There is more to the modeling world than the media lets on. If you want to find out what it really takes and how to manage your modeling career, then you've come to the right place! This blog is dedicated to the aspiring and already established models who live to defy the standards and stereotypes in order to make a place for themselves in this crazy industry.

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Answering a Reader Question #233

Katherine Wrote:

Hi Dania I have a question about snap shots to send to agencies. I was told by an agency to send pics in but to not smile in my pics my first question is why would they ask that. Why would they want a pic with out a smile and my second question is how do i take good pics with out smiling but i don't want to look mean or hard so can you clear this up for me how do i relax my face and still look nice and can you mention tips on how to take a good Polaroid please. 

Hey, Katherine! Each agency has its own reasons for asking for different types of photos. When it comes to snapshots in general, they want to see how photogenic you are in various expressions. Many people automatically smile in photos but many models do poses and expressions that don't involve smiling but instead have a more serious, closed-mouth look. So they want to get an idea of how well you photograph in as natural of a state as possible and how you look doing such an expression.

Feeling comfortable with seeing pictures of yourself not smiling is going to take some getting used to. However, instead of focusing on nitpicking how you will look in the photo, the important thing to keep in mind is that what you may think looks "mean" or "hard" may look perfectly fine to the agencies--remember they have a trained eye and look for certain things in models' snapshots that the average Joe or Jane wouldn't even think about, including yourself.

The best way to produce a good snapshot of yourself not smiling is to practice in the mirror. Try any or all of the following:

- Stand in front of the mirror and smile naturally. In your head count to 3 then close your mouth so that you aren't smiling.

- Stand in front of the mirror and don't smile, keeping your lips closed. Very softly blow through your mouth so that your lips part very, very slightly. This will give you a bit of a natural pout but not in a sad way...it also qualifies as a non-smile as long as your lips aren't parted too much.

- Study photos online of models who aren't smiling in their pictures and use them as reference when posing in the mirror.

You don't want to beat yourself up or over analyze this, however. Psyching yourself out will only make you frustrated, which will show up in the pictures. Unfortunately, Polaroids are meant to make people look unflattering--this is why agencies use them to judge a model's potential...any guy or gal who can pull off looking decent in a Polaroid is truly photogenic. My advice for tackling this is to also practice taking these kinds of pictures at home. Having good, even lighting will also allow you to photograph better. Dim, dark lighting creates shadows, which can emphasize parts of your face in a bad way. It is best to have a friend take your Polaroids for you so that you can focus on your posing and expression.

If it makes you feel better, many professional models' snapshots where they aren't smiling aren't very flattering. Trust me, even the pros don't look amazing in everything but again, that's not exactly the purpose of those kinds of photos--as I stated above, it is for agencies to see your bone structure, complexion and overall facial appearance in its most natural state possible.

Below are snapshots of a model where she's not smiling:

Hope that helps!


Jennifer said...

Hi Dania! My name is Jennifer and I'm 12. I have a quick questions, why do boys find it odd that a girl has a 6 pack? I have a baby one and its progressing everyday because of how much exercise i get. Any tips?

Alexis said...

Hey, I was just wondering, once you realize that you want to be a model, what's the first thing you do? How should I start?

Dania Denise said...

Hi, Jennifer! You'll find the answer to your question in its own post, titled "Answering a Reader Question #234." Thanks for reading!

Dania Denise said...

Hi, Alexis! You'll find the answer to your question in its own post, titled "Answering a Reader Question #235." Thanks for reading!

Nena said...

This helped a lot! Thanks!