How to Kick your Smile up a Notch

Summer Totes


The other day I was moving a pile, like thousands, of photos from my computer over to my external hard drive. It was taking too long just to open a single application, and I knew I need to clear off some junk to I could kick up the speed a bit.

In the process I saw photos pop up from 2011, 2012, etc. and immediately noticed how pained and unfortunate my smile was.


I looked so uncomfortable!! And I was! I never intended to be the one in front of the camera for the blog, but it just happened this way.

While smiling with great enthusiasm was never a great skill of mine, I definitely overthought it well into my twenties. I wanted my eyes to look a certain way and I didn’t want my cheeks to look too big on my already roundish face.

Here is a great example of my smile 4 years ago, to now.


Don’t you just want to smack that girl on the left in the face? Like, wake up sister. Look alive! Also? Shake the hair out a little bit while you’re at it.

Anyway, I can laugh at myself now that I’ve practiced my authentic smile a bit, and I thought I’d share a few tips with you in this lighthearted video today. One of them has to do with Emily Ley and you’ll just have to watch it to see why.

Now quit thinking about everything and just smile!

To read more recent posts, check out 3 products that help me fake a good night’s sleep and a delicious french toast casserole recipe!


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Sherry says · 06.01.16

Good Morning Kate

This video made me laugh….thanks for sharing. You most definitely look much happier and more comfortable in the 2016 photo versus the 2012 photo. Always beautiful…..but much happier and more genuine in the most recent photo.
Have a wonderful day !!

Katie says · 06.01.16

This is so funny…literally 2 days ago, I was catching up on some blog posts, and I thought to myself “Kate looks so happy lately. I wonder what has changed… Maybe she had a stress in her life that has been lifted off her shoulders? Maybe she is truly in the happiest season of her life? Whatever it is, she looks great, and her smile actually reminds me more of her oldest son’s – happy, natural, youthful.”

Whatever brought you to this moment, you look great and most importantly, your happiness shines through in your smile. Thanks for sharing this video.

Tiffany says · 06.01.16

This video got me tickled! I follow you on snapchat and I’m always giggling because you just make me laugh! This video may have been jokey but it was helpful, also! I needed the laugh this morning so thank you!

Kristin says · 06.01.16

Awesome! Funny, I was just thinking last week that I needed to research how to smile rear for photos….relaxed, not canned! Great tips! Thanks so much!

Alyssa says · 06.01.16

I absolutely love this! I’ve heard so many people talking about how they don’t like their smiles in photos.

Katherine says · 06.01.16

What a great post! You look beautiful in both photos but definitely more relaxed and genuine in the recent photo. I used to smile a certain way when I was younger too…never liked to see my mouth open so I adapted a closed-mouth smile that always looked stiff and artificial. Then I had kids, entered into a new chapter of my life, and thankfully stopped thinking so much about dumb things relating to me!! Now my smile is way more authentic. Yes, my eyes wrinkle up and my teeth aren’t as perfect as I’d like…but I look like I’m happy!

Maria says · 06.01.16

I don’t know why you are always putting down your old tutorials and videos. They aren’t bad at all.

Becky T says · 06.01.16

This is so me! I really needed to hear that; thanks!

sara says · 06.01.16

Thanks for the tips…on a different note, what color nail polish? Please! Please!

Andrea says · 06.01.16

Ahahaha! This is such a fun post! I hate how uncomfortable and unnatural I look when I force smile in my pics! I thought i was the only one!

Anne says · 06.01.16

I have always thought Emily has the best smile and that she ALWAYS looks happy!

lisa says · 06.01.16

Who is the Emily that you and Kate mentioned?

Arkie says · 06.01.16

Emily Ley – Simplified Planner

Sarah says · 06.01.16

Kate, in response to all your athleisure snaps, you need to watch this video called Activewear… It’s hilarious!

Sonia says · 06.01.16

Practising an authentic smile eh … that’s a bit of a contridiction.

Jenni says · 06.02.16

This was such a brilliant video! I’m like the world’s most awkward person in photos and I totally do that whole “trying to make my eyes bigger and face less wide” thing, so my smile always ends up looking super weird (or just kind of crazy). Definitely putting these tips to work! xx

Anna says · 06.02.16

Love this! I take best pictures with Grandchildren on my lap. truly!

Jasmine says · 06.02.16

This is so great 🙂 Giada DeLaurentis has talked about this with her show – for the first season or two she was noticably uncomfortable/annoyed looking.

Susie says · 06.02.16

I love the channel your inner Emily Ley thing! She really does look thrilled in all her pictures and I love that! I don’t think I will ever take a picture without thinking about that now! Thanks for the great tips!

Maria says · 06.03.16

I enjoyed this post! The idea of slightly squinting is helpful (think GLEEFUL! haa!)

I do have to provide a little constructive feedback however….I do not like seeing tongues RIGHT behind teeth in photos, as yours is showing in the pic above.

Jill says · 06.07.16

That was great! So while I think you look stunning in both photos, after you mentioned it, I would have to say your 2016 photo made me want to smile too, whereas the one from 2012 didn’t have that affect. Such a fun video. Thanks for sharing!

Meg @ My Monochromatic Life says · 06.08.16

this is so helpful! I have the same concerns that my face can look really wide when I smile. I try not to smile too much ,but I also have a case of “RBF” so I can’t not smile either. All tips are helpful!! 🙂

Ali says · 06.09.16

Great post idea, Kate! One thing I’ve had a hard time with in photos of myself are my glasses. I really like my eyelashes–they’re long and curl naturally. However, in photos, my glasses frames always cut them off, so I feel like I lose one of my best and most feminine features in photos. I don’t know if I should just break down and get contacts for this reason (even though I like my glasses for every other reason), or if I can change up my position/pose in photos so that this is no longer an issue.