Having a relaxed, genuine smile is not as easy as you think. Models work for years to perfect a relaxed smile that emanates happiness and joy. Why is a genuine smile so hard to produce on demand?! We all smiles hundreds, if not thousands of times during the day. Happiness is a innate feeling that at one time or another we have all have felt and expressed in one way or another. As a photographer, teacher and mom, I have my bag of tricks to coax the ultimate smile out of some unwilling folk.
I had the great opportunity to capture a genuine smile from P when visiting upstate New York earlier this summer. During our initial meeting, her mom explained how she was nominated for a pageant–not just a beauty pageant, but a pageant for her intelligence, poise and academia. Part of the pageant was to be photographed by a pageant photographer. Her mom said that she had a hard time relaxing in front of the camera, which is why they wanted a practice shoot. As the session started, you could tell she wasn’t comfortable in front of the camera. We continued in a cheery location, that allowed for a variety of backdrops and easy conversation. The conversation turned quickly to her sister and her absence allowed for some childhish play. The childish play allowed for P to relax enough for a sweet, almost teenage smile to appear. The rest of the session went without a silly smile due to this quick thinking. Her mom was amused when I shared the secret to getting P a genuine, relaxed smile.
Moral of the story is, having a good connection and rapport with your client is key! It is just like having a great connection with your students and their families. This connection allows for you the be real and transparent relationship to do what is best for your client or student. Over the last week, I have seen how these relationships create a great working environment, which creates an awesome student. Share your experience of creating a connection with someone in the comment below!