What Makes Genuine Smiles In Photos?
Make It Fun To Smile For The Camera
Getting genuine smiles from great aunts or close friends can be a chore. Default frowns can ruin a picture quicker than focus problems or bad lighting! Take an extra moment and help them out. Seriously, they will thank you for taking the time to not be so serious and the care you will have shown them.
Make it fun to smile for the camera and reduce forced and un-natural expressions from your subjects. It may seem obvious but most of us do not take the time to concentrate on taking a really good photo of a loved one. Laugh, make fun of yourself, appeal to your subject's humor, do something silly in front of them or catch them off guard. The best comedians and comediennes do something unexpected.
Get that genuine smile that you see when eyes crinkle! (A "Duchenne" smile. Google it sometime.) Professional photographers use
Smiles and laughter can be contagious. Start some and watch how they spread. People can't help but grin once they start having a good time.
Take the pressure off. If your subject tenses up whenever a camera is pointed toward them, put it down and wait for a lighter moment. Pick it up again when they might be distracted or having fun.
"But I Never Take A Good Photo!"
Many people who consider themselves "un-photogenic" are actually plagued by bad smiles they may have taken in photos over the years. They give the standard fake smile out of a feeling of obligation. Give them a reason to see how a great smile feels to them, capture one, and they can work on duplicating it in the future. (There will be a lot of special moments lost when a person spends their life ducking for a camera.)
No matter how professional, intelligent, or in control you think a serious look (your best gangsta impression) makes you appear, people almost always respond better to a smile. Your photos will surely get better reactions when you capture smiles. (TIP: Get in close and then get in closer. Go after smiles and take photos like you are going to frame them later. Make it count when your camera is out.)
Practice Makes Perfect
Look for past photos that you think you looked okay in and take notes of what your face was doing. There is a good chance your "eyes smiled" with raised cheek bones and lowered eye brows contributing to the look. (TIP: Practice that smile in front of a mirror until you can repeat it and have it naturally ready when a camera is out.)
"Ask not what your smile can do for you, but what your smile will do for your family." - a little birdie once said
So, next time, no matter how you feel about photos, smile for your son or daughter with that grandchild that you will be holding in your arms. If you are happy and make it fun to smile for the camera, you will get genuine smiles from them too and no one will have to force it.
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