Smile and say, “iced mocha” because it’s time to take out that smartphone and snap a pic. And no, not of your food, or the Instagram-worthy places you’ve visited. This time, you’re going to focus on the star of the show: yourself. There are quite a few options out there when it comes to expressing yourself, and you need to know how to pick the right one for your specific situation. Never fear though, because we’re here to help you do that with our in-depth guide to selfie expressions.
The Smile: Indicating Happiness & Success
In this day and age, it should come as no surprise to you that selfies make up nearly one-third of all the pictures taken by 18-24-year-olds. One of the most popular facial expressions for these selfies is the smile. It’s no wonder. A smile makes a woman look beautiful, and everyone feels good when they display their happiness.
However, there are a few different types of smiles to consider when going for this look. The traditional smile, with or without teeth, is excellent for traveling or a simple night out with friends or coworkers. Even if you want to snap a pic of date night, then go for this type of smile as well — it doesn’t reveal too much about your emotions, but it sets a great tone.
Choose a toothier, wide-lipped smile for landmark event photographs. Weddings, graduations and other big events should indicate joy and excitement. A wide, squinty-eyed smile conveys this, albeit in a calm and collected manner. Raise your eyebrows for a hint of surprise, such as when you’re meeting a friend at the airport, showing up to an event or visiting a special place on a whim.
The Kiss: Sending Good Vibes & Romance Your Way
The kiss is another classic selfie expression. Not to confuse with the pout, the kiss is similar but a bit less cheeky. Squeeze your lips together and stick them out a bit when going for this pose but be sure not to extend your neck — that’s one step further to a pout, which may not be what you want to accomplish.
If you’re snapping a selfie with your significant other, then a kiss is a great thing to display for posterity. Likewise, distinguished friends and family may also deserve this expression, especially if you haven’t seen them in a while. Remember, you aren’t necessarily indicating romance with this lippy smack.
The kiss is versatile, and you can also use it to indicate pure bliss. When used correctly, the kiss can be even more poignant than the classic smile but use it sparingly. Only during rare occasions should you utilize it without another person in the photo — make sure you have something in the background that affirms its proper usage, such as a famous place, a newly-purchased car or house. Make sure to focus on the lighting and angles when using a kiss in these situations to help send the right message.
The Wink: For Mischievous Fun & Flirtatious Photos
The wink is one of our favorite expressions of all time. It’s quite versatile and able to indicate irony, mischievousness and a bit of flirtation all at once. But it’s no easy feat to pull off the perfect wink. You want to be careful using this one, as it can make your gorgeous face look lopsided if done incorrectly. However, you can remedy this by taking the picture from slightly above and to one side (your good side, of course!). That will mask any ill effects.
To make your wink work wonders, you’ll need some inspiration. So, be sure to draw yours from those who have gone before you by studying up on the 10 best winks in the history of cinema. These include stars from all eras and walks of life, from the sultry Elizabeth Taylor in “Cleopatra” to the cheeky Matthew Broderick in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” Study these famous winkers for a little lesson on how to do things the right way for your specific photo — after all, each wink is different.
You’ll want to know what you’re trying to accomplish ahead of snapping the pic. For instance, you can form a flirtatious wink in tandem with a pouty lip while conveying an ironic wink with a smirk. If you’re playing a practical joke on someone or having some good-natured fun, then use an open-mouthed smile to communicate benign intent. You don’t want to look evil. Unless you do, of course, in which case you should go for a wider smile with your face angled downwards.
Save your winks for situations that warrant them. That way, you will intrigue people with your expression. After all, a wink is a symbol that can mean almost anything. You don’t want to use it all willy-nilly on your Instagram page, or it won’t have any impact on your audience.
The Pout: To Highlight Specific Facial Features
The pout is a sexy, sultry expression that will have your followers stuck on your page for hours — if you do it right that is. Make the perfect pout by forming an “O” with your mouth, but don’t squeeze it in too tightly. That makes a kiss. A pout is with an open mouth and lips drawn in and flared slightly outward.
The pout serves to highlight the jawline, making it stand out as a defining feature of your face. It also emphasizes your cheekbones, helping you get that model look. You can raise your brows a bit with this one as well, but don’t go overboard. It should look unplanned. Furthermore, make sure to utilize your best angles when making the pout to avoid unnatural expressions or commit the cardinal selfie sin of trying too hard. You don’t want that.
The pout is the naughty cousin to the kiss and conveys a sense of mischief and attitude while making you look oh-so-glamorous. Use the pout to put your best features forward in certain selfie situations. For instance, showing off a new bikini at the beach, highlighting your latest trip to the salon or relaxing at your favorite outdoor cabana with a margarita in your hand are all excellent places to display your pout.
The Tongue: For Adventurous & Carefree Trips
The truth is, sticking out your tongue can mean whatever you want it to mean. It can be sexy, fun, mocking, funny or anything else. However, you should save sticking out your tongue in a selfie for adventurous, fun or silly situations.
That’s because the subtleties of your intentions are lost through the medium of photography easily. There are so many other expressions to use that are safer for more complicated emotions, so why run the risk of communicating the wrong message?
Stick with the carefree vibes, tilting your face upward and letting your tongue roll out from between your lips like a steam engine of awesomeness coming around the tracks. For even more silliness, let it hang to one side or stick it out as far as you possibly can. Use the tongue while taking selfies in a group of friends out for an adventure or on solo road trips through unexplored territory for the best results.
Now that you know the real skinny on selfie expressions, you’re ready to whip out your smartphone and get to snapping. Remember, selfies are meant to be a loving and kind gesture to yourself. When you take them with gratitude toward your beautiful features and tons of love, you can’t go wrong.
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