Any Tips For Smiling Naturally In Front Of The Camera?

1-2-3-“Say cheese!” It’s a recipe for self-consciousness, given the prolonged introduction and all eyes on you. So how do you prep for a picture with a smile that looks fresh—not staged or strained? Read on to learn what the pros have to say.

Willie Greer

Willie Greer

Willie Greer is the founder of The Product Analyst. A cinephile, he has made it a personal quest to achieve the most admirable home theater possible.

Do not think [about the] camera

This might be the most difficult tip I can ever give, but the most effective. Believe me. People get conscious thinking they should look formal and be at their best when in front of a camera, which is what brings the uncomfortable feeling. But when you break free and let yourself out, without thinking what you might look like or how your face might register in the camera, your photo will be captured with the most authentic aura and smile.

Mike Miller

Mike Miller

Mike Miller is the founder of Wilderness Times. After realizing he was spending way too much time in front of a laptop and not enough time in nature, he decided to do something about it.

Think of something funny

My number 1 tip for having a warm, natural smile is to think of something funny. Everybody smiles when they laugh, so why try to reinvent the wheel?

The problem then arises that it's hard to laugh on command. I totally understand that, but I still recommend trying to make yourself laugh.

The reason is that when you think of something funny, you're not going to start hootin' and hollerin' and crying because you're laughing so hard. Sorry, there's no way you can trick yourself into doing that, but by imaging a funny phrase or situation, you can make yourself at least chuckle. Lo and behold, even with a slight giggle, you'll flash a natural, happy, smile—effortlessly.

The best things to think about to make you laugh are funny situations, memes, jokes, words, or people. Physical humor works well, too, so maybe you just imagine the cameraman falling. Either way, I recommend you spend some time on YouTube finding what content makes you laugh. Then, think back to those comedic clips to smile on command.

Dave Bowden

Dave Bowden

Dave Bowden, Founder of Irreverent Gent, a men’s style specialist, an Amazon bestselling author, an unrepentant introvert, a long-suffering Toronto sports fan, and the husband of an incredibly wonderful (if equally long-suffering) wife.

Envision your favorite person

To give a natural, genuine smile for the camera, close your eyes before taking the picture and think of a person you love deeply, or a memory you cherish. It's important to close your eyes so you can picture this person or memory as vividly as possible. Remember the details and focus on what you love about that person or that moment in time; insert yourself into that memory as much as you can.

When you focus on a person or memory you truly cherish, you'll find that you can't help but smile.

After reaching the point where you feel so warm and happy envisioning your favorite person or memory, open your eyes and let the camera do its thing. Your smile will be as natural – and as glowing – as it gets.

Albert Lee

Albert Lee

Albert Lee, Founder of Home Living Lab, a company centered on home improvement solutions.

Think of something that makes you happy

The most natural way to smile for the camera is to simply think of something that makes you happy and smile in real life. A routine that I practice is to look down, close my eyes, and think back to something that I had a good laugh about. It could be my dog goofing around or my son saying something cheeky. A smile will naturally appear on my face. That is the moment where I lift up my head and open my eyes to give that perfect smile for the camera.

Julie Ann Dokowicz

Julie Ann Dokowicz

Julie Ann Dokowicz is the CEO and Creative Director of Girl in Heels Travels, a creative agency providing content creation to brands and business, and an on camera/video coach for beginner

Clearly picture someone you love

Elevate your mental, physical and emotional state before hopping on camera - this could include exercising, having a phone call with someone who makes you happy/makes you laugh, having a solo dance party before going on camera. All of these things will elevate your emotional state, and you will naturally be inclined to smile more once you get on camera.

The other tip I suggest is getting imaginative and pretending that someone you know and love is right down the barrel of the lens. This is a huge trick many actors and hosts use because it changes our energy entirely. When you can clearly picture someone who is a joy in your life, you will instantly begin to smile more without even trying.

Rex Freiberger

Rex Freiberger

Rex Freiberger, CEO, Discuss Diets.

Remind yourself to relax

This can be a tough one. If you aren't trained in it, you're probably trying too hard and coming across as fake. When we focus on what our facial muscles are doing, we have a tendency to constrict them which immediately reads as unnatural.

The best thing you can do is first relax. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, consciously relax your facial muscles. Pull up the image of something that makes you happy in your mind and focus on that for at least 30 seconds. Let your smile come naturally, then open your eyes and proceed with the camera.

This is easier said than done. It can take practice. Don't get discouraged, just remind yourself to relax. A relaxed smile will look a lot more convincing than a tight one.

Gaurav Dhir

Gaurav Dhir

Gaurav Dhir is a lover of words and has spent most of his life studying interesting topics just so he can write about them. He is the editor and researcher of all health and lifestyle-related topics at Help and Wellness.


Practice makes perfect, and who would have guessed that also goes for smiling in front of a camera.

If you often find yourself in front of a camera and want to appear naturally, then you should practice it over and over again in front of a mirror. Find the perfect smile you want to present and repeat it every night in the mirror before bed. Then do it every time you walk by a mirror or have a few minutes of free time.

Celebrities and models practice their smile and that’s how they are able to have it appear so naturally for long periods of time when they are in front of a camera.

It sounds weird that practicing a fake smile will make it appear more natural in front of a camera, but it’s true—just like if you were to juggle or skateboard in front of a camera.

Samantha Moss

Samantha Moss

Samantha Moss, Editor & Content Ambassador at Romantific.

Wear your confidence

Think about something that makes you happy. The happiness inside you will make your smile more natural and will give your audience some positive vibes.

Prepare for it. Being at your best before facing the camera will help you gain more confidence. Wear your favorite shade of lipstick, color of tie or set of accessories. [This] will help you achieve the confidence you need. The more confident you are, the more natural-looking smile you’ll express.

Sonya Schwartz

Sonya Schwartz

Sonya Schwartz, Founder of Her Norm.

Relax your face

When you smile in front of a camera, it is important to not make your smile look awkward but to make your smile look natural.

Relax in front of the camera. When you’re nervous, not only will your smile look awkward, but even your actions will look awkward. So, stay calm and relaxed in front of the camera.

Release the tension from your face. It is easier to pull off a natural smile with a relaxed face. Try to relax your forehead, release your brow, and unclench your jaw.

Shari Smith

Shari Smith

Shari Smith, a Business Coach and Founder of Shari-sells.

Be genuinely happy at that moment.

To be able to smile naturally, you have got to be truly happy about what you’re currently doing. Because if you’re not, no matter how many lessons you take or how many rules you follow, the smile wouldn’t appear as natural as a genuine smile that comes from the inside.

Think happy thoughts. Do you know those random moments in life where you just pause and smile effortlessly? Mimic those moments when in front of the camera by reminiscing [about] the last thing that made you happy.

Gintaras Steponkus

Gintaras Steponkus

Gintaras Steponkus, Founder, Blogger & Editor of CameraHarmony.

Here’s the Hollywood trick

I prefer money over cheese. It’s a Hollywood trick to say “money” instead of “cheese” as it clearly defines the lip shape with a perfect smile that looks more natural. I believe money brings more happiness than cheese and so the shoot turns out perfect.

Play a song and dance with joy. Good music is a good mood, and a few dance moves can bring more joy to your mood. When you get in a good mood, that time is best to pose for the shoot. The pictures will also come out tastier.

Smile randomly. The clicks that are random look more natural, and the results are better than the clicks that are posed by the photographer. Whether you smile or giggle randomly, the pictures will always be great and joyful.

Emily Pantelides

Emily Pantelides

Emily Pantelides, President of Pantelides PR & Consulting, one of the best-recognized public relations brands in her area. Emily still hosts television shows on her local CBS affiliate.

Few tips from the pros

I've spent 12 years on camera, and the one thing I can tell you is that staring into an emotionless black box and pretending that makes you happy is anything but natural. From an early age, we are taught to, "Say cheese" when the camera clicks, but the truth is, it's hard.

How do you smile naturally? There are a few tips the pros know that you should too.

First, this one is simple, but practice makes perfect. The more you smile on camera, the better you get at it.

Secondly, stare at yourself. This doesn't make you vain, it makes you pick up nuances that you can't exactly feel. What that means is, you probably can't feel that your smile is too big, but when you see it over and over again you may say a little less gum showing here, or a little more teeth showing looks good.

Lastly is contrary to everything you may think, but I want people to feel a little forced. Yes, feeling a bit unnatural will turn into feeling natural. Your natural smile that was so cute as a kid may not actually be your best look.

After reviewing yourself, see what you think looks best. Is your best look a half-smile? Is your best look a smile from the side? Decide what looks best and then force it and then pretty soon your forced smile will become a habit which will become natural and then you will look like your very best self.

Michael James Nuells

Michael James Nuells

Michael James Nuells is a professional actor & special events manager residing in Toluca Lake, CA. He was recently featured in international news stories for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Yahoo! Lifestyle. Find him here: MichaelJamesNuells

Natural Smiles are Equal to Better Photos

My favorite and most authentic tips for smiling naturally in front of the camera are to simply be yourself and always remember that you have nothing to lose.

These are just photos/videos, so you should take comfort in the fact that you can always have redos if you ever need them. When in front of the camera, show the joy and happiness that come from within.

In addition, show your teeth, smize, get a little goofy, and always keep in mind things that make you happy and want to smile. I personally even go as far as picturing the person behind the camera as someone I have a crush on, who makes me feel giddy and excited to be around at that moment. Getting into a proper pose and posture that also works for you personally is a tremendous help.

When you feel comfortable, you will look comfortable, and this will translate on camera as smiling and showing off those beautiful teeth, nice cheekbones, amazing facial features, etc.

Larry H. Oskin

Larry H. Oskin

Larry H. Oskin, President of Marketing Solutions / Art Beautique. He has been a successful professional commercial and fine art photographer for over 40 years.

Smile naturally and look great on camera

Smiles. Art direct your models. I love happy-faced model photographs. Some people are challenged to pose with a natural-looking smile. Ask them to practice with some selfies at home before you shoot together.

Facial Expressions. Have your models smile big with and without teeth showing. Have them try to pose happily with a smile, and their eyes open, directed away, up and down. Try a few happy shots with their eyes closed. Have them pose in a variety of facial expressions from happy and serious to sad and excited.

Pose Positions. It is important to pose your models from at least three different angles. Have your model turn sideways to look over one shoulder, then the other, before facing square on to the camera.

Body Expressions. Look up creative body language and pose ideas on the Internet. Cut out preferred poses from magazines and print out potential poses you find on the Internet to use as a reference for you and your models.

Eye Expressions Are Essential. Try having your models look off to each side, up, down, and with their eyes closed, besides looking straight into the camera.

Wardrobe. Solid colors are always the best. Black can be slimming for your models. Avoid stripes and plaids. Avoid excessively loud and large jewelry. Try at least 3 different outfits for each portrait shoot.

Hair & Makeup. This is extremely important. Make sure your female models have makeup to further accentuate their facial portrait imagery.

Backgrounds. Try shooting both indoors and outdoors. Use a variety of wall textures, bright solid colors, and interesting background options. Poses can be in front of a very old rustic door or a beautiful field of sunflowers.

Props. Ask your models to bring a few props, like flowers, balloons, flags, a small pet, or a few of their favorite items for a few extra poses.

Creative Lighting. Use a flash indoors or outdoors. Never have strong light like a sunrise, sunset or window behind the model, unless you are using a fill flash. Try some Renaissance lighting with a darker room and only one light tightly directed towards their face. Try using romantic candles.

More Is Better. I always shoot as many extra photos (dozens or hundreds) as possible.

Art Direction. Have a plan. Don’t just have the model stand there in front of you – telling them to smile, while you randomly take a few quick candid snapshots. Be prepared by using these basic tips and researching other creative ideas.

Post Shoot Creativity. Try turning your traditional portrait photos into fine art photography by posterizing and adding some creative special effects with your computer.

John Frigo

John Frigo, Digital Marketing Lead at

Imagine someone you like

While there are some fortunate individuals who the camera just loves, and who love being in front of the camera, I think many of us struggle to smile naturally on camera as well as to just be comfortable on camera. While I don’t consider myself an influencer or Youtuber, due to my role in marketing for my job, as well as a lot of freelance work I do, I tend to be on camera a fair bit, and I’m not someone super comfortable on camera.

Some tips for being more natural on camera are to relax your jaw muscles, think about something funny or something that makes you happy, imagine someone you like or are comfortable with behind the lens or even look just above and beyond the lens if the lens itself gives you that “deer in the headlights” feeling.

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