You’ve probably seen pics created using the amazing phone app called “FaceApp” before. Many of them have been posted here on Bored Panda.

Basically, FaceApp takes a picture of a face–real or artistic. Then you can apply assorted filters such as various smiles, a grin, adding sunglasses, makeup, etc. The app seems to access a vast database of images comparing facial features to make that filter and the result more seamless and realistic. It will even add shadowing to the original or add subtle changes to cheeks, eyebrows, etc. to make a smile look more lifelike.

While it is a ton of fun to use with your friends and family, I find that nothing spruces up a visit to the portrait gallery section of a museum quite like breaking out the ol’ FaceApp app.

As you’ve probably seen the last time you saw portraits from the last several hundred years, not only was shoving your right hand into your vest a trendy thing, so was basically not smiling. I guess when you think about it, most people don’t walk around smiling. You mostly have your resting whatever face going on. This app can change just about any resting face into a smiling one!

Just be prepared for other curious guests to crack up when they see the results AND for museum staff to sometimes not be amused.

It’s still free as far as I know, but I went ahead and paid a bit extra for a few more features. It’s loads of fun!

These were from a recent visit to a fantastic museum in New Orleans called the Ogden Museum of Southern Art ( I apologize in advance if anyone is offended by me taking artistic digital liberties with the originals. These images are not for commercial use. They are solely for educational and editorial purposes.

Consider this 1930 original Einstein photograph by Doris Ulmann…

This is a smile filter. Not bad, huh?

Compare back & forth with this animated gif.

Side by side showing the “tight smile.”

He could be Billy Bob Thornton’s brother, right? This is “Tenant Farmer” 1935 by Marie Atkinson Hull.

Remember the first time you saw Zooey Deschanel without bangs? Is the difference so stark here? Better, worse?

Smile filter. Not always 100% spot on, but still impressive.

Sunglasses filter. They look painted on and match pretty well!

Young filter.

Forgot to get the name of this portrait. Let’s see how well it does with that cigarette.

Cool, huh?


He was a cowboy before you thought it was cool. The toughest thing is balancing his vintage record player on that saddle without skipping.

“But I am mad about José. I honestly think I’d give up smoking if he asked me.”

John Genin’s c. 1880 “Portrait of Susan Riehter Fatjo.”

Susan gives us four looks.

This totally fits.

Smile filter.

Did you notice the shadowing on her cheeks? Amazing!

Thomas Sully’s 1855 “Portrait of Mrs. James Robb and Her Three Children.” Only one kid shown in this tight crop. The app will ask which face to filter if it detects more than one.

She’s having a great day!

Four looks from the lady.

Michael J. Deas 2009 “Thomas Jefferson.” A wonderfully vivid oil on panel with a hint of Robert Redford.

Um, yeah. Sometimes the filters generate some kind of abomination.

Better, but maybe this is why he rarely smiles…?

Wrote the Declaration. Mic drop.

Tight smile with original on left.

Amans’ ca. 1840 “Charles Urquhart” aka Massive Throat Beard Dude.

“Why, thanks! My throat is nice and toasty.”

“Judge Benjamin Christopher Elliot” by Francois Fleischbein, 1834. Note that this original is off to the side to avoid that glare and he’s looking to the side. FaceApp don’t care!

Old filter.


Clockwise from top left: original, full beard, Heisenberg (yep!), female. If you do that last one on your own pic, prepare to be unsettled.