Home Advice How To Practice Your ‘Smile’ For The Perfect Photo Shoot

How To Practice Your ‘Smile’ For The Perfect Photo Shoot

How To Practice Your ‘Smile’ For The Perfect Photo Shoot

How do you look your best in front of the camera? It’s a question everyone who has ever had their picture taken must have asked themselves at some point or other. Is it better to look serious or to smile? With or without teeth? Chin up or down? Head tilted or sideways? Posing for portrait photography doesn’t come naturally to everyone. It’s the reason some choose a professional photographer. If you live in Pittsburgh, you might choose Pittsburgh Lens Rentals, for your photo shoot.

The ultimate goal is to achieve a stunning, professional image that exudes confidence and amiability, where you appear competent but approachable, serious yet friendly. You want the kind of look that works within formal settings, on personal profiles, company websites, and the public domain, including these situations:

  • Your job requires you to have your photo taken often, and you need to be sure you look the part all the time.
  • You need a suitable online profile photo where you look serious about what you do while projecting an air of friendliness and approach-ability.
  • You would like the natural shape of your face to show because it shows you in the most flattering light.
  • You need a ‘go-to’ look that shows you off to your best advantage every time your photo is taken.


Luckily, there is a solution to all the above. Welcome to the ‘smile ‘ – a term first coined by American supermodel Tyra Banks on the 13th cycle of the reality TV series America’s Top Model, and a great technique that allows you to ‘smile with your eyes’ – smile for short. Since 2009, the smile has become part of the standard repertoire of every modeling photo-shoot.

Much loved by everyone, including celebrities and politicians to convey sincerity and approach-ability, ‘smiling ‘ is all about bringing intensity to your eyes while keeping the rest of your face, including your mouth, relaxed. It’s a skill that anyone can learn.

The trick to the perfect smile is to appear smiling but without a big grin. Your mouth may be closed or partially open, but it will be relaxed – it’s all in the ‘smiling’ eyes. Why not put some effort into practicing in front of the mirror until the right facial expression becomes second nature to you. Then, when the camera is snapping away, you’ll know exactly what to do without thinking, and your efforts will have been rewarded many times over. When you need that professional headshot your smile is front and center of the photo.  In order to make the best photograph follow these headshot photography tips outlined below.

Here’s what you need to do to practice your smile successfully.


Start with a blank expression.

Get yourself comfortable in front of the mirror and completely relax your facial muscles until you have created a blank ‘canvas’ to work with. It’s the best base from which to start building your smile.

Put yourself in a positive frame of mind.

Next, think of something that makes you feel content and happy inside. It could be anything – a favorite memory or popular location; it could be your partner, your child, or even your pet.

Focus on your eyes

The key to achieving the perfect smile is in the eyes, so the more attention you can give to getting the eyes right, the better the result will be. Narrow your eyes into a slight squint, then tighten the muscles at the bottom of your eyes, right under the lower eyelids. Make sure the rest of your facial expression doesn’t change.

Focus on your mouth

Keeping your mouth as natural as you can, gently curl the sides of your lip to suggest a smile but without involving your cheeks. For some people, this means having the lips slightly parted, others will have their mouth closed, and the corners slightly turned up. It doesn’t matter, as long as your mouth stays relaxed.

Lower your head slightly.

Look into the mirror and move your face slightly towards the camera. Lower your head a little bit, making sure to tuck in your chin (hiding any double chins in the process), so that a narrow-angle of your face is formed and your jawline accentuated.

Try out the look from all angles.

Practice the pose in front of the mirror from various angles to discover what works best for your particular face shape – after all, we’re all different.

Practice to become confident

Now pull all the elements together, relax, and smile! Put yourself in the position of the viewer and try to connect with them by exuding confidence, warmth, and friendliness. Practice until you’ve mastered your perfect smile.


Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer working together with London based photography studio Boggio Studios.