Once upon a time, getting your photo taken was a special occasion. You lined up with your classmates for school picture day, for example, or your family all headed down to the local portrait studio for an annual family photo. Today, cameras are everywhere (you probably have one in your pocket or purse right now), and there's the expectation that everyone is going to be camera ready, with a photogenic smile, at all times.
If you worry and cringe every time your friends post a picture of you on social media where you don't look your best, relax! There are a few things you can do to get a more photogenic smile and to look more confident and composed in photos, no matter where or when they're taken.
Find Your "Good" Side
While many people think that their faces are symmetrical, that's usually not the case. One study published in Frontiers in Psychology found that people tended to favor the left sides of their faces when taking selfies. The phenomenon is known as "left cheek bias," and might have something to do with the fact that the right side of the brain, which has control over your emotions (and your perception of attractiveness), also controls the left side of the body.
The next time you pose for a selfie, try tilting the left side of your face toward the camera and see if you notice a difference.
Don't Look at the Camera Head On
Take a look at your driver's license or passport photo. What are you doing in the picture? It's likely that you're staring straight ahead at the camera, and the result is often a grumpy mug shot. Along with remembering to tilt your face to your good side in wedding photos, selfies or other important snaps, also remember not to look right at the camera. By avoiding staring straight at the camera, you instantly create a bit of an angle in the photo, which can better highlight your facial features.
Brighten Up Your Smile
Maybe the one thing you dislike about your photos is the way your smile looks. It could be that your teeth appear stained or dull, or you're always grinning too widely. There are a few things you can do to make sure your smile is bright and natural looking before a photo shoot and during it.
If yellowed or stained teeth bother you, there are ways to whiten them. Try avoiding foods that can discolor your teeth, such as red wine and coffee, and to try to eat foods that help clean the teeth, such as crunchy vegetables.
Your oral care routine can also help to whiten and brighten your smile for photos. To get whiter teeth at home, you can try switching to a whitening toothpaste. Keeping your teeth clean by brushing twice daily and flossing can also help keep stains at bay.
Another brightening trick is to make your teeth seem whiter by surrounding them with color. If you wear lipstick, pick a color that has blue or cool undertones, Elle recommends. A lipstick that has orange, yellow or brown undertones is likely to bring out those same hues in your teeth.
One final tip to help you look better in your everyday photos: Remember to relax before you take the shot. To do that, close your eyes, take a deep breath, hold it for a few seconds and then let it out slowly. Open your eyes right before you take the picture and you should look calm and confident, with a beautiful smile, in every photo you take.