When I first started getting into photography, I came upon a really great resource called Photography Concentrate. I learned a lot of valuable information from that site and I suggest you check it out if you want to learn more. One of the topics they covered was how to get people to smile in photographs. They included tips for couples, families, and children. We photographers gush at those genuine smiles!
Today, I am going to share five of my favorite tips (in no particular order) from their list that I have personally used in my photography sessions or hope to implement in the future.
1. Ask for the best fake laugh they can come up with. The photo of them during the fake laughing isn’t necessarily the one you are going for, but when they hear how ridiculous they sound, they will smile and/or laugh for real, and that is the moment you want to capture. This method even works for adults, I actually just used this tip a few sessions ago while trying to get a genuine smile from a doctor for his professional photos.
2. Peek-a-boo. This is obviously something that only works with little kids who still find the game funny. Although I suppose you could try it with adults, maybe they will laugh at you because you are being so crazy. Try it out and let me know how it goes.
3. Say “but look like your actually happy about it”. Your sarcasm will likely make them smile.
4. “Now smile…..bigger,bigger,bigger, BIGGER…..too Big!” After they have finished making the most ridiculous looking smile ever they will probably laugh at themselves (or each other if it is a group) and you will end up with real genuine smiles.
5. A great method to get real smiles from engaged couples is to ask them happy questions like “where did you meet?” Keep your finger ready on the shutter but still make sure to interact with your client as well. Don’t ask all of the questions from behind the camera, they want to see your face.
6. *BONUS* Tell them how amazing they are doing and how good they look (this is not the same as flattery, don’t be fake).