from a forced laugh), think about how your mouth and eyes react… your lips curl up on the edges, your teeth separate, and your eyes crinkle, or as Tyra Banks puts it, “SMIZE” (i.e. smile with your eyes).
Sometimes the laugh gets TOO big of a smile though, so that’s where the little giggle can come into play. But even so, some clients aren’t comfortable with forced laughter, so that’s where we try a different word. Who doesn’t love MONEY? Just thinking about having some can make you smile… saying “moneeeeeeyyy” gives a more genuine smile, because when you say “eeey”, all the important smile factors react perfectly.
Is your smile still feeling too tight? Try breathing through your mouth instead of your nose. I find that when I breathe through my nose, my jaw tightens and my teeth close together. When I breathe through my mouth, I leave some space. And taking a deep breath relaxes the whole body - BRILLIANT!
Sweet, we've got the smile down right? Now, let's get your head position just right to go with that perfect grin...
When truly smiling or laughing – people tend to pull their face back and down, in towards the neck and chest… HOLY SMOKES - the dreaded double-chin. But we can fix this too!
Treat your face and chest as separate focal points - push your face forward and away from your body. You can do this by pretending you have a string attached to the the center of your forehead, and imagine that string pulling your face directly forward. It’s nearly a chicken bob feeling, and though you may look bizarre from the side, you’ll look the best in the group photo! When pushing your face forward, you become elongated, your face becomes thinner, and the stretch helps to hide any extra skin under your chin. Whether you are facing the camera straight on, or from a bit of an angle, you will push yourself directly towards the camera.
It is also flattering to turn your head slightly from the camera, instead of shooting straight on. Turning your head to the side slightly enhances the dimensions of your facial features. (A turn is bringing your chin from one side to the other.)
A tilt is sometimes flattering for women as well. (A tilt is pulling your ear down to one shoulder or the other.) Tilts are definitely a more feminine touch, however, so this tip is most definitely for the ladies. Ladies, what you will want to do is pull your chin into your shoulder (a combo of a turn and a tilt) while still pushing your front cheekbone towards the camera.
(We’ll talk more about head/face positioning in relation to the camera position in a later topic!)