If you’re a portrait photographer, it’s useful to know how to make your models smile naturally. And when you are the person in front of the lens, you’ll see how difficult it is to make your smile look unforced. Mathieu Stern shares seven tips that will help the models smile. And of course, they’re also great for photographers when capturing self-portraits.
1. Close your eyes
If you’re feeling nervous, take a few seconds to relax. Close your eyes, breathe deeply, and then open your eyes. You’ll feel calmer and smile more naturally.
2. Don’t say “cheese”
To be honest, I believe “cheese” should be used only to capture snapshots at kids’ birthday parties. If you’re posing for the shot, use a Hollywood trick and say “money” instead. This movement of the lips makes the smile look more natural. And, well, sometimes the thought of money can bring a smile to your face, too.
3. Relax your face and jaw muscles
When you’re nervous, it’s obvious on your face. Focus on your face and jaw muscles, and take a second or two to consciously relax them. The natural smile will come on its own.
4. Think about something that makes you happy
This is one of the oldest tricks to smile naturally. While posing for the shot, think about people or things that make you happy. Mathieu’s model thinks about ice cream and dogs, I’d totally go with that, too.
5. Get goofy
Another great technique to get relaxed is to get a little crazy. Mathieu suggests making “motorboat sounds” with your lips or shaking your head. You can also do your favorite silly dance, sing something… Whatever makes you feel happy. This way, you’ll relax and stop focusing on the camera.
6. Imagine someone you like behind the lens
Similar to thinking about something that makes you happy, you can also imagine someone who does it. Imagine this person taking a photo of you. In Mathieu’s model’s case, this imaginary “person” is Sponge Bob Squarepants. If you ask me, I’d definitely smile if I imagined my favorite cartoon character taking a photo of me.
7. Ask the photographer to tell a joke
If you need a “smile boost” (let’s call it that way), you can ask a photographer to tell a joke. Or, what I think could be even better – you can take a short break to tell a joke yourself. This will loosen you up, and encourage the photographer to also tell a joke – which will make you laugh or smile.
When I’m taking self-portraits, they’re usually moody, so there’s no need for making myself smile. But, sometimes I need the smile for the shot. In such rare cases, I remember some funny situation or listen to the songs that never fail to make me laugh (such as this one or this one). Are there any tricks you use to smile naturally in photos? Feel free to share them in the comments below.
[7 TIPS that Will Make You SMILE Naturally on every PHOTOS | Mathieu Stern]
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