Can someone be very beautiful in person, but not very photogenic?

Can someone be very beautiful in person, but not very photogenic?

Can someone be very beautiful in person, but not very photogenic? What does Photogenic mean? What makes these mysterious differences? How to be photogenic? Is there any simply tricks for ordinary people, like you and me, to look photogenic? (Click HERE to check Black Friday Sales, up to 50% off)

When being asked that can someone be very beautiful in person, but not very photogenic, most people would give the “YES” answer. There are some people around us look beautiful but not photogenic. What makes thing even more shocking is the opposite that some photogenic people do not surprise you in real life.


What is the reason behind this strange phenomenon? Are there any scientific explanations? 

3D Person VS. 2D Picture

Firstly we should figure out what is the difference between the real-life person and the picture. The real-life person we see every day is 3D, but the picture is 2D. The reason why there are extreme photographic effects lies in this presentation with different dimensions. 

The different way the brain and the camera work causes this diverse effect. Our brain has its own processing principles. It instructs the eyes to capture the information it needs from what we see, the facial features, the expression, and the movement. It does not have many relationships with light and shadow.  

However, a camera works in a totally different way. To make things clear, we should have a brief introduction of what photography is and what matters most in a picture. The word “photography” comes from the Latin words “photos” (light, clarity) and “graphein” (to draw, write, paint), which means photography is an art of lighting creation. Therefore, light and shadow play a very important role in photography.

Based on the light-creation theory, it is easier to understand why some people are photogenic. Their facial features and bone structure capture light well and are more likely to create a flattering shadow under the shooting lights. That’s also why angular faces are usually photogenic. They are much less to flatten out in the transition to 2D picture.


Although angular faces are more likely to be photogenic, it does not mean that round faces can not be photogenic. There are lots of professional models that have rounder faces and still manage to be extremely photogenic.

Genuine smiles

It is obvious that a smiling picture seems more attractive and infectious for abnormal people. But you may misunderstand what genuine smile means. When taking pictures,  we are more liable to make fake smile in front the camera, which makes the picture less flattering.


Picture from: How to FIX an AWKWARD Smile

To present a genuine smile, you should raise the corner of your mouth by contracting the zygomatic major muscle. That is what most of us do. What being neglected is that you should also contract the orbicularis oculi muscle, which raises the cheeks and forms crow’s feet wrinkles in the outer corners of the eyes. The working of both parts of muscles in the face makes a genuine smile.

Natural and Confident Posing

Unlike professional models, being exposed to the camera lens is a little nervous and awkward. Everything seems to be stiff, how to place the hand, even how to smile.

A simple and practical way is to choose the sitting pose instead of the standing pose. Sitting in the chair not only gives you some support to lean on, but also relax your nerves with less exposure to the camera.

To make things better, you could hold something in your hand. With this tiny thing to do, the upper body turns to be more natural. And you mind will feel relax to have something to focus on rather than the picture shooting.

Tiny but Effective Position

Another reason why people are not photogenic in picture is that cameras over-emphasize flaws. It may even distort your features when you stand close to the lens, such as your legs or arms may look stronger than they are.

Here we should keep in mind the basic principle when taking pictures, that is the closer the body to the lens, the bigger it is. If you want to have a thinner arm, you should intentionally keep your arms away from your body to get rid of the “smooshing” effect. Another way is to pose your hand on the waist and hold your elbow back to lengthen your arms.  

Here is also an easy way to avoid a double chin. You can simply lift your tongue behind your front teeth with a little strength. You may be surprised to find the immediate effect in the picture. It not only helps to avoid the double chin, but also create a sleek shadowline below your jaw.


Practice makes perfect, which is also true in photography. That is also why professional models are always photogenic. With long time practising, you can not only get the right point to be photogenic, but also acquire the muscle memory to involuntary act photogenic next time when shooting.

With sufficient practice and learning, you will definitely know which expressions and angles work best for you. When THE TIME comes, you’ll know exactly how to get your most photogenic shot.


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