To be honest, when I started working on this post I had all intentions of making it about pixie haircuts.  In particular, I thought I’d show off my new ‘do and how it suits my face.  However, the only photo that looked somewhat decent was this one…

Joana side view

And, I think that we can all agree that this picture has little FACE in it.

The problem is, I’m not very photogenic.  Point a camera at me and I either start clowning around, or I try to look nice…which invariably causes the person behind the camera (these days, it’s my husband) to look up in exasperation and say, “Don’t make faces!”  (You can imagine what that does for my confidence level.)

So after taking 54 self-timed portraits and coming up with nothing (except for the “glamour” shot above), I Googled “How to Look More Photogenic” and came up with this interesting video on the Huffington Post by New York based Photographer Peter Hurley.

I actually watched all 15 minutes while practicing my “squinch.”  Now of course the light outside is too dark for me to see if this new technique improves my photographs.  But I’m hopeful.  Watch out, Elite Model… here I come!

(Wink, squinch!)


    • Joana says:

      Hi Deborah,

      That is my “go-to” background. It’s actually the metal divider on our (shared) balcony. I like the texture and the color…although with my coloring, it’s a surprise that I look good against that shade. Plus, because the divider wall is outside, I can take advantage of shooting in the natural light.

      I hope you are doing well! I owe you an email, and will get to it soon.


    • Joana says:

      Ironically, I think my current haircut is also quite similar to my ‘do from when I was 4, too. Except maybe it was cuter then since my face was chubbier (and less wrinkly.) But I’m trying to learn to embrace all of my quirks and flaws. One positive of getting older is that my eyesight might diminish…and then who knows, maybe I won’t be able to see the flaws?

      🙂 Joana

      • oh darling! I’m a huge fan of Dame Judi Dench, and hope she will play me in the movie of my life. I turned 50 last week, and I love being this age! As my girlcrush, Ai Difranco, sings, if you’re not getting happier as you’re getting older, you’re F)^ing up. 🙂 Let us rejoice in our pixies, our laugh lines, and making it this far in life. 🙂 xx Angela

  1. I feel incredibly awkward getting my photo taken most of the time, too. It just doesn’t come very naturally to me. I wouldn’t think that you thought yourself to not be photogenic, either! I haven’t viewed many photos of you but the ones I’ve seen, you look quite natural and lovely. I watched most of that video and I’m probably going to check some of his others out, too. Could always use some pointers 🙂

    • Joana says:

      Hi Celeste,

      Part of my problem (besides making faces at the camera) is that my face is slender and a bit angular. Supposedly, you’re not supposed to face the camera directly since it widens the face, but if I turn my jaw slightly I end up looking like a noodle. As soon as I have more free time I’ll try Before and After shots using the “squinching” technique. Hopefully, I’ll be able to enlist my husband’s help; running back and forth to press the shutter self-timing button gets tiring pretty fast;-)

      By the way, we’ve really been enjoying watching Arrested Development! I love the quirky humor and the physical comedy…so thank you for recommending it!

      Hope you have a great week!

      • I wonder if there’s a tutorial somewhere out there for tips to position your face based on the shape type (oval, heart, square, etc).

        Oh good! I’m glad you guys are enjoying it! I still have plans to check out Downton Abbey when this season of the Walking Dead finishes up in one more episode.

        • Joana says:

          Hi Celeste,

          I bet there are such tutorials out there. There already are tutorials for how to position your jaw, how to align your body, and what words to say to the camera. In fact, the more I read these tips, the more I think I’m going to end up looking ultra contrived and stiff. But maybe the “squinch” will solve everything;-)

          Speaking of entertainment, we’re also now watching Mr. Selfridge. My mom, who has watched Downton Abbey as well, raved about the show and said she thinks its way better than Downton Abbey. We’re enjoying the show so far – and in comparison to the 2nd season of Downton (which was a bit of a snooze) Mr. Selfridge is very promising.

          We’re back to having absurdly cold weather here. I hope you’ve escaped this “set back!”

          🙂 Joana

          On Mon, Mar 24, 2014 at 2:48 PM, JOANA MIRANDA STUDIO wrote:


    • Joana says:

      Hi Helen,

      The interesting thing about the “squinch” is that it seems to naturally cause a smile to happen as well…I suppose that’s the point. And this way your eyes look like they’re “smiling”, too. I haven’t watched the Jaw Video yet. Sadly, I don’t think there is much hope for my jaw unless I get a jaw implant. I’m a noodle face. And if I lose weight (not that I try) it all comes off my face.

      Hope you have a great week! Joana

      On Sun, Mar 23, 2014 at 10:24 PM, JOANA MIRANDA STUDIO wrote:


  2. Pamela Frame says:

    You look wonderful, my friend. If you watched Peter Hurley’s video, did you notice what a difference a photographer can make?

    • Joana says:

      Hi Pam,

      Actually I found that the “squinch” on Peter Hurley’s video seemed to work better for women than for men. The men who “squinched” on the video ended up looking kind of creepy to me. I’ll have to experiment (and have my husband take a few before and after photos.)

      I’m also self-conscious about my face being skinny, but today I saw a magazine photo with a rather angular-looking model on the cover…and she looked lovely.

      Professional photographers (and photoshop!) do make a giant difference, but I forget that when I’m looking at my own homemade photos.

      A big hug! Joana

      On Mon, Mar 24, 2014 at 8:10 AM, JOANA MIRANDA STUDIO wrote:


  3. Tina says:

    Fascinating! I am very unphotogenic – never having my face at the right angle, usually. I am so going to practice squinching and can’t wait to tell Dan about it. The jaw video sounds promising to me – maybe he will have tips for people with NO jawline, like me. 🙂 Love your stuff dear! Read it every day! Love you!

    • Joana says:

      Jemeenie! Thanks so much for the comment and for reading my musings. 🙂 I have seen beautiful pictures of you that Dan took, and I think you’re beautiful inside and out. It’s funny; I’ve gotten many comments from women on the “Squinch” post, but none from men. Since I know that I have men readers, I chalk that up to the general unease that we women have about our looks. But until I conquer my own insecurities I’m going to go around squinching!

      Love you,

Leave a Reply