Smiling naturally in photos is a challenge for many people. Even if you avoid the all-too-common “say cheese” mistake, that’s still no guarantee that you’ll come off looking good. So here’s a fully little video that offers some useful tips for those of us who (like Chandler) can’t seem to look even remotely natural when a camera is pointing our way.
The tips from start to finish include: say a word that ends in “uh” instead of “cheese,” laugh while the photo is being taken, lift the tip of your tongue up behind your front teeth, and relax your face (with the exception of your mouth and the corners of your eyes). Happy natural smiling!
“Say cheese.” It’s an expression that has become so much a part of our culture that everyone understands it to simply mean, “Smile,” rather than a command to actually utter the word “cheese.” For many people, smiling and posing for casual snapshots go hand-in-hand, but why do people smile for pictures, and when did this practice begin? After all, if you browse portrait photos created in the early days of photography — or even half a century ago — you’ll find the subjects wearing stoic, humorless expressions on their faces. Read more…
The truth is no portrait of substance has people smiling. Look at the history of painting, Rembrandt, Titian, Goya, Velasquez, Sargent, Vermeer, DaVinci, etc., the subjects gaze to the viewer is neutral at best, neither inviting nor forbidding. It is there for the viewer to see and feel.
Smiling is like much of American popular culture, superficial and misleading. It is part of our vernacular, but it should be expunged in photographs.
You can find some famous portrait paintings made throughout history here. Virtually all of them support this argument.