Sometimes even the best-looking people among us fail to take flattering pictures.
Often the culprit is body language — especially facial expression.
Frankly, even if you have the bone structure of a supermodel, if your facial expression makes people feel uncomfortable, they will not find your photo appealing.
What people do with their mouth in photos is a particularly tricky thing that can easily make or break a picture.
Here are some common mistakes that we see on Photofeeler.
1. Smile that’s drooping
You might recognize the picture above from a meme called “Hide the Pain Harold.”
In the picture, the main looks like he’s trying to smile. However, his upper lip is not turning up at the corners (like a U).
Often, this happens because the person is having difficulty in holding a fake smile, and it starts to droop.
Instead of looking happy, this sagging smile can read as a cringe, pain, or disgust.
One of two things happens subconsciously when people view a smile like this. Either they feel uncomfortable because they emphasize with what looks like pain, or they feel offended because it’s as if someone is looking at them with disgust.
Either way, when people see an expression like this, they find it uncomfortable to look at.
2. Smile that doesn’t reach the eyes
This is another way a forced smile can go wrong: when the mouth spreads into a smile but the rest of the face looks bored, scared, angry, etc.
A real smile isn’t just something you do with your mouth. A real smile causes the eyes to relax.
When the smile fails to reach the eyes, a big grin reads as definitively false. This can end up looking silly at best and sinister at worst.
3. Half-mouth smile
When a person is only smiling with half of their mouth, this expression reads as contempt (i.e. hatred) for the viewer. And as you can imagine, people find a contemptuous look off-putting and unattractive to look at.
Unfortunately, it’s very easy to end up with a half-mouth smile if you are attempting to force one. That’s because everyone has one side of their face that is easier to consciously control.
If you’re unable to feel happy enough to smile genuinely for a picture, you just might end up with a smile on the left side of your face but drooping on the right.
4. Pursed lips
This expression is sometimes mockingly referred to online as “duckface” or “duck lips.” It’s when you pout your lips into a kind of kissy face.
Sometimes people accidentally use this expression when they are trying to appear deep in thought or rebellious.
However, because of its association with party culture via US reality television characters like Jersey Shore’s Snooki and Pauly D, it can harm your impression significantly.
5. Disappearing lips
Are you smiling with your mouth closed, or is your face so tight that you’re actually rolling your lips inside your mouth, making them completely disappear from view?
It’s worth paying close attention to the difference.
That’s because the former comes across as casual and friendly, while the latter makes you appear angry, frustrated, or otherwise socially withdrawn. Therefore, tucking your lips in this way will result in a negative impression you could have avoided.
That concludes the common mistakes we see people make with their mouths in pictures. Put these tips to good use and we’ll see you on Photofeeler with your next batch of photos!