How to Give a Photogenic Smile

By Ty Wright ; Updated September 15, 2017
Smile for the camera.

Saying “cheese” and smiling used to be all you had to do to get a great photo. The advent of digital photography made photos even brighter and more detailed than ever before. Some people are naturally photogenic, while others must work at it. It helps to be attractive but anyone can have a great smile. If you love to have your picture taken but don’t have the perfect smile there are ways to find one.

Lean into the camera slightly. Tilt your chin downward, but avoid tucking your head back and creating the appearance of a double chin. Leaning toward the camera creates dimension in the picture frame and draws the viewer into your smile.

Give a three-quarter smile that’s not too wide and not too small. Keep your eyes bright and open. Smiling too wide will expose your gums and make your eyes into slits.

Look just above the lens instead of directly at it. Looking directly into the camera makes it seem as if you are too aware of having your picture taken. This will result in a lifeless or staged look.

Be happy. Think of an inside joke, then laugh about it. Smile as you think of the punch line and time that to the moment the picture is taken. Thinking of happy moments will also bring a smile to your face.

Remember what a smile feels like. Practice smiling and notice how the muscles in your face feel. Notice the difference between a “fake” smile and how you smile when you’re really happy. Try to recreate the feeling of the happy smile each time you have your picture taken.

Relax when you are having your picture taken. Being comfortable has a lot to do with being photogenic. The muscles in your face will appear strained when you are tense and will prohibit you from giving your best smile.

Clean your teeth before taking a photo. Use teeth whitener if necessary, especially if you naturally show a lot of teeth when you smile.

Tip

Keep a mirror with you to check your teeth for food, red wine stains or lipstick.

Keep your lips looking fresh with lip balm or lipstick.

About the Author

Based in Los Angeles, Ty Wright has written professionally since 1993, working primarily in film and television. His articles have appeared online at MadeMan. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in film and electronic arts from California State University, Long Beach.