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The Anatomy of a Photogenic Face

I admit that I’m very un-photogenic. Even my own mother tells me so. “Why do you look so bad in pictures? Practice how to pose in front of the mirror!” Perhaps it’s my natural awkwardness and/or low self-esteem manifesting itself on film. Or maybe I just don’t have the face for it.

Being an artiste, I’ve studied human anatomy and the human form many times (heck I had to stare at naked bodies for 8 hours straight every Saturday for an entire summer). Working in marketing, I sometimes have to pour through hundreds of photos, examining face after face. And I’ve noticed that there are certain features that definitely makes one easier to draw, or more pleasing to the eye when photographed:

  1. Large eyes with dark, thick lashes
  2. Small chin on women, large chin on men
  3. Full, thick lips
  4. Fairly symmetrical features

This isn’t too surprising. After all, these are the same features that scientists have declared to be what we, as humans, find the most attractive in the opposite sex.

I’m sorry to say that I don’t have any of those features. I have small eyes with non-existent eyelashes, thin lips, and a strong, prominent (masculine) jawline. However, I believe that these features “work” for me. I don’t have classically beautiful features, but I have been described as being “exotic” several times. There have even been instances where strangers have stopped me on the street to tell me that I’m beautiful (and not in a shady, I’m-hitting-on-you way).

Nonetheless, the fact remains that I still don’t photograph well due to these features.

I know a girl (I won’t mention her name lest she gets embarrassed) who is drop-dead gorgeous in real life, and many people agree with me. However, the very features that give her the unforgettable, exotic look (upturned almond-shaped eyes, slightly asymmetrical face) make her look horrible in pictures.

I also know of some people who look fabulous on film (thinner, younger, and generally more attractive) but they don’t look that great in real life. I often find myself comparing their pictures with their real-life-selves and wondering how they could look so good in pictures, even better than they are in real life. And I see that they have the same exact features I’ve outlined above.

There are also those who look exactly the same on film and in person.

Which category do you think you fall under? Are you happy with the way you look on film? Do you think you’re unphotogenic?

Also, if you want to know my opinion of whether I think you’re photogenic, leave me a comment and I’ll let you know.