Peter Hurley Shares His ‘Most Incredible Tip for Looking Photogenic': Squinching

Back in February of 2012, portraitist Peter Hurley shared an awesome tutorial that showed how to accentuate your subject’s jawline in portraits and instantly make them look much more photogenic. That video went insanely viral amongst photographers, and now, Hurley has finally released a followup in which he shares what he calls “his most incredible tip for looking photogenic.”

The first video was called “It’s all about the Jaw.” This one is called “It’s all about the Squinch.” Okay, so we all know what a Jaw is, but what the heck is Squinching!?

Squinching is a term Hurley made up (although it’s actually in the dictionary…), and for him it describes the action of squinting your eyes in such a way as to portray confidence and self-assurance as opposed to the fear and uncertainty that you project when you stare wide-eyed at the camera.

Here are a few before-and-after examples pulled from the video that show the difference a bit of squinching can make:





One final clarifying point, and Hurley is big on this: squinching isn’t the same as squinting! The difference is minor but important. When you squint, your top and bottom eyelids close up and your eyes end up all but disappearing — you look neither confident nor self-assured.

With ‘squinching,’ you’re lifting and tightening the lower eyelid, while only letting the top one come down a hair. It might seem like a slight difference (and it is) but it’s a big deal when you get in front of the camera.

There you go: famous headshot and portrait photographer Peter Hurley has now given you TWO ways to look way more photogenic in pictures. So check out the full tutorial to get a bunch more before-and-after comparisons and even a science lesson on how this works, and then go out and try it yourself.

Whether you’re the photographer or the photographed, it seems you can never go wrong with a little squinching.

(via ISO 1200)

  • Jacque5178

    Yeah, it’s what Tyra calls “Smizing”. Same concept. And it really works!

  • george malacca

    I cant tell the difference with the 4th guy…

  • Mario Liedtke

    LOL.. Looking smugly should enhance your photo? Damn stupid tip! It makes the person on the photo much more dislikable. They look like selfloving idiots. If you are not able to portrait people when they laugh or are well mooded, just do it as the old masters: Ask them to sit calm and relaxed with nearly no expression and set the light to rembrandt-style. You know it: From above, so that the nose makes a shadow that looks like a butterfly.

  • Mario Liedtke

    What is he doing? Is he afraid of getting eaten by a monster and tries the old kiddywish “If I close my eyes and don’t see you, you can’t see mee!”? (and for safety didnt close his eyes himself totally because in case that the monster attacks he wants to use plan B? And RUN? … awkward…

  • Tweets McGee

    I don’t like it. It makes them look more Hollywood/stock-photoish. Meh.

  • Mark F

    I love petapixel, but Jesus Christ the comments I read make me want to gauge my eyes out with a blunt spoon.

    Why do people insist on being so critical of articles like this? Love it or leave it. No one is forcing you to use certain techniques.

    And to whoever said “real pros” use vimeo over YouTube…I feel very, very sorry for you.

  • my2pennies

    to make look girls attractive, the ideal is too make them look like preys. Guys love the feel of the hunt! And so do some girls love some innocent looking easy prey guys. Looking like the most confident person can sometime be intimidating

  • Anonymoused

    It doesn’t make every model in the example look better, though…

  • Praverb

    Amen haha

  • Edward Coast

    This idea makes them look completely unnatural. If anything, it makes them come across as arrogant. A natural pose is the best.

  • David V.

    why americans talk so much to explain the most very simple things x_x

  • ripley

    Smizing is “smiling with your eyes”. Smiling + eyes = smizing.

    That’s right, I watched every episode of ANTM up until cycle 14.

  • Semko

    Hmm…, Useful, but I am not crazy about this, being a “standard” look.
    I think, it makes people look suspicious and fake. But hey, is it not who we really are. Fake it to you make it!
    Sorry, mate.

  • Kirsten Gould

    When I try it my eyes disappear. My eyes disappear when I smile in photos too and I’m caucasian.

  • dagobarbz

    That last guy has such tiny eyes it doesn’t matter if he squinches. Can’t tell.

  • K S B

    “Sha-bang!” Aaaaaaaarrrghh…

  • K S B

    Your Youtube buffers? You must live in North Korea or something.

  • Curious Canuck

    Hm…Every face on the right looks fake.

  • caff69

    Tried it still look like a mongoose :( ha ha x