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7 Tips for Getting Natural Smiles in Photos


Getting someone to smile naturally on camera can sometimes be a difficult task. Here’s a 2-minute video by photographer Mathieu Stern in which he shares 7 techniques for getting your subject to grin from ear to ear in seconds.

It is often said that the engaging of the eyes makes a smile natural, but that’s not something that can be easily faked. Even though some of Stern’s ideas and tips may seem “cheesy,” that in itself may be enough to squeeze out a natural smile, or chuckle, from a model.

Something as simple as saying “money” instead of “cheese” when smiling works wonders. Pronouncing “money” ensures that the model drops their jaw as well, leading to that golden smile. It also has that surprising, novelty factor which can be quite amusing and unexpected.

Another super simple thing to do is to encourage your model to relax their facial muscles. This makes for a very subtle, but equally drastic, change to the shot. It’s very easy for someone to tense up their face without realizing it, and simple encouragement to focus on those muscles will return them to a more natural look.

Check out the video above for more advice on drawing out real smiles.