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How To Look Photogenic

Updated on September 27, 2011

Ever look at your photos on facebook and find that you don't look as good as you thought? In pictures every little thing makes a difference. Not only how you look, but also your environment, as in the lighting and the background. Firstly, you have to realize that pictures are how you really look to other people, whereas the mirror image is a flipped reflection. If what you see in the mirror is what you're used to, you'll have a hard time accepting how you look in pictures. While others may see it as perfectly fine, you'll keep finding it weird and noticing that it's "wrong." After seeing enough pictures however, you should gain enough of a perception as to how you actually look. Once you're beyond this phase, you can begin to do things to improve how you look in pictures. At the end of the day, whether you're a guy or a girl, you want to look good in pictures. I have enough friends that are girls to offer some reasonable advice on their behalf, as for guys I'll offer what I know from personal experience.

How to Smile for pictures

A lot of people's smiles come off as fake in pictures. By fake I mean, it may look forced or awkward. If you want to know how to smile for pictures, go back to the oldest trick, and say cheese. It actually works. Faking a smile on it's own forces too many of your facial muscles to get involved, and so you end up looking like you're simply showing your teeth off. Saying cheese induces the perfect subtlety of a natural smile. Another issue is, should you show your teeth or not? I think it really depends on the person, for some people their most natural smile does come out when they don't show their teeth, but for most people I've found that showing your teeth makes the smile look more genuine. If you have bad teeth that you'd prefer not to show in pictures you can try for a closed mouth smile. I find that closed mouth smiles look less "happy" and sort of passive. If you can, try and show your teeth for the smile. Practice in the mirror or on webcam to see what works best. It may seem kind of weird but trust me, everyone does it. If you want to know how to smile in photos, it ultimately comes down to your own better judgement (or perhaps you can get some opinions from your friends).

Your Eyes

Besides for your smile, a lot of other things with your face can make the picture seem bad. One trick that I find to make yourself look more attractive is to open your eyes slightly more than they normally are. Show your eyes bigger really makes a big difference for pictures. Keep in mind however, that you aren't opening them so much that you end up looking stunned. Just a slight raise to your eyelids is all it takes. Practicing this works better on webcam I find, because you can actually see your entire face in the pictures you take, whereas in the mirror you're sort of stuck looking at only your eyes. Another thing you might want to try, instead of expanding your eyelids, is to subtly squint. The squint gives off a sort of colder look, making you seem seductive. The squint however, does not go well with the "cheese" in most cases, and takes a lot of practice for it to come off as sexy with the slightest of a smile. You can try a blank face with the squinted eyes at first so you don't have to worry about your smile, and see how that works for you.

Facial Expression

Your overall facial expression, which includes your lips, eyebrows, eyelids, cheeks, and of course your eyes, come together to form your expression. Eyebrows can be tricky in pictures, because some people can really pull off raised eyebrows in pictures, whereas others look like they're surprised or something. Raised eyebrows usually give off a more innocent or "cute" look and so I would say work better for girls. Guys can try it too if they want to go for the "Puppy-dog" look, but it really needs to be practiced if you don't want to look weird. Usually if you just leave your eyebrows alone and let them do whatever comes naturally is the best way to go. If you want to enhance the seductive look I explained with squinting your eyes, you can try slightly crossing your eyebrows, or bending on of them. The best way to go about practicing either of these is in front of a webcam, because as I mentioned, the mirror will not allow you to see your entire face. Your lips also play a big role in pictures that some people may not even consider. Usually, if you let your lower lip loose during a smile, it makes the smile look more genuine. I'm not sure if everyone can control this, but from what I've seen and tried, it usually works for people who can.

Body Language

Never slouch or tilt your neck in pictures. Slouching makes you look less confident in pictures, and you usually come off as looking fatter if you're a girl, and less masculine if you're a guy. Practice strong posture in front of the mirror if you have to. For guys, this means level shoulders and raised neck, with a straight back. For girls, I think a slight curve somewhere along the abdomen is what works. I'm not entirely sure, but I've always found that in pictures, when girls are sort of curved, it makes them look sexier. I'm not sure what they do, whether it's the hips, the back, the abs, or what, but its something that seems to come naturally I think? Try it out and see what you think it is if you don't know what I'm taking about. The point is, for girls, don't broaden your shoulders too much, and too much of a straight posture (like for men) makes you look stiff, uncomfortable, and less feminine. You want to master looking confident without looking masculine.


You can't really control the lighting or background in pictures, but you can to an extent control other things. It's generally accepted that the color blue looks best on people in pictures or on TV, so wearing that color for your special occasions can make you look optimal. I'm assuming shades of blue, and colors similar to it, such as green or purple have the same effect. Is that to say that colors such as yellow or red don't look good in pictures? Not necessarily, but they're definitely harder to pull off. It really depends on skin tone, and wearing any color that's too close to your skin can have a negative impact on your overall look for a picture.

The angle of your face is also very important. Should you turn your head a little? Tilt your chin in a certain direction? Look straight at the camera? Above all, only the person taking the actual picture can tell you this for each of the pictures. If they have the patience, they can tell you what looks best, granted they have some sort of an aesthetic sense. For Facebook photos though, you shouldn't really worry about this too much. The most you can do is "study" how you look in all of your pictures, and what angles you were facing and such. See what looks the best, and apply it in future photos.

Hopefully now you've learned a thing or two about how to look photogenic in photos for men, and for women.


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