20:20 PM

Why Didn’t People Smile in Old Photos?


Ever looked at an old, black-and-white photograph and wondered, “Why the long face?” You might have heard that it was because the camera’s exposure time was too long, or maybe you were told that poor dental work meant that fewer people wanted to show their teeth.

While these explanations may play a part, the main reason why people didn’t smile in old photos had more to do with culture than it did with poor technology.

So what changed? How did we go from stoic expressions to saying “Cheese!” for grins? It goes back to the 1900 Brownie camera, one of the first cameras that were accessible and affordable to the public. 

If you’ve ever wondered what those old-time photos might have looked like with a few more cheesy grins, now is your chance! Using Picture My Heritage, you can pose with whatever expression you want in old, black-and-white photographs.