How to Get that Selfie-ready Smile for a Perfect Photo
In many ways, the social conventions for photos are an oddity. In one sense, the person being photographed wants to smile – presenting the best version of themselves for the lens. In another sense, though, it’s the last thing the person wants to do, feeling self-conscious and aware of all their faults.
For people who feel a little self-conscious, photo time is actively anxiety-inducing. Even people who happily snap off a selfie experience a little stress over the event. If you are worried about the appearance of your teeth or smile, never fear – there are quite a few things you can do to make those Kodak moments a little easier.
Knowing Your Smile Inside Out for a Great Selca
When you’re taking a photo, it’s not the smile itself that causes trouble; the teeth that peep out can be a bit of a problem, too.
Most health issues don’t affect your outward appearance. Unfortunately, many dental problems are easily visible.
For some people, teeth-straightening measures ensure they have the confidence to smile – but for others, staining and yellowing of teeth keep them self-conscious when a camera is pointed their way.
There’s nothing like a closed-mouth grin for making an awkward selfie smile.
If you are worried about the appearance of your teeth, the first person to consult should be your dentist. The remedy could be surprisingly simple – such as a quick clean to get rid of plaque build-up, or a period wearing braces to straighten wayward dentition.
There are other aspects to the appearance of teeth that might require more extreme fixes.
If you feel your teeth need a complete makeover – you might consider veneers or teeth-whitening products. In both cases, it’s very important to consult a dentist you trust, as both can have life-long implications for your dental health.
The Role of Diet in Smile Rehabilitation and Readiness for Photos
It’s a marvellous coincidence that the word to create the perfect smile is ‘cheese’.
Although the phrase ‘say cheese’ came to popularity independently of the dairy product. The calcium in cheese is a big part of what makes a beautiful smile.
Diet is vital to keeping your teeth and gums healthy for a beautiful smile, and calcium is central to the structures that keep your teeth perfect and in place.
The phrase ‘say cheese’, in relation to photography, is thought to have been promoted by a US ambassador or possibly US President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
It was useful in a time when people were transitioning from the solemn-looking portraits of early photography to the smiling images we’re familiar with today. Whoever it was that came up with the term… they unconsciously linked one of the more important elements of smiling with its effects.
A good smile relies on not just sparkling teeth, but the gums and bones to support them.
For healthy gums and bones, you need a good diet – one that provides a good level of calcium and phosphorus and vitamin D, too. These three elements work together to keep your bones strong, which in turn keeps your teeth in place and looking good for that happy snap moment.
While diet is an ongoing contributor to your dental health, cheese – or rather dairy products – contribute to keeping your teeth healthy in the short-term, too. The effects of sugary foods can be neutralised to some extent when you eat dairy products, as they help to fight tooth decay. Saying ‘yes’ to cheese before you ‘say cheese’ can keep your smile on track.
Simple Selfie Smile Tips
Once you’ve got the basic ingredients of your smile sorted. It’s time to start showing it. The perfect selfie smile might not happen because you feel confident about your teeth: if that’s the case, some ‘smile strategies’ might be what you need.
- Chew some sugar-free gum. Not only will chewing gum loosen up a possibly stiff mouth for a more relaxed selfie smile – it can have a teeth-cleaning effect.
The UK’s Oral Health Foundation notes that although chewing gum can never be considered a replacement for twice-daily brushing, it’s a good stand-in for moments when you need a fresher mouth feel. The sugar-free part of the gum is vitally important! Putting extra sugar in the mouth’s environment will only contribute to plaque build-up and tooth decay.
- Location, location. Once you know your own presentation is correct, check what your environment is going to contribute to the shot. It’s not the landscape that leads to the perfect photo – in most cases, the lighting is what affects the camera most. If you don’t have enough light for a good shot, make adjustments by stepping into or out of shade, making use of street lights, lamps and signs, or – in desperate cases – get a friend to aim their phone torch your way.
- Blink. Your mouth isn’t the only part of your body involved in smiling: your eyes convey your smile, too. Staring at a camera while you organise a photo can give your eyes a dried-out feel and leads to a deadened look when the snap is taken. Solve the problem by blinking quickly a few times just before the photo is taken. This not only replenishes the moisture in your eyes, it helps you avoid the panicked ‘was I blinking in that photo’ moment.
- Resist the urge to duck your head. When you’re feeling shy or uneasy, it’s a natural reaction to tuck your chin under and look up. Unfortunately, this is a bad look for any selca, as it creates double chins and can cast unflattering shadows. Raise your chin slightly to look directly at the camera to avoid this trap.
- Practice in front of a mirror. All those people shining on social media don’t just naturally know how to smile for photos. They spend as much time worrying about their smile as anyone else does. What’s their secret? It’s not so much technique, or some hidden insider knowledge, as practice which boosts their confidence and results in those amazing selfie shots.
How to Take the Fake Out of Those Selfie Smiles
You think you’ve got it: the right set up, clean, perfect teeth, bright eyes and a fresh face. So why do your selfies still have that fake selfie smile look?
If your photo-ready smile is still looking false, it might be something to do with your motivation! While in general, smiling is a great look for a photo, not all smiles have good connotations.
“Of 19 different types of smile, only six occur when we’re having a good time,” the science-focussed BBC ‘Future’ publication notes. “The rest happen when we’re in pain, embarrassed, uncomfortable, horrified or even miserable. A smile may mean contempt, anger or incredulity, that we’re lying or that we’ve lost.” That’s a lot of messages that can be transmitted in one simple gesture!
Fake smiles are so easy to spot because they are physically different to genuine smiles.
A natural smile is called a ‘Duchenne smile’, named after French doctor Guillame Duchenne, who performed significant research into the science of smiles. Duchenne found that smiles involve two muscles – the zygomatic major, which moves the mouth, and the orbicularis occuli which moves the facial area near the cheeks. Only the mouth can be moved voluntarily – meaning that a faked smile won’t involve both sets of muscles.
A genuine smile is visibly different because the cheeks get involved, giving that distinctive eye crinkling that adds a bit of twinkle when taking a photo.
With less than 50% of your range of smiles indicating happiness, you might need to work past the stress of the selfie moment to get to the real smile underneath.
Here’s How to Get a Camera-ready Smile:
- Give yourself some time – rushing will only make you more nervous. If the environment you are in is distracting, close your eyes to give yourself the space you need.
- Boost your confidence a little with a final face check – brushing your teeth is good for more than your dental health. A final, quick brush of your teeth and a last look in a mirror can improve your feeling of confidence because your mouth will feel fresh and clean. Plus you’ll be certain there isn’t anything between your teeth!
- Breathe deeply– breathing helps to reduce stress and can provide you with a feeling of being centred. Relaxing your shoulders and neck muscles helps to relax your jaw and smile. Giving all those tight face muscles can take a moment to relax for a more natural smile.
- Think of something that makes you happy – whether it’s a pile of playful puppies, or a joke that always makes you laugh, a happy thought can be the trigger for that genuine, Duchenne smile just before the shutter clicks that pic.
- Distract yourself – blow air out of your lips, shake your head and do some tongue twisters to get rid of any rigid physical posture. While it’s hard to forget the camera is there… have you ever marvelled at how those photos when you didn’t know someone was taking your picture seem to come out looking OK?!
- Turn the camera into a person – digital technology is not particularly inspiring in terms of happiness and affection. Change the way you look at the camera by picturing someone you like being behind the lens. Believe it or not, if you’re looking at someone you like and trust, your expression becomes more naturally happy.
- If all else fails, find something to laugh about – the above strategies are great if you’re in the right frame of mind, but it’s not always possible to think yourself into a smile. Locate a couple of songs or a YouTube clip that make you laugh, and keep them on hand for moments when you can’t smile. (Comedy songs work well because you can listen to them while you’re taking that selfie.)
How to Have a Killer Photo-ready Smile: The Ultimate Secret
Preparation is only useful to a point when it comes to photography. Photos capture a single moment in a series of ongoing moments. The secret shared by professional photographers and social media superstars alike is: take a lot of photos.
Although the final product we see on a computer screen or in a frame may look perfect, most of the best photographs come from a huge number of shots being taken at the same time. When you’re snapping a selfie, keep on taking shots and checking the results to give yourself plenty of options when it comes to selecting the perfect image.
How Selfies can Improve Your Smile
Selfies undoubtedly look better when you have a beautiful, confident smile – but did you know that the reverse could also be true?!
Researchers are now looking into how smiles can improve with selfies. Lance Vernon, a dental academic, talked about a study he and two other researchers developed which used the novelty of selfies to improve toothbrushing technique.
“The thought was that by using selfies, participants were more self-conscious about changing their ingrained toothbrushing approach and so may have been better able to ‘override’ their habitual way of brushing,” he said. “Also, the participants may have had more fun or been more curious about doing a sometimes mundane task.”
Even if you don’t feel like snapping a quick pic mid-brushing session, there’s no doubt that in forcing you to pay attention to your smile, selfies are good for you.
By taking the time to recognise what you like and don’t like about your smile, you can improve not just your look, but your dental health – and that will provide benefits that last even longer than a snapshot to go up on your social media account.Leave a reply →