“I don’t like my smile.”

Being a portrait photographer, I hear this phrase a lot, and it makes me kind of sad hearing that from such beautiful people. I’m not talking about fashion and beauty models, I’m talking about everyday people like you and me.

Did you know that the average person looks at themselves in the mirror less than 50 seconds a day? 50 seconds. That means for the other 86,350 seconds, most likely someone else is looking at you. Your best friend, neighbor or co-worker probably sees you more than you do. And, what’s more important, they haven’t thought of you any differently of the way you look, your smile, your laugh, and your natural beauty. They see your naturally crooked smile, your squinty eyes, the not-so-straight teeth, all of it, and they don’t judge you.

Why is that? Because what goes with all those is your personality and your beautiful soul that shines through you. And while this is all happening, the last thing you’re thinking about is how you look while you’re smiling and laughing, right? Can you think of the last time you thought about that?

I’ve seen this becoming more of an issue with the selfie phenomenon. Apps like Instagram and Snapchat aren’t helping this cause at all. Because of the front-facing cameras on our smartphones, we are able to see exactly how we WANT to look before we snap the photo. We can change the position of the camera (usually higher than your face to get the naturally thinner look), change the angle of your head (to give yourself a more chiseled bone structure), and adjust the muscles in the face to make ourselves more beautiful in our own eyes. The problem with this is that while it may be how you want your friends/followers to think you look, you actually don’t look like that, which makes it seem that photos of you taken by other people are always really bad, but the reality is, THAT is exactly what everyone else sees, and they LOVE it.

The idea is to get your personality to shine through during your session. If you come into the session thinking ‘I always take bad pictures’ or ‘I’m not very photogenic’, that’s the personality that is going to show in those pictures. Plus, not only are you being too hard on yourself, you’re making it hard on the photographer to document the true you.

So, next time you’re getting your picture taken, go in with the mindset that you’re a beautiful person, inside and out, and you want to show everyone how beautiful you are. Think of something that makes you smile; your pet, significant other, a joke, etc. This will hopefully take your mind off of the way you think you should look and will naturally bring out your beautiful smile.

Now that you’ve got that to think about, I’ll leave you with this:

“Be yourself, everyone else is taken.”

Oscar Wilde

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