And generally, if I watch things back, I'm happy with my appearance. But when it comes to family photos, it's a different story.
Seven tricks to help you smile naturally and look great in photos
I'm sure I'm not alone in being self-critical but, in a photo taken a few months ago, I was shocked at how unnatural I looked. After hours trying to get the children, aged seven, five and two, to stand still and smile, my appearance should have been the least of my concerns. So when internet forums began buzzing about a technique called 'squinching', which apparently guarantees a better photo, I was intrigued.
After all, thanks to social media, more people now see our snaps.
John Godwin, a London-based photographer specialising in hehots, showed me how the stars look stunning at any angle. Samantha discovers her best side: expert John Godwin says almost everyone's faces are asymmetric. However, John Godwin quickly decides that my right side is my best. My hair is parted on the right, making this side of my face more open, he explains, while my right eye is slightly larger than my left. My hair frames my face much better on my right side and my smile seems more natural.
First, I pose as I normally would - with a slight smile. The answer, he insists is 'squinching'. Only the lower lids move, though - not the eyebrows or any other part of the face.
I attempt a squinch. It feels very odd as I try to keep the rest of my features still, but I have to agree that my eyes look compelling in the final shot. Not smiling too hard can help create a connection with the viewer and helps you to look friendly. We're always told to 'Smile! The result is a big smile I recognise from years of holiday photos - one I know can all too easily turn into an inane grin if the camera catches me at the wrong moment.
John says the best smile to adopt is one you could hold for an hour. I try again with my mouth closed. There's no denying my skin looks smoother and my eyes less puffy. While I still like my happy smile, this is much more model material. Samantha worries that her cheeks look full in some photos. John recommends that she uses camera angles to her advantage and turns slightly to the side in order to make her jaw look slim and defined.
The worst thing I could do, he says, is suck in my cheeks.
I give it a go - and it does look odd. My lips are tense and unnatural.
20 tips for getting people to smile in photos
Put your tongue on the roof of your mouth towards the back. This will help to tighten the area underneath the chin. It feels a little strange, but the resulting photo is a revelation. All of a sudden, I have a defined, elegant jawline. Pouting is out - look coy and flirty without the duck-face by pretending you're about to kiss someone. But it would be nice to know how to look sultry, not sulky, on a night out.
How to have the perfect smile in every picture
First, I give it a go on my own. The result is embarrassing. My face looks contorted, and lines appear around my puckered lips. I try his way - and am pleasantly surprised. I still feel a bit stupid, but the result is better than I thought. My face looks smooth, my eyes draw you in and my mouth manages to look coy and flirty, but without the horrible pucker. Shooting from below: having the camera below your face makes for a more flattering shot. Looking up totally changes the way your features are perceived.
Never hate your photo again: just steal the tricks of celebrities
The difference is astonishing. In the picture on the right, I look approachable, and my face seems in better proportion. John says to keep the neck elongated and jut your chin forward to create a better, more flattering profile shot.
But while there's nothing to be done about my nose, there are ways to make this awkward angle more flattering.
9 unusual tips to fake the perfect smile in photos
Start by elongating the neck and jut your chin slightly forward. Also use the trick we used to make the face look thinner: place your tongue on the roof of your mouth to tighten the area underneath your chin. This is a definite improvement. Simply by tilting my head, my skin looks smoother, I look happier and my posture has improved dramatically.
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How to smile naturally for photos
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Never hate your photo again: just steal the tricks celebrities swear by - squinch, don't smile too hard and take photos from below
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