How to Get Attractive Expressions for Portraits (VIDEO)

Nothing is worse for a portrait than a subject who looks irritated or angry when they're supposed to be relaxed. Unless that's the angle you're going for, and even then, you still need your model to look engaged in a photo. Otherwise, the image will look awkward.

The worst expression of all for a portrait, according to photographer Brett Seeley, is an expression known by the acronym RBF, aka Resting B*tch Face. In the humorous but instructive video below, Seeley explains "how to overcome RBF," while photographing model Kamalei Nemoto on a beach in Maui, Hawaii.

"Today we're going to talk to you about expressions," Seeley says. "Kamalei is one of the best models I've worked with on Maui because she's got a mastery of her face."

In the tutorial, Kamalei shares her secrets with Seeley (and the audience) on how to create attractive and appealing expressions and avoid the dreaded RBF look.

"What is something that you always think about when you are modeling," Seeley asks her. "How to you get your face to look good."

"Blank mind, just work the face," Kamalei explains. "Don't think about anything, because the more you think, the more you look awkward. I think it's muscle memory in your face."

When all else fails, what else does she do to get a cute or positive expression on her face?

"My deepest, darkest secret is I’m thinking about Shave Ice," Kamalei says, half-jokingly about the frozen Hawaiian desert. "And food. Just think about food."

She also suggests that photographers should keep portrait sessions light and fun and even tell jokes, if they have good ones, to make the model feel more relaxed. As we mentioned at the beginning, the tutorial is partly humorous which is also part of its message. Make sure everyone is having a good time during a portrait shoot to ensure there will be no RBF!