Ever look at a picture of yourself and not like it because you knew you were faking a smile? It’s natural for people to force a smile when someone holds up a camera! Think about it! (Unless you are like my youngest son that glares at me and says “no pictures, MOM!) It’s such a challenge to get him to forget about the camera or phone I’m holding up so I can capture his natural smile, which is AMAZING! My oldest son is more like the first example. He shines all his teeth at me, looking more like he is going to eat my camera than take a great picture! haha!
Then there is me! I’m used to being on the backside of the camera, so being in front of it makes me nervous and anxious! I never remember what to do with my hands and I just feel awkward!
I’m going to give you some hints and tricks I use to get a natural smile in photographs! I even use some of these when I’m in front of the camera!
When know I have to take pictures, I have to spend some time gearing myself up! I give myself a pep talk, repeat some mantras and find a happy place. As a mom, it’s so easy to fall into the craziness of the pre-photography session madness before our family portrait sessions! It’s one of the reasons I dread it so much! That brings us to our next point…!
I am a list maker! It’s how I get stuff out of my head and hold myself accountable! If I don’t have a list for it, I have to make one! Getting ready for professional portraits has some prep work! Make a list and get to checking things off! Pre-session stress does not make for natural smiles!
A Natural Smile needs material!
There are a few known things that make me smile. If I can pack my brain with them, I’m bound to smile! Good music and good food, watching my kids have a private dance party, Or a good snuggle with my boys. I also have a few tricks to get my boys to smile! It’s inevitable that they will smile all the way through an ice cream cone! Playing games with them and genuine praise! Try making a list of things that make you smile or things you are proud of! What activities do you enjoy doing? Could you incorporate them into your session?
So often, the conversations I have with clients during the shoot lead to some great laughs which leads to some amazing natural smiles! If you don’t worry about forcing out the natural smile and just be in the moment, you will find that the natural smiles come all by themselves! So let the worry go and just be yourself!
Sometimes tapping into what’s in your heart can lead to the best, most confident natural smiles. Remind yourself that you are awesome and get ready to shine!
Being relaxed and prepared also allows you to focus more on the moment and less on that perfect picture you are hoping for. Often I tell my clients they’ve “got this” or “take a deep breath”. When you are more in tune with the moment, you are more likely going to laugh at the jokes I make as bad as they are. That is when we create a great shot.
Want to read more about getting great photos? Check out this post about getting great senior portraits! You can also see more examples of senior portrait sessions here! Ready to start planning your outdoor senior portrait session? I have a great post about picking out your outfits for your senior session. Give me a call soon so we can schedule your session!