Squinching Your Way To Better Portraits? – The Camera Forum®
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Squinching Your Way To Better Portraits?

Squinching Your Way To Better Portraits?


Squinching.  To Squinch, or not to Squinch, is never the question.  Not in photography anyway.  Squinching is a technique long used by professional portrait photographers, professional models, actors, and most every vacuum cleaner salesman on the plane.  But like one of those magician tricks, it was  kept so secret we never even used a name for it.  Until now.  Thanks to professional portrait photographer Peter Hurley, “Squinching” finally has a name and, unless I miss my guess, a face.  Peter dubs this mysterious portrait juice “Squinching” and you know what?  Its a pretty great name for it!  About halfway between “dear in the headlights” and “glaring” is a sweet spot I always called the “attitude zone” where the eyes show the subject’s self confidence.  Its the zone Peter refers to as “Squinching.”

Squinching is the zone where the magic happens; the difference between a good portrait with jawline and attitude to the eyes, and just an ok picture I got paid for.   Every excellent portrait has mood, emotion, and attitude.  Squinching is one of the tricks to how great portraits become great, by accenting the attitude shown in the eyes.  Well done, Peter.  Now you’ve gone and let another secret out of the professional bag of tricks.  How will we pros ever continue to make a living with guys like you about?  <Said Squinching right at you!>.

Squinching can also help those of us camera shy.  Feel like a deer in the headlights when you step in front of a camera?  Practice Squinching in front of your bathroom mirror first.  Have a client so scared of the camera she refuses to set down her bag?  Introduce her to Squinching.  When Squinching, it is almost impossible to be afraid.  Now I won’t go as far as saying that Squinching can turn your average Clark Kent into Superman, but if you watch the movie even Superman knew something about Squinching.  Attitude, it is all about attitude. The portrait you’re making is taking so long without results due to lack of attitude.  People not capable of bringing a display of attitude are wimps to every camera lens.  Teach your clients Squinching, and remember, Squinching  though related, is NOT squinting!

You can see more of Peter Hurley’s great photography work at his website PeterHurley.Com

Oh, and just for the record, according to the Oxford Dictionary, Mr. Hurley did not invent the term.  In reality,

Definition of squinch in English:


Syllabification: (squinch)
Pronunciation: /skwinCH/


[with object] chiefly North American

  • tense up the muscles of (one’s eyes or face):Gina squinched her face up
  •  [no object] (of a person’s eyes) narrow so as to be almost closed, typically in reaction to strong light:he flicked on the light, which made my eyes squinch up
  •  [no object] crouch down in order to make oneself seem smaller or to occupy less space:I squinched down under the sheet


early 19th century: perhaps a blend of the verbs squeeze and pinch



Chuck Jones

Digital Media Producer, Photographer, Video Storyteller, Cinemagraph Master. Only Semi-Reformed Hippy. Managing Editor of http://TheCameraForum.Com

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