Join me on a journey of bad teeth, how to smize in photos and self love. First up sorry about the heading. I use the term ‘bad teeth’ mainly because that’s what people will be searching for and I want to speak to them. It’s not a value judgement.
This is a subject close to home as I used to have terrible teeth. Through a combination of bad genetics, a sweet tooth, and a lack of money I ended up with a mouth I wasn’t proud of.
I know I’m not alone with teeth worries. People carry a lot of shame about their teeth and the world is not kind to them. Like people with weight issues, society deems it generally acceptable to make people with bad teeth the butt of jokes.
I’m going to speak loudly for those in the back: bad teeth are not a moral failing. People with bad teeth are not bad people. Dental work is horrendously expensive. I was lucky I could raid my superannuation to get mine fixed. But I’m well aware not everyone is able to do that. I often joke I won’t be able to retire but at least I’ll die with good teeth. And I’m not really even joking.
So I’m here for you. How to work around them and still shine in photos? You know I used to get compliments on dating apps for my lovely smile and I never showed my teeth? I mean besides taking any compliment on a dating app with a grain of salt. But this works.
The smize is the secret sauce. Tyra Banks of America’s Next Top Model fame coined the term. It’s also known by a few other names – the squinch being one. Though the squinch is more an eye squeeze without the smile. Many photographers swear by the squinch but I’ve never had much luck with it and am not really a big fan. I think it usually comes off as contrived. But that might be a topic for another blog post.
I often tell headshot photography clients, we carry awkwardness in three places in photos – the eyes, the mouth and the hands. A lot of what I do is working around these three areas to reduce the awkwardness. Photography is a lot of smoke and mirrors really.
So how does it work if you want to smile with no teeth? First up smile with your mouth but don’t show teeth. Don’t go over the top. Too much and your face will look forced. It’s important you pair the eye smize with the mouth smile otherwise you’ll just look like um, you’re trying to poo. Sorry but it’s true.
For the eye part, gently squeeze the top and bottom muscles of your eyes – like you are about to start closing them. Not too much, just a little. Too much and it will look like a squint. While you do it, keep a lovely warm expression in your eyes and face. Like you are looking at someone you love.
Be very careful not to overdo the eye squeeze part. Don’t look like you are straining. A gentle squeeze of the upper and lower muscles.
It can take a bit of practice to get it right but trust me it’s worth it. When you get it right you’ll have so much more confidence when you are in photos and you won’t be worrying about your teeth showing or looking miserable.
If want one on one coaching on this technique, you’re in Melbourne and need new headshots jump over to Photoform* and check us out. We’ll help you elevate your online presence with our personality driven headshots and personal branding photography.