The secret to natural smiles
“Amanda made me feel very comfortable i didn’t have no nerves at all i couldn’t have asked for a better photographer.
Amanda did flash cards where she’d say a word e.g *angry* where I’d have to show how that word made me feel which I though was such a good and unique idea, due to it makes me as the model change my expression which make a great photo. ” Isle if Wight, portrait photo shoot
How 5 power words help create natural smiles
Connection, rapport, communication, and a dash of silliness is key to shooting perfect portraits. Here’s how I capture photographs full of vitality and genuine expression for clients, even if we’ve only just met.
I’m a firm believer that photography is a reflection of the confidence and trust you instill in your clients. In most of my photographs you’ll see that I’ll finish my blog posts with a soft, feminine, and endearing portrait. The image draws you in with a confident, honest gaze and frank expression.
I’m hoping to share my secret with you and leave you curious enough to have a go at the techniques below.
1. Why power words work – most people feel awkward in front of the camera. Playing a game like ‘word association’ distracts people from the big, black camera in front of them. It creates an opportunity for interaction, natural smiles are not far behind.
2. How to use power words – I only suggest playing a game after the first hour. This activity will only work if you have trust, confidence, and engagement with your client. If there is a lull in the session, bring out a post-it note with scribbled words, and suggest a game of word association. Start with an easy word, such as ‘happy’ ….’show me your happy face as you’ve just eaten delicious chocolate’.
3. Who responds well to power words – Not everyone will appreciate this game of word association. You’ll only know if your client is ready for a little silliness once you meet them. Ask once if they’d like to try it. Explain it will create a variety of happy expressions naturally. Try a simple example to test the water. If you sense any hesitancy, move onto a new location and forget about it.
4. What words to use – I aim for positive and negative words. I’ve found that complicated concepts tend to just cause confusion, so I stick with ones we can talk about easily. The words can be ‘show me shocked’ or ‘what face do you pull when you’ve just been caught taking the last slice of cake’ or ‘what do you think of when I say shocked’. You can select your own words here and here.
5. When to press the shutter – Your goal is to capture fleeting expressions. Hold the camera away from your face and chat with your client. Share your own thoughts or reactions, ‘here’s my shocked face, covered in chocolate because I’ve eaten all the cake’. Quickly take the photograph right after a belly laugh or chuckle and then continue the conversation. There will be a lot of blinkers and gurning, but you only need one glorious photograph with an open, honest expression to show your clients.
I hope you find these tips helpful and that your next natural portrait session in London is a hoot. I’d love to know which tip you think is the most helpful, your thoughts on the blog and all things photographic!
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For more advice on natural portrait sessions or to book a natural portrait by an Isle of Wight photographer, get in touch and I’ll be happy to help.