|The lovely Amanda Faries.|
No more caps lock, I promise.
I don't know if people are practicing in the mirror before they come meet up with me for their photos, or if they've been trained by their mothers to automatically smile as soon as a camera is present. I just know it's not a 'new generation' thing - people of all ages do it!
Now, this is not to say that these faces for the camera are not great ones! And as you, dear reader, are probably aware, I don't have a whole lot of 'smiley' photos in my portfolio. Lots of smize photos. [If you are not sure of what a 'smize' is, look no further: here is the definition.] But when I take family photos, wedding portraits, or head shots, I really want a genuine smile there! For a wedding or a family, it's pretty easy - weddings are often coined as being the happiest day of a person's life, and families are more often than not having a pretty good time when they're stuck in matching outfits together. And even for a more 'forced', if you will, shoot, I can usually get a model to laugh when I have someone else on the scene with me. But when it's one-on-one, and it's just me and this one other person, whether it be a high school senior or a friend or a complete stranger or a well-seasoned model - it can be really hard to just get a genuine smile or laugh out of someone! When your face is covered by a camera and you're trying to make sure everything's in focus and the light's at the right angle, it's tricky to throw in a comedy act.
I've already written a whole lot more than I ever intended. But we've gotten this far in, so I won't leave you hanging. I'll give you my secret. It's kind of sad. Are you ready? Lower those expectations. Seriously.
That smile in that photo up there, was taken right after I said, "Pretend I said something really funny." I've said this exact phrase, to probably too many people. But it's worked every single time. And let's be honest - they're laughing because it's a ridiculous request. [Note: If you actually have been imagining something funny I could have said, please send it on over. As you can see, I am in need of material.] I will also ask, "Think of something funny," which can also work at times, if said client has either an excellent imagination or has recently had a sitcom moment happen in their life.
So if you're a photographer and you've met this problem, chances are you have a better solution. But I don't, and so I'm sharing mine. If anything, you can think about how strange my technique is, and then use that the next time you need to give out a good smile ;)
And I had to throw in a non-smiling photo. These are of my lovely friend Amanda, by the way - I've known her since I was thirteen years old, She needed a few headshots, since she's getting back into theater acting! Fun, right?
I think I've written enough. Enjoy your Wednesday!