Tyra talks about “smizing” all of the time. If you don’t already know, this expression refers to “smiling with your eyes”. It is important for a model to be able to convey emotion. I was just flipping through my photos when I came across these three and thought that they were prime examples of the difference expression can make in your eyes. These pictures are all very similar, the crop, lighting, wardrobe, hair and makeup, but they convey extremely different emotions. Hopefully the biggest difference that you notice is the feeling that I show in each shot.
The first photo is soft. This is a face that I would use if I was shooting for a women’s magazine. The eyes look kind, mouth isn’t too tight (Yes, my mouth is identical in every picture-this is actually really hard to do, but a great trick if you’re stressed and your face shows it! “Relax the mouth!”) and the overall feel is neither intimidating nor is it “forced” or “cheesy”. A look like this is simple to achieve. I find that tilting my head to the side slightly gives me a kinder look. While tilting my head, I look directly at the camera, but not into the camera. Does that make sense? You don’t want it to read as if you’re about to jump through the pages. Keep it light and if you really need to, think about soft things to inspire you. You’re thoughts will show in your eyes until you become a professional at this.
The second photo is very ridged feeling. You immediately feel drawn in by the piercing eyes which convey anger or passion, depending on what the advertisement is for. When trying to be a show-stopping force, you want to remember that the easiest way to grab attention is by having your face straight forward with your eyes directly at the camera, as you see on every magazine cover. In this instance, I would say that you want your eyes to look “into” the camera. Your gaze should go deeper than the nice photographer on the other side. Sometimes for this look I create scenarios in my head to help me achieve sincerity. I will think about a boyfriend cheating on me or something else that personally affects me and forces an emotional response from within. I find that the best modeling, the pieces that really evoke empathy from the viewer, stem from raw, human emotion. Don’t try to fake it. Feel it.
The third picture is somewhere in the middle of the first two. By combining the head angle of the first with the intense stare of the second, we have created a third look, which appears to me to be “longing”. In modeling, it is extremely important to be able to show longing. We are selling products and whether it’s face cream or shoes, you will have to use this look very often. Sometimes when I make this face, I think about staring up at the stars and making a wish for something that I really want. It sounds silly but it works! Just make sure that your eyes don’t go too high (like mine did on my shoot with Tyra for ANTM) because you’ll look insincere and bug-eyed.
Please feel free to ask any questions if you need help with your modeling faces. The best advice that I can give you is to lock yourself in the bathroom and stare at your face in the mirror until you know it better than anyone. Know what you look like while you’re eating. Pretend to have a conversation in the mirror and watch yourself speak. Did you ever think about how you look when you laugh? We do these things every day, but most of us don’t get the chance to watch ourselves. You have to master the angles on your face before you can ever hope to have someone give you a second look. I hope this helps!!!