I’ve always found it challenging to capture a smile in photos so it doesn’t look staged. I’m still overcoming the feeling of awkwardness when photographing people, and one of the hardest things is to make them genuinely smile. Photographer Chris Hau shares seven great tips that will help all of you who also find this challenging. They are small, simple tricks you can use on a photoshoot and get a genuine, sincere smile from your model. And plus, have a good time and make the shoot more enjoyable.
1. Count past 3
If you have the habit of counting “1, 2, 3” before you take the shot – go on counting. This will create an unexpected and funny situation, and it could easily put a smile on your model’s face.
2. Be honest and direct if the trick #1 fails
The second trick is related to the first one. If you fail to make your model smile, just say something like: “Well, this was a stupid joke, I’ll have to try it again next time.” This could help them loosen up and smile.
3. Make funny sounds
I’m sure this one would work for me when someone would take a photo of me. Chris likes to make cat sounds to make his models smile or laugh, but you can choose your own funny sound. Or a whole set of them. :)
4. Give them compliments
When you grab the camera, start giving your model compliments. Say they look beautiful or that you like their choice of clothes, jewelry, hairstyle and the like. Point out to the little things, and the more specific you are, the more likely you’re going to make them smile. Be friendly, and of course: be nice and don’t cross the line.
5. Fake smile and laughter
A good trick can also be to make your model fake a smile or laughter. It’s funny how fake laughter can trigger a real one, and when this happens – shoot away!
6. Reverse psychology
Don’t direct your model to smile. Instead, direct them to be super-serious and not to smile at all. You know those moments when you’re not allowed to laugh, that actually make the situation even funnier? This seems similar, and it could give your model some genuine smile and laughter you’ll capture on camera. I know it sounds weird, but instead of showing your model how to smile, show them how to be extremely serious.
7. Get to know your talent before the shoot
I believe this is the golden rule of every photo shoot, because it will make the model feel more comfortable. So, before the shoot, try finding out what makes them happy, what they love and enjoy. During the shoot, make them think of those things. Everyone has a smile on their face when they think of the things they love.
I found Chris’ tricks really useful, and I’m sure I’ll apply them from now on. I love the one with funny sounds, fake laughter and the compliments, and I believe they’d work best for me, both as a photographer and as a model. Which ones do you like best? Do you use any of them? And if you’d like to add some, they’re welcome.
[7 tips for MORE NATURAL PHOTOS! Make ANYONE smile!! | Chris Hau]