two people taking a selfie at home

How to Smile in Pictures for a Genuine Result

Say cheese! Good photos may have been easy as a kid, but a natural smile may not be as simple as an adult. You may not like photos of yourself or avoid taking pictures. The good news is that there are tricks to smiling in photos. Read these tips on a picture-perfect natural smile and other photography tips to ensure you love every photo.

6 steps to a natural smile for pictures

Once you know the following tips, you'll feel more comfortable in front of the camera and love your pictures.

1. The best smiles are genuine

A real, genuine smile is difficult to fake. Before taking a photo, think of something that makes you smile or laugh. Your mouth will not only look great, but your eyes will smile too – a fundamental difference between fake and natural smiles.

2. Practice makes perfect

You may think that some people are just natural in photos. The truth is, it takes practice. Practice your ideal smile in the mirror. Try different smiles: broad all-teeth smiles or smirks to see which are more comfortable and make you feel confident. You can use your phone or computer's webcam to see how your smiles look to other people.

3. Compensate for natural quirks

You may have already noticed you have some quirks in photos. Some people have a slightly crooked smile and may need to smile "harder" on one side to compensate. Lots of people accidentally squint their eyes in photos because they smile so big! Squinting can be corrected by remembering to open your eyes wider before a picture. You can spot and try to correct your quirks by practising in the mirror.

4. Find your "good" side

Very few photos or selfies are like a passport photo: facing the camera straight-on. One study in Frontiers in Psychology reported that people tended to angle the left sides of their faces towards the camera when taking selfies. The next time you pose for a selfie, try tilting the left side of your face towards the camera.

5. Find good lighting

Everyone looks better in good lighting. Here are some quick tips for improving the light in your photos:

  • Avoid deep shadows that may highlight blemishes or the area under your eyes
  • Ensure lighting is distributed across your face and not shining directly over your head
  • Soft, diffused lighting such as on a cloudy, overcast day makes skin look smoother and teeth look brighter

6. Brighten your smile

If you feel self-conscious about your teeth appearing stained or dull, there are some products you can use or treatments from your dentist that can make your smile brighter.

Your dentist can recommend the best treatment or product for you.

If you're still feeling self-conscious about your smile, talk with your dentist about alternative options for improving your smile. Some of these include tooth bonding or veneers, regular professional cleanings and orthodontic work.

You deserve to love pictures of yourself. Remember these tips, practise smiling and finding good angles and you'll be ready for the next selfie session or photoshoot.


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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.