How does the instruction to 'smile' make you feel?
Depending on the context, it can be anything from down right rude, to awkward. I'm sure we have all had people ask us to smile, or one comment I find particularly vile, 'you should smile more!'
Hopefully, it is more likely that you've heard the request to smile when you've been in front of the camera. Of course, it is natural that people want happy looking faces in photos, but this simple instruction can result in fake, awkward and some truly uncomfortable expressions.
Asking someone to smile on command instantly creates a certain degree of pressure to perform or look a certain way. Being comfortable and capturing 'happy', along with all the associated body language, can only be captured if you are truly joyful in the moment. If all of a sudden your mind is totally focused on smiling, your body will tense and the lack authenticity in your body language will be obvious. Hence why photos can end up looking stiff and unnatural.
Instead of creating pressure on my clients to smile, we take our time. We chat as we go and our time together is used to get everyone comfortable in front of the camera. I will capture you and your loved ones as you walk, talk and be silly. This is more than likely going to involve some gentle prompts like "hold hands", "give him a bear hug", "spin around" or simply (for little ones) a suggestion of playing hide and seek.
All the time I am creating moments of joy, in a natural and unforced way. It means you are not focused on smiling, looking down the lens or even remembering that I am photographing you. You are solely focusing on your loved ones and making them smile, by just being you and embracing your time together.
It is this creation of a relaxed and authentic environment that will allows me to capture photos that truly reflect the personalities and connections of you, your family and your friends.
So, you see, there is a method to my madness and some of the weird and wacky prompts I give you. Trust me and the process, and I promise your photos will be making you smile for years to come.
Let go make some memories.