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What Makes People Photogenic? Experts Weigh In

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Discover the key features that make people more photogenic, according to photography experts, and learn valuable tips to enhance your photogenic qualities in front of the camera.

Introduction: Understanding Photogenic Beauty

Photogenic beauty refers to people who naturally photograph well, like celebrities Beyoncé and Bella Hadid. The term often sparks curiosity about what exactly makes certain individuals more photogenic than others. Our expert reveals that facial and bone structure play a significant role in photogenic appeal.

The Importance of Facial Structure

Having distinct features such as high cheekbones and a squared-off jaw can make a person more photogenic. These characteristics work better with natural light, creating a more flattering appearance in photographs. Arched eyebrows also contribute to photogenic appeal, as they lift and elongate the face, resulting in a more attractive look.

The Golden Ratio: A Mathematical Approach to Beauty

Another factor that can determine photogenic beauty is the Golden Ratio, a concept discovered during the European Renaissance. Initially used in architecture, the Golden Ratio has been applied to various fields, including math, art, and aesthetics. In the context of facial beauty, the Golden Ratio examines the distance between specific facial features and divides them by one another. An ideal face is said to be 1.5 times longer than it is wide, according to this ratio.

However, the experts emphasize that attractiveness and photogenic qualities are not mutually exclusive. A person can be considered attractive without necessarily being photogenic.

Tips to Enhance Your Photogenic Appeal

While some people may naturally possess photogenic features, there are ways to improve your photogenic qualities in front of the camera:

Know Your Angles

Find out which angles work best for your facial structure by practicing in front of a mirror. Different angles can highlight your unique features and create more flattering photographs.

Smile with Your Eyes

Tyra Banks, a former supermodel and host of America's Next Top Model, often encourages contestants to "smize" or smile with their eyes. Squinting your eyes slightly can create a softer, more inviting look in photographs.

Stay Relaxed

A tense demeanor can be easily picked up by the camera, resulting in stiff shoulders and awkward posture. Try to relax and let your shoulders drop for a more natural appearance in photos.

Place Your Tongue Behind Your Teeth When Smiling

For a more natural smile, place your tongue behind your teeth. This technique can help prevent an overly wide grin and create a more genuine expression.

Avoid Typical Poses

Instead of resorting to common poses, aim for more candid shots that showcase your personality. Ask someone to make you laugh or take photos while you're engaged in an activity to capture more natural, authentic moments.


While certain facial features and the Golden Ratio can play a role in determining photogenic qualities, it is essential to remember that beauty is subjective. By understanding the science behind photogenic appeal and incorporating expert tips, you can improve your photogenic qualities and feel more confident in front of the camera.

William H. McDaniel, MD

Dr. Robert H. Shmerling is the former clinical chief of the division of rheumatology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), and is a current member of the corresponding faculty in medicine at Harvard Medical School.

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