Plus-Size Modeling Tips

Modeling Advice: How to Convey Facial Expressions

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Is beauty alone ever enough for a good photograph? With the concept of beauty being largely debated today (and rightfully so), we have seen models and even common people going viral today not because of physical appearance but because of an un-explainable, captivating charm in photos. What was considered as beauty then is not the main criteria of a good photograph now. It’s the model’s pose and, most importantly, facial expressions. If you still have inhibitions in expressing certain emotions and flaunting your best angles, the camera will be your worst enemy. 

It’s highly important for a model to know how to use their face. Try these tips out to feel more comfortable in projecting various emotions.

Modeling Tips: Conveying Various Facial Expressions

Face the mirror.

Modeling Advice: How to Convey Facial Expressions - Face the Mirror
Holly Bissonnette |

Allot around 20 to 30 minutes to familiarize yourself with projecting various facial expressions or emotions:

  • Happiness
  • Sadness
  • Surprise
  • Anger
  • Frustration
  • Jealousy
  • Fear
  • Disgust
  • Contempt
  • Anxiety
  • Confidence
  • Optimism
  • Loneliness
  • Flirtatiousness

Focus on different options for every emotion in each area of your face: eyes, mouth, nose, cheeks, eyebrows, and angles. Try a few muscle tensions or tilts, and “edit” each part of your face until you are pleased with your projection.

Now try spending another 20 minutes expressing emotions and using your hands on your face.

  • Under your chin
  • On your cheek
  • Covering your mouth
  • Behind your head
  • In your hair
  • Moving and shaping your hair

Altering your emotions and hands in front of the mirror is simply like practicing yourself for the moment when you’re finally in front of a camera.

Practice your facial expressions on camera.

Modeling Advice: How to Convey Facial Expressions - Practice your facial expressions on camera
Holly Bissonnette |

This time, take pictures of yourself projecting every facial expression above. Place a mirror behind the camera first to guide you into “memorizing” your expressions. Check your shots once in a while, and move into removing the mirror. Take more shots until your comfortable with your facial expressions.

Look away.

A model’s line of sight can dramatically change the mood of a photo and the audience’s interaction or reaction with it. Looking right into the camera pulls them in and talks to them. If you look somewhere else, they’ll be observing. This ties in with facial expression. If you are smiling at an object, you are going to come across as content with it. A distant, dreamy stare may convey yearning. A focused line of sight may be interpreted as curiosity.

Take the challenge further this time by not looking into the mirror or the camera. Use your camera’s timer or remote if you have one to snap shots of you looking away. Work on angles and the best lines of sight that work with your eyes.

Invite a model friend in.

Modeling Advice: How to Convey Facial Expressions - Invite a model friend in
Holly Bissonnette |

Try your knack at chemistry and receptiveness with a friend. There are modeling gigs that will require you to pose with other models (e.g., editorial modeling, print modeling, promotional modeling, etc.), so you might as well be prepared for that. Posing with other models trains your confidence, teaches you chemistry, and exposes you to emotional stimuli. You will be reacting to another emotion this time instead of producing a facial expression all by yourself. Envision moods together and project different themes or poses that synchronize with each other.

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