As a photographer, I consider it my personal privilege to make sure my clients LOOK and FEEL their very best during their shoot! Many times people will remind me, "make me look good!" (my Mom loves to say this lol) and many people will ask me to Photoshop certain things to enhance their images, which, if you don't already know my stance on Photoshop, I am PRO-touch up. Let me clearify, I don't believe you should make someone not look like themselves or change their features to fit some cookie-cutter mold, I just believe everyone deserves to look like they had the best day possible, whether they did or didn't. So with that out of the way, I thought I would do a multi-part series of posts on what you can do as a client that Photoshop cannot (or not easily) fix to ensure you are looking your best.
***KEEP IN MIND: The more shots where you look great, the more you have to choose from at the end to print, post, etc!***
MODEL LESSONS-PART 1 ...........THE SMILE!
Now, before I start this lesson, I want to share something possibly embarrassing, when I was little, I would stare in the mirror for hours practicing different faces and poses, don't ask my why, to be honest I don't remember why...but I did. The result of this turned out to be quite a positive thing as I got older, why you ask? Because if I think about it, at any time, I know exactly what my face looks like without a mirror...I know, it's weird, but true. SO, why am I telling you this? Because it is actually a great exercise to try!
- Here is what to do: First, without looking in the mirror, make a face, a smile a frown, whatever you like, and think about how it looks, now turn to look in the mirror to see if it matches.. does it? Maybe it will.. but this is good to learn for photos because nine times out of ten there are no mirror around! Don't be afraid to try different poses and have fun, see how you look best! That way, instead of taking my word on it, you will know when you look good and it will in turn make you more confident which will give you better images!!!!
- THE MOST COMMON MISTAKE is to do what I call, the "CHEESER" smile. It looks fake and like you don't want to be there! Now maybe this is you, and you are thinking, "great, but I don't know how to do anything different"..not true! Here is how it works---When someone is genuinely happy, they smile with their entire face, not just their mouth! It is a simple fix but it does take some remembering to get used to. One of my favorite people to photograph is my friend Kristina, who if you have seen her pictures, you can see she looks fabulous! She used to be a "CHEESER" believe it or not! She so kindly offered to model some before and afters to give everyone a demo! So nice of her! Notice how the eyes look different when you are actually smiling vs. not, VERY KEY! If you have a hard time with this, work on thinking of something funny that makes you happy and visualize this during your session.
- TEETH OR NO TEETH that is the question! Most people will naturally smile with their mouth open, but this is not for everyone or for every shot! Try switching it up, maybe smile big for some and have a more subtle grin (no teeth in another shot) give yourself a variety of faces to choose from later! Changing the way you smile changes the mood. If you are going for a more mysterious look or shy/ introspective look, no teeth little grin will give you that, I mean it's what makes the Mona Lisa famous lol. To address an topic that most people don't like to talk about, especially when getting their pictures taken, is if they don't like their teeth. And here is the advice I give, take it or leave it: If you don't like your teeth, don't feel like you have to smile and show them, never undervalue a well done grin! Here are some examples, see how the mood shifts!
- BE SILLY/BE YOURSELF, I always say this, in fact I mentioned it in my post a couple weeks ago, but I can't stress it enough! Now I will pause here to say, a large part of this is the photographer's responsibility to make you feel comfortable enough and confident enough to be yourself! Sometimes when I am looking at a photographer's work, and good ones at that, I begin to notice a pattern of poses, faces etc. and not to say that every photographer doesn't have their go-to favorite things to do, but sometimes you see a lot of the people looking the same way, with the same mood,. Not to even say that those are bad images, but the question is, when they look at it, does it remind them of themselves, or of someone else..? My hope is that every client feels like I captured them being THEM! This is why some pictures that are your favorites when you are older aren't of you posing, they are of you CAUGTH IN A MOMENT that actually happened naturally, which in turn creates a feeling of nostalgia and fondness for it! Here is one of my favorites of myself, and it is a terrible photograph lol but I love it, WHY? It's ME!!!
This is really old of my grandma on the left, but again one of my favorites because of how silly, you feel like you are there in that moment!
Next tip is to avoid the "DEER IN THE HEADLIGHTS" look. This either comes from anxiety about getting you picture taken or maybe you are overthinking what you look like..whatever it is, it can be fixed! Here are some ideas : 1.Look at the camera as if were a friend and not a camera, I know this sounds weird but it can work! 2.If the person taking a picture is counting to three don't make direct eye contact with the lense till the last second, sometimes the anxiety can build as you hear them count down. 3. Think of a funny story or joke right before the picture is taken, or if you are in a situation where you are already having a good time, focus on that, NOT the "potentially terrible life-altering" bad photo of yourself! Confidence sells, aka. if you look confident and happy, people find you more attractive and you will be more likely to like yourself in the picture!
HOPE THESE TIPS HELP!! There will be more tips posted for the next couple Mondays!