Enter our contest win big! ×

10 Tips To Your Perfect Photogenic Smile 

Smiles are tricky things. Be it in a nude or boudoir photography session or in regular life.

We judge a person a lot by their smile. Smiles can warm our hearts, terrify us, be a warning or just a pure expression of joy.

That is a lot of ground for a smile to cover! The bottom line, everyone wants a great smile for the camera. This is why at Inner Spirit Photography we study smiles. In their photos, everyone wants a great smile.

Today I want to share a few things you can do to get that perfect smile for the camera.

Warm friendly smile by Mark Laurie
A nice show of teeth without the smile being to big.

First, a few things about smiles:

Your brain has cataloged the millions of smiles you have seen. Mental notes are attached to their nuances. 

Yet research shows that we can rarely tell the difference between a fake smile and an authentic one.

Psychology researchers found that “the act of smiling – even if fake – tricks the part of your brain associated with happiness and releases endorphins. 

Really important when doing a boudoir photography session. 

The brain can’t differentiate between the physical act of fake smiling or natural smiling – to your brain, it’s the same.” This discovery is from a paper from Clark University: “Keep Smiling: Enduring Effects of Facial Expressions and Postures on Emotional Experience and Memory.”

It is interesting that smiling men and smiling women often project differently and are perceived differently. In the context of a nude photography session it is very powerful.

The First Big Smile Tip

1) The Sideways Look Up Smile, refined by the late Lady Diane, is celebrity women’s go-to smile. It captivates the viewer’s heart. It’s been universally found to convey an interesting mix of playfulness, secretiveness (like a shared insight or memory), and childlike innocence.

The bonus with this smile is if you are looking up, the person looking down sees your eyes as 30% larger than straight on. The tilt of the head loses all sense of symmetry or lack thereof, leaving the mind undistracted to focus on the smile and eyes.

People like smiles, especially in loved ones. It suggests you are having fun, all is going well, and it tells the recipient that they are making you happy. The happy smile will also evoke a trigger to other happy moments when “you smiled just like that!”

With so much riding on smiling right, it is no surprise that models, movie stars and celebrities have all practiced their smiles.

Boudoir photo lingerie woman smiling by Mark Laurie of Inner Spirit Photo.
That sly smile for the camera

The Next 9 Smile Tips

2) Smile and Body Language have to match. It’s a key thing to remember: your smile has to match the eyes, posture, and body language. If they don’t all line-up, a red flag goes up.  We know something is off if a smile pops up and down, but the eyes or body posture looks unhappy.

3) Say vowels to shape the smile. Actress Cloris Leachman demonstrated it during her session with me. As she turned to the camera, she would whisper Hi. This would be repeated with other vowel ending words like Hello for the whole session.  

Changing the timbre of her voice, nearly laughing sometimes. The vowels in Hi and Hello altered the shape of her mouth. Doing it always made her feel a little silly, so it became naturally mirthful.

Interestingly, the lower her voice, the more sensual the smile became, especially when I got the camera a little higher.

Any vowel will work; each gives your mouth a subtly different shape.

These next ones will really help your smile

4) Smiles should not be big toothy affairs. They cause cheeks to puff up and out, and bags appear under your eyes while your eyes get smaller. Not to mention the appearance of lots of pink gums.

5) A good smile does not need to show teeth.

6) Have your chin lower than the camera. While making the smile more inviting, it hides your neckline and creates a jawline. To tighten the neck, push your chin out just a little.

Boudoir photo shoot woman in lingerie in bed by Mark Laurie of Inner Spirit Photography
Inviting smile perfect for boudoir photo session gift.

 7) Imagine you are smiling at someone you love. That is, after all, who will be seeing this great smile. This relaxes you with the warmth of thinking about that person lighting up your face.

8) Try blinking a full second or so before the photo. It makes your eyes look alert and bright. That blink also moisturizes your eyes, so they glow a bit more from the light.

9) Relax your face and body. Take a deep breath and exhale a few times before the camera goes off.

10) Research has shown people have a “signature smile.” Most are unaware of it, so they don’t refine it. Get to know yours and polish it.

Now you are well on your way to showcasing your signature smile!

With a bit of practice, your photogenic smile will open doors for you even if you’re faking it. 

Do you have a great smile tip to share? Let us know.

the Surpizes smile on a nude woman
The surprised smile

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.