The below sentence I have to tell to someone else who is just acting to be stylish.

"It (his photo) seemed not to be your natural look "

Is that ok? Specifically, is “natural look” correct in this context?

  • "natural look" is OK, but "seemed not to be" sounds off. Can't really explain why; I would have used "did not seem to be". – Mr Lister Dec 28 '17 at 16:37
  • This sounds good. Why "natural look" Is not correct? – user67212 Dec 28 '17 at 16:38
  • @user67212 - Nobody has said "natural look" is not correct. – J.R. Dec 28 '17 at 16:47
  • The expression [one's] natural look has a pretty vague meaning at best. Many people would say it means what a woman looks like when she's not wearing any makeup, but in practice the term is mostly used by beauticians who very definitely expect to use makeup in order to achieve the effect. Or a portrait photographer might use it to indicate that he's managed to use carefully-controlled lighting, subject posture, etc. to obtain a photo that looks as if it was a snapshot taken unawares, rather than the result of much effort in the studio (and/or photoshopping! :) – FumbleFingers Dec 28 '17 at 18:41

It is perfectly OK grammatically. It does not, however, seem quite idiomatic to me. Why "seemed" rather than "seems"? Why "be" rather than "have" or "capture" or "evoke"? And yet these questions may merely reflect my personal preferences on style. You should feel quite free to use your proposed language if it fits your personal style of speech.

  • I am just commenting on his profile picture not his real appearance. – user67212 Dec 28 '17 at 16:12
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    @user That does not change my analysis. – Jeff Morrow Dec 28 '17 at 16:22
  • @JeffMorrow This sounds like a comment rather than an answer. – Mr Lister Dec 28 '17 at 16:38
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    @MrLister when someone asks whether a grammatically correct sentence is correct without specifying in what regard the sentence may be incorrect, it seems to me that the answer can do no more than specify that the answer is grammatically correct while mentioning in what regard it may not sound idiomatic. A very general question is likely to elicit a very general answer. – Jeff Morrow Dec 28 '17 at 17:05

"Natural look" is perfectly idiomatic, but not as in your example. I've heard it more often when talking about cosmetics:

Achieve a natural look with "You-Won't-Believe-I'm-Wearing-Makeup" makeup by L'Oreal!

Instead use "look natural".

Your photo doesn't make you look natural. You should try to stop posing and just be yourself.

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