Some people can be terribly shy about smiling. Often it’s because smiling for the camera can feel forced or fake, but it can also be because of physical foibles or idiosyncracies, crooked teeth or dimples, for example. But there’s something illuminating about a smile in a photo, and there are heaps of different smiles and lots of different ways of achieving them. Model Franki Falkow and photographer Adam Duckworth talk you through them in their beautiful book, Shooting Models, but the techniques work just as well for holiday photos as they do for commercial shoots!
Types of smile
Smiles can range from satisfied and proud, to smug and pompous, with wide-open mouths or tight lips. They can be joyful, flirty, embarrassed, sexy, seductive, confident, or mischievous. Watch out, though, because a smile can easily turn into a grimace if the face freezes up and it loses its connection with the eyes. Keep everything natural and if you are looking for a spontaneous reaction, don’t make anyone hold an expression for too long.
Some people are naturally happy and smiley and if you’re working with them, you’ll have a much easier time prompting a grin. But if you’re working a long shoot it can be hard to maintain the energy levels; having some tricks to spark a smile are invaluable.
Try surprising your model or asking someone to think back to an embarrassing incident or joyful time. In a group of people, someone might well be a joker who can get everyone smiling, even laughing, but story- and joke-telling are great smile instigators. When you’re working with children, asking them to smile is the perfect recipe for a cheesy grin; instead, let them play and have fun. It might take a bit longer to get the shot, but it’ll be genuine and worth the effort.
Choose your model carefully
Should you be working commercially and need a smiley model, it helps if you can find a model with a similar sense of humour so you can set each other off. A happy shooting environment will only lead to happier models and happier pictures. Smiles are usually easier to spark when you have multiple models on set—group shots and doubles can often lead to laughter and even giggle fits when the models work well with one another.
Don’t forget to smile yourself
If you’re looking for a happy photograph, whether a professional commission or just a casual image, it helps for the environment to be as happy and light as possible. Think how easy it is to get smiles out of people at weddings and parties. So a lot of this will come down to you as the photographer: you need to project a positive and happy personality. Smiles are contagious!
With Shooting Models photographers and models alike will learn the key skills to help them advance in the business: top model Franki Falkow and pro photographer Adam Duckworth collaborate to cover all the bases, from booking models to lighting technique. Breaking the process down into logical stages means you won’t put a foot wrong: results will be stunning, and it will be an experience you’ll repeat time and again.
Shooting Models, by Franki Falkow and Adam Duckworth
£8.99 Download the PDF now!
Available as an ebook here on Ilex Instant first!
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