The long cold winter has officially ended (though it did snow today...)  Therefore, I have decided that it is time to deal with my cold-weather beard: http://imgur.com/a/grr4b#V5MK75I.  Although it may be long for folks on here, I actually like it this length.  However, I do see that the side of my cheeks are thin at best.  Since this is my longest attempt without shaving them, I don't think it's going to get better.  So, can someone offer a suggestion as to where I should trim/shave?  If you could post some photos with lines I'd appreciate it.  

PS. I know I'm overdue for a haircut too.

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Honestly, I think it looks pretty good as is. Perhaps a bit of taper off the sideburns as viewed from the front shot (about 1 inch below earlobes), so that your don't have a peanut shaped silhouette (it's not bad at all now, but if you get your hair cut the beard might be wider than the hat line of your head).

Maybe a touch of trim right around your mouth, so the mustache hairs don't overlap your lip and there's not such long hair at the corners of the mouth.

Looks pretty good as is, though. very natural looking

What a cute little baby beard! Why would you cut it? It's only now coming in to its own!

A little judicious shaping might help, but honestly the shape is fine and the density is sufficient to support the length you're currently wearing.

Sorry, I just noticed that you also asked for styling tips, and I didn't answer that part.  So, here goes.

 

1)  Full beard.  Your cheeks are weaker than your front.  This does not mean that they are weak.    Most men have differences in the density between front and cheeks.  Your strong front and weaker sides are a fairly common combination, and do not represent any reason for concern.

 

How long have you been growing?  Mine took a full 6 months before my cheeks even looked presentable.  Short beards must be perfect, but longer beards have a magical quality that causes them to blend together.

 

Look at this photo of me.  Really look at it.  Critically.  Like you, my front is stronger than my cheeks.

 

Notice how "weak" my cheeks are...and just how problematic that seems to be.  (it's not)  Trust me, no one looks at me and says "my, what weak cheek growth you have!"  They just see the full beard, and gasp in awe.

 

2)  Lower your cheek line.  This will require frequent maintenance, and a bit of barbering skill (not much) to do successfully, but it will allow you to establish a natural looking cheek line while retaining the majority of your face fur.

 

3)  Hollywoodian / tailback beard.  This is a circle beard with wings that extend up your jawline.  Quite a dashing look on someone with the right growth, and you do have sufficient growth to pull off this style.

 

4)  Circle beard.  This is what most refer to as a goatee, but it's actually a circle of beard around your mouth and chin.

 

5)  Chin strap.  This is a thin strip of beard that follows your jawline.  Shaped well, it can be quite flattering.

 

6)  Goatee.  Imagine the chin of a billy goat.  It's just a chin pouf and can be any length you see fit.

 

7)  Mustache.  There are countless styling options available.  I won't bother going into them, but you have the growth to support any of them, including a handlebar mustache and a walrus.

 

8)  Soul patch.  It's the pouf of hair directly above the chin and below the lips.

 

9)  Some combination of these options.  A mustache with a soul patch, or a mustache and goatee, would be two common combinations.

 

My own opinion is that you DO actually have the coverage to pull off a full beard.  Your sides do not look as bad as you seem to think.  We are each, after all, our own worst critics.  I have been in your position, and regretted shaving.  Now I feel foolish for ever having doubted what God put there.  

 

Let the sides grow and fill in, and yes I do have hope that they will fill in.  But, only if a full beard is what you want.

 

On a personal note, I hope a full beard is what you want.  Your beard really does have a nice shape.  Naturally.  It would be a shame to cut it.  The *only* tweak I would suggest is to wrangle that tiny cowlick at your neckline, directly under what I assume is your right eye.

That is definitely a beautiful beard. Congrats! Now, what to do with your beard is a question of what kind of 'look' you want overall, but whatever you do, don't do too much. 

The thing is, as you said, that getting a haircut will change the most. Currently, and please don't take this as offensive, you're sporting a sort of '80s computer-developer look. If you just take a bit of the length of that hair, get your ears and neck cleared, and you look very spiffing and modern indeed (you've got some nice hair there). 

The beard: i'd only clean up the edges of your cheeks and your neck a bit. A tiny bit. Just make it a straight line, in stead of 'organic' growth. Your lines are very neat already, so i'm talking maybe 1/5th of an inch. 

But hey, it all depends on the kind of 'look' you want to sport overall. 

I have about a 2-3 inch beard. I wouldn't suggest shaving it. Beards are cool and that whole thing that beards make your body temp go up isn't true. I would suggest going to a barber that knows beards and ask their opinion.

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