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Tips on smiling for pictures

Yeah, we’re about teeth. But we’re really about smiles. And we think you should feel 100% comfortable showing yours off when the lens is pointed in your direction and you’re smiling for pictures. Of course, that’s easier said than done for some people. So if you’re not a big fan of your “photo face,” have a look at these tips.

Keep your eyes closed until right before the pic is taken

It’d be great if smiling was our mouths’ natural state, but it’s not. In fact, it takes 10 facial muscles to do it, and the longer you hold them, the more tense they become, leading to that forced expression when people are smiling for pictures. So close your eyes, put your head down and clear your mind. Between two and three of the “one…two…three, pick your head up and smile. You’d be holding it for over 200% less time.

Forget cheese when smiling for pictures

Saying cheese stretches your lips out unnaturally, which is why people who say it for photos look like they have a mini coat hanger in their mouths. Try a two-syllable word with an “ee” sound at the end so you hold the “ee” for less time. Honey. Charlie. Funny. They all work.

Shake out your cheeks

When your face tightens in anticipation, your cheeks are the first to constrict because they have the largest surface area. So you’ll want them loose, loose, loose. We recommend letting them go and shaking your head. Maybe you make a noise of some kind when you do (kids love that) or not, but do watch where you do that as it tends to send spit flying.

Have someone tickle you out of frame

For some people, this is the only way to get a genuine grin, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Obviously If you’re not ticklish, this won’t work for you when smiling for pictures.

Think of someone you love when smiling for pictures

Then think of the funniest or loveliest thing they’ve ever done in your presence, depending on the kind of picture you’re taking — funniest for a group shot with friends, loveliest for a solo or a two-person shot.

Look after your teeth

Way too many people don’t want to smile because their teeth are discoloured or crooked or chipped. We get it. And we can help. But so can you, by brushing, flossing, rinsing and keeping your teeth out of harm’s way. That means using a mouth guard when you play sports, not smoking and staying away from too much sugar.

And if all else fails…

Save this clip to your phone and watch it before every photo you’re in.