How to Look More Powerful (or Attractive) in a Photo

When having a photograph taken, do you generally look to your left or your right? Psychology suggests it could make a difference to how you are perceived.

I want you to imagine you’re about to have your photograph taken and are choosing whether you want to look more powerful or more attractive as, according to psychological research, the way you chose to face can have an impact.

If you want to look more powerful, research undertaken by the Body, Mind and Behaviour Laboratory at the University of Cambridge in the UK and headed up by Dr. Simone Schnell suggest you should look to YOUR left. Interestingly the phenomenon tended to only be found when the observers’ language were written from left to right (if they spoke Hebrew or Arabic the phenomenon tended to be reversed).

Now, let’s imagine you want to look more attractive. You won’t be surprised to hear that psychology suggests doing the exact opposite. Research from America’s Wake Forest University, and a number of other universities actually, highlights that if you want to look more attractive you should look to YOUR right hand side and therefore expose your left cheek. The science behind this, the neuroscience, is that the right sphere of the brain that generally (but not exclusively) deals with emotions. However the right hand sphere also control the left side of the body and therefore psychologists have suggested that your left cheek might be better at highlighting emotions.

Whether you want to look more powerful or more attractive, whatever you do, do look at the link’s I’m putting on the website, I always reference or will put links to the references I’m using and ask you to look at them yourselves and have a read through because they’re fascinating.

I’ll be back in seven days with another Meetology Minute – exploring the fascinating science powering world-class people skills.


Jonathan Bradshaw
The Meetology® Lab


Powerful: Here’s an interesting article from Business Insider that contains a link to Dr. Schnall’s article. Alternatively her website can be found here:

Attractive: Here is a link to one of the many papers published:




About the Author:

Jonathan Bradshaw presents and trains internationally on the fascinating psychology powering exceptional interpersonal communication. He is Founder of the Meetology® Lab and leads the company’s team of behavioral psychologists in collating and sharing cutting-edge research on exceptional people skills. As an experienced and engaging keynote speaker Jon has presented at conferences and business events in over 30 countries and is an award-winning columnist and blogger. Learn more about him speaking at your next event via or connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.