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Smile In Your Photos, Damn It.

Smile in your photos, damn it.

I don’t understand people who never smile in their photos. Like… ever. As far as I can gather, there are two kinds of people who don’t smile.

Those who hate smiling.

And those who hate their smiles.

Or maybe those who hate bluebirds and butterflies and every wonderful thing in this world.

To the first, smile anyway! Nothing is lamer in could-have-been-awesome photos than one person who never smiles. It takes away a good chunk of the happiness of the entire photo (imho.). Why do people do it? Do they think smiling shows weakness? Do they think not smiling makes them look cool or tough or ready to take-on the devil on stilts? Well, it doesn’t, it doesn’t, and it doesn’t. To me, it makes the person not smiling look like a jerk, a sad person, a grumpy person, a wannabe, or a soulless person who would sooner eat a bluebird and butterfly than enjoy looking at them.

To the latter, smile anyway! Are your teeth too yellow? Too crooked? Are your gums too prominent? Are you missing a tooth? Do you have a small animal living in there? Do you have a gap in your teeth that can be seen from space? Do you just feel like you look goofy when you smile? Well guess what… you don’t. Your smile looks way better than that attempt at covering up a smile. You know what I’m talking about… where you keep your lips together, flex the muscles in your cheek, and do everything you can to make sure no tooth ever makes an appearance. You probably do it when you’re laughing, too.

Ugh. Laughing with your mouth closed. Where’s the fun in that? (just ask our friend here.)

Seriously though… at the end of the day, do you want all photos of you to be photos that either a) ruin it for others or b) make you look insecure or douchebaggy? No, you’re going to want to see pictures that captured the moments in which you were truly happy. Moments you truly loved the people you were with. And, moments that were worth remembering.

Ironic, isn’t it. If you’re a non-smiler or a smile-hider, you’re probably going to feel more self conscious now. Well, that was my goal, I won’t deny it. I’m tired of people not smiling in the pictures I take.  I want to see your smile. Other people want to see your smile. We want to see it no matter how goofy it looks because guess what… it probably only looks goofy to you, and the people who really love you (and coincidentally whose photos you’re ruining) will never take second notice of anything but the awesomeness of your happiness. We want to see it no matter how un-tough you feel because guess what… you just look lame when you never smile.

Just smile in your photos, damn it. I want to remember the happiness for what it was. Gold teeth, gums, crookedness, little animals and all.

Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing

PS. Anybody else get seriously irked when people refuse to smile in photos? Are you one who refuses to smile? If so, why? And if so, why not start?

Oh, and if you’re bored, go read a great post about something a French guy taught me about smiling.

SDL’s Quote of the Day

“The robbed that smiles, steals something from the thief.”  ~William Shakespeare,Othello
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122 comments
name
name

No. It feels very fake. I fear it'll just end up looking stupid and not like a smile at all, I can't fake smiles. I don't think I can, anyway. And it just feels awkward.

Xindi
Xindi

My parent's are not good smilers. It's not that they're not happy people, they just don't smile for pictures. It makes me very sad when I look through my wedding photos, and don't have ONE of both of them smiling. We have a couple friends who were in the wedding party who didn't smile either. I try not to be bitter about it, because they are really nice, funny, intelligent people, but I still can't help but feel like I was cheated out of something on that wonderful, most important day of my life. 

Sam
Sam

Has anyone ever considered that some of us just don't walk around happy all the time? Honestly... I am not unhappy, but seldom feel happy enough to smile. I a single guy that runs my own business, household, raises 2 teenagers and lots of other stuff.  When I go out it's either to relax or because I was invited by family and really didn't want to be rude and decline (most of my family is the type to just ignore responsibilities and most have filed for bankruptcy to avoid their bills....they just say I am too serious), but I really don't want to be forced to try to conjure up a fake smile just to shut someone up. If I walked up to any woman I know and asked them to be fake and act slutty or unintelligent just to humor me they would be really mad, but when someone asks me to pretend to be happy and smile they think it's easy.  It is really not easy for some of us to fake a smile. Most guys I know do not walk around smiling all day. It's nothing against anybody. It has nothing to do with our mood. It just seems to take a lot of extra effort to be fake and smile for a photo. If you ever look at a photo of me smiling the first thing you might notice is my eyes.  They are not happy looking (at least I notice) and I've seen a lot of photos of others with big smiles and cold looking eyes.  If you really want to get a real smile take a candid photo of people when they are smiling for a actual reason. People need to stop nagging those of us who don't smile and just get better at taking pictures that look real. So tired of seeing everyone's vacation pictures where they have the same stupid pose in front of everything they can pose in front of. Same fake smiles and awkward poses. Would honestly rather see whatever it is that they thought was important enough to stand in front of in the first place.

AngelDR
AngelDR

I am sorry... My teeth are so messed up from meds I had to take as a small child then several pregnancies where I couldn't keep the prenatal vitamins down etc.... No money to fix them etc... (as a matter of fact I am sitting here right now with a tooth that broke in the front that is cutting my lip when I close my mouth over it). I am terribly embarrassed by this not to mention 99% of the time in pain and can hardly eat anything. No I am sorry as much as I would like to (smile) I will not show the world these teeth. It is embarrassing to even go into public and have to speak to a stranger because of this. 

mandymullins82
mandymullins82

I agree...I hate having my picture taken, but I always smile anyway :P. 
Not smiling makes a person look like they're taking a prison photo...

Angela Dillon
Angela Dillon

Hmm. This is one is hard. I don't know a time in my entire life in which I even DREAMED of being this happy; let alone experienced it. But....whew.....the shame that comes from looking at a photo of myself with my vampire-like fangs shoved halfway up into my nose with the gaps on either side.....that's hard to describe.

My teeth cause me such unease that, from early childhood, I fought to make sure that I never got 2nd place instead of first, that I never got a lower grade than anyone else in my class, and that I got more college degrees than any one person could ever need --- deliberately, intentionally and, I dare say spitefully --- all to compensate for this one hideous trait which rules my scrapbooks.

It doesn't help that my husband is the epitome of a Crest commercial. Not only is he PAINFULLY beautiful, his smile is SO perfect it makes dentists wonder how it happened. Literally. People just marvel at him. I appreciate where you come from, fellow photographer, but.....you might have to try and consider the innate pain, longing and humiliation which comes from having MY smile 6 inches from HIS in any documented manner.

Tiffani
Tiffani

This post is AWESOME!!! There's just something about seeing people with wonderful smiles on their faces in pictures--it always puts a smile on my face!! Haha. I'm one of those annoying people who smiles constantly...I'd have to dig pretty darn deep through my Facebook photos and photos on my computer to find pictures where I'm not smiling; and those pictures are usually taken without my knowing it. I don't think it's fake at all to smile for photos, if for no other reason than that they provide an opportunity for someone else to see your smiling face and feel warmer for a moment, and why wouldn't you want toe elicit that reaction?!

Wayne
Wayne

I am not embarassed by my looks or my smile, but I don't smile for for posed pictures because it feels phony, faked or contrived. Recently I was looking through some pictures with a female cousin, and she asked me why I never smile for pictures. I pointed out a couple of photos where I was smiling, but they were candid photos. so, if you want to get a picture of me smiling, take a picture of me where I am enjoying the moment and not faking it just because someone expects me to. also, it is very irritating to have someone walk up to me and  insist that I cheer up and smile.  The last person that did that to me told me to do this said that I looked angry I was not angry, but I told her if she did not quit insisting that I smile I would be angry very shortly.    

JennyMeadors
JennyMeadors

If you had ever been severely self-conscious of you smile/teeth, you wouldn't be asking. Might as well try forcing the glossophobic to give an commencement speech to thousands of people. It's cruel to insist they step so far out of their comfort zone if they're not ready yet - strictly for your benefit.

Anonymous Me
Anonymous Me

I have several friends who never smile and all look the same in their pictures, I am not sure why they do it.  Even when I try to get candid pictures of them, they look and strike a pose, which looks so unnatural of them so I never take it, but leave the camera focused and look away.  They think I'm not taking it anymore so they look away too, and go back to whatever they're doing.  THEN I take the picture, and they look genuinely happy and not-at-all fake like their pose.  They always hate those pictures tho.

 

I used to twist my mouth up weird in my pictures, because I have not-straight teeth and a bottom jaw that sticks out (I used to call it my "man-chin" and I am a woman, until my boyfriend got mad at me for hating on myself) and you couldn't tell if I was making a face, but to me that was better than having no facial expression at all.  I still like the way I look when I'm being all goofy and have my face all twisted up.

ARandomTeenager
ARandomTeenager

I know for a fact that I don't smile in my pictures. Why? Because I need to actually feel happy in order to have a real smile. I can't force a smile, or else it doesn't feel right. Although when I think about it, I'm with my relatives, which I'm supposed to love, but I don't really like, so yup...it's tough x_x

HollyMetzger
HollyMetzger

My biggest pet peeve is people hating their pictures taken! I'll admit I look WAY WAY different than what I wished I did! I have to remind myself that in the end it doesn't matter what I think, the pictures are for my kids and I know for a fact they'll never look back on a picture and thing "dang, Mom, I'd love this picture if you were only 30 pounds thinner." <3

SamanthaMorrow
SamanthaMorrow

I'm one of those people. I admit it. I give a little small smile but I don't just open up and laugh-smile. I'm just self conscious about it because I'm a chubby cheeked girl whose chubby cheeks get chubbier when I smile (and my eyes get chinkier). I weigh it in my mind and figure they'd rather have me half smiling with eyes than huge smile, no eyes. I could be wrong. It happened once.

Divorced Life
Divorced Life

When I was a kid my father made us pose for his amatuer photograhy habit. "Smile, smile, smile", he would shout. I always flash back to those memories whenever someone aims a camera my way, but smiling doesn't come easy.

Fatherhood Isn't For Wimps
Fatherhood Isn't For Wimps

I can't help but to smile. A smile is representative of what's going on with you on the inside..... Don't fake it...... Just eat some chocolate.... ; )

Jamie Lynn Joslyn Galloway
Jamie Lynn Joslyn Galloway

My husband almost never smiles in pictures. I think he's afraid the camera will steal his soul, haha!

Elise Loomis
Elise Loomis

I get a 404 page not found error, but I also get a cute picture of Noah to look at. I'm guessing it's somehow not uploaded on your website quite yet?

Mikki Joiner
Mikki Joiner

My fake smile is atrocious and I cant do a genuine smile just becuase the camera is pointing my way lol I try though, i try. soo my photos look rather funny usually

Cyndi Moore
Cyndi Moore

My boyfriend never smiles in his pictures. It drives me crazy! He says it always looks fake or forced, which I can understand. But come on! Pleeeeeease!!! Just one picture of us smiling together? Pretty please?

Janice Hofer
Janice Hofer

I look horrible in pictures if I'm aware they're being taken, since I almost always seem to end up grinning in a way that comes across as some sort of psycho-killer from a horror movie when people ask me to "smile for the camera!!". It doesn't look too bad in person, since it's usually just a flash of a grin, but I can't stand to look at most pictures of myself because I DO look crazy-in-the-bad-way.

The one exception is self-portraits (like my profile picture here) mostly because I can keep re-taking the shot until I look presentable. Thank goodness for digital cameras, or nobody would know what I look like. :-)

Brenda Hardie
Brenda Hardie

:D great read Dan! I agree wholeheartedly...need to see more people SMILING! Real, genuine, from the heart smiles!

Kathy Creger
Kathy Creger

Yes, sir - it's working now. And I agree - SMILE! :)

Single Dad Laughing
Single Dad Laughing

Grrr, this thing is frustrating. I think the servers must still be propagting.

Sarah Keitz
Sarah Keitz

Heh, only thing worse than no smile is that "I'm chewing glass" synthetic perfect family photo.....which is why I don't force my kids to do studio shots. I'd much rather have pictures of the candid moments of actual happiness :)

April Spicyhotsauce Coble
April Spicyhotsauce Coble

I have people ask me why I'm not smiling. BUT I AM SMILING!!! I can feel it. Why can't other people see it?

JoEllen Blevins
JoEllen Blevins

Google chrome isnt alowing me, either. Maybe it'll come through later as he gets the new site ironed out.

Stacy Lizotte
Stacy Lizotte

I love this! My ex used to tell me my smile was too big in all photos and I should just "smirk".... Needless to say, now I smile even bigger! ;) This article made my day! Thank you! :)

Nikki Dahlen
Nikki Dahlen

you're not smiling in your main photo. :/

Adoptive Mom to 2
Adoptive Mom to 2

My husband, just recently, stopped smiling a real smile in photographs. His is now the tight lipped, forced, cheeks moved up grimace instead of his genuine smile. This started a few months ago. It drives me up a wall and so I rarely have him in photos anymore. Even my kids ask why Dad isn't smiling. Sad :(

Selina Rupers
Selina Rupers

I totally agree. When my husband was a young child (about 10 years old) they were taking huge family reunion photos, and his aunt told him not to smile because his teeth were too crooked. :( He's never willingly smiled in a picture since then. The only smiles I get now are 100% candid he-didn't-know-I-had-a-camera-out-or-I-never-would-have-caught-that kind. Which are alright, but any where we pose for something with family or friends? No smile.

He even had braces for 3 years in high school, and now his teeth are all straight. But still no smiling. Now he tells himself it's because they're too yellow, or some other excuse.

Please people - think twice before you say something negative about someone! It may affect them for much longer than you could ever imagine.

via SDL's Facebook Page
via SDL's Facebook Page

When I was a kid my father made us pose for his amatuer photograhy habit. "Smile, smile, smile", he would shout. I always flash back to those memories whenever someone aims a camera my way, but smiling doesn't come easy.

Becki Jackson
Becki Jackson

Nine years ago, 5 of my 6 siblings had severe tooth problems (We told this joke a lot: Who invented toothpaste? Our family, cuz if it was invented by someone else, it would have been called Teethpaste). Every picture we had taken had at least 5 people in it who weren't smiling. Now all of them have dentures/beautiful smiles. Just before we were getting a family picture taken this weekend, I broke a tooth at the gum line, and they all told me not to smile because it would "ruin the picture". Guess what! I smiled bigger than the guy in your example :D I wanted to be able to say, "Remember when this picture was taken? I broke my tooth eating a piece of bread just a couple days before this."

Jenn
Jenn

AWESOME! Way to go! And KEEP SMILING!