Photography Tutorials and Articles

Portrait Posing Tip – Open Mouth

Posing for Portrait: Open the Mouth

Whether we smile with our mouths open or closed is something we don’t often stop to think about. But the mouth has a significant impact (like the eyes) in portrait poses, in part because viewers will observe a lot about the portrait from body language cues. And that body language includes the position of the mouth, like smiling.

Should the mouth be opened or closed?

In recent years it has become a trend to emphasize a strong jawline in photographs. Jawlines make a face appear slimmer and add a nice contrast to the face.
Try this little trick for yourself. Stand in front of a mirror, pose your shoulders as described in the previous article, tilt your head just a little and look at your jawline while your mouth is closed. Then open your mouth slightly and look at the jawline again. Can you see the difference? This is what I am talking about!

Apply the Rule of Thirds for more dynamic portraits.

Are there any other reasons for this posing tip?

Generally speaking, opening the mouth adds to the jawline and creates a welcoming and open image of your subject. A slightly open mouth suggests the model is available for communication, which is a good thing, especially if this is what you are aiming for.

Portrait posing
consider Slightly open mouth in portrait posing

Are there any scenarios when closed mouth is better?

The only instance I can think of when a closed-mouth photo might be appropriate is for a solemn person who wants to be portrayed as mysterious and elusive. Other than that, I’d recommend a pleasant smile with teeth showing any time. If you’re concerned about less-than-perfect teeth, that’s easy to fix in photo editing software. So go ahead and smile for the camera! And Check our Photoshop and Lightroom Classes.

Portrait posing
A good sample of closed mouth

Are there any fine tweaks for this posing tip?

Keep your chin up. People tend to tuck their chins in photos, creating an unflattering neck wattle. The simple way to fix this is to ask your subject to “bring your chin up”; as a photographer, you will need to control how much you want them to raise their chins.
That is all for now. Please check our Upcoming Photography Classes in portrait photography, where you will learn more about posing. In these workshops, you will photograph models and gain valuable practice in real-life situations.
Ted and the Omnilargess Team

Portrait posing
It could have been easily a great shot, if the subject had raised her chin and made a negative space between her arms and body.

Portrait Photography Workshop An advanced photography class

Starts May 12, 2022

Portrait Photography Class is a comprehensive workshop for intermediate to advanced users.

Small class size offers plenty of one-on-one time to all participants.

Details Price Qty
Bundle Savingshow details + $570.00 (CAD)*  
Natural Light Portraitshow details + $380.00 (CAD)*  
Flash Portraitshow details + $380.00 (CAD)*  

* price does not include taxes