I hope you’ve had a wonderful three-day-weekend and had a chance to enjoy the holiday. I started to enjoy the weekend but it was cut short. Saturday morning, I had the opportunity to sleep in a little bit. Every little bit counts when you have been waking up at 5:40 a.m. Anyway, it was a perfect day. It was mostly sunny, but enough clouds to make it interesting. There was a light, refreshing breeze blowing and it wasn’t as hot as Satan’s armpit. My son and I had planned to play tennis and that’s exactly what we did. We weren’t out there long before I ended up stepping on a tennis ball I was chasing. When I fell, I fell hard. I knew my fall wasn’t graceful. In fact, my son said it was downright ugly. He came running to the net to make sure I was okay and to his credit, he didn’t even laugh. I got up and we resumed playing. Shortly thereafter, he developed back spasms so we decided to go.
Being that it was still early, we arrived home and I took a shower to prepare for some headshots that I had planned to take of my sister, Allison. If you read my blog last week, you’ll remember her name. She’s the only sister I have that is older than me. She just six years older but when you’re kids, that’s a rather wide gap. Nowadays, we try to talk to or text with each other at least once a week. We’ve become closer as we’ve gotten older and I appreciate her so much more. Anyway, about a week or so ago, she asked me to take some headshots for her. She didn’t want anything formal, just something nice but casual and much better than a selfie. Of course, I obliged.
She stated that she wanted it quick, without much fuss. I said, “I can do that.” Considering, if you only need one headshot, I can get that for you in about 15 minutes. Since it was so informal, we decided to have them done at my house. The front of my house has lots of windows and it faces the south, so I get sun there for most of the day. The windows filter the light beautifully and give a nice, even glow. At first, I was going to photograph her in the dining room but the sun had moved too far to the west for that. Instead, I photographed her on the stairs in my foyer where there is a huge picture window and two transoms on either side of the door. I sat her on the stairs and just started shooting.
She, like many clients, in the beginning, was a little stiff. So, I talked to her like I do my clients to get her to relax. The funny thing is, we spoke earlier in the day and she and during that time she decided to tell me a stupid joke that she had heard previously. By the way, my sister is the queen of corny jokes but this joke was just plain bad. Often times when I photograph people, they will give me a nice smile but it’s not always a genuine smile. What I mean is, you can’t feel the warmth in it. It’s nice but just not real. In order for me to get genuine smiles, I make my clients laugh. She was no different. I decided to tell the joke she told me. As stupid as it was, I knew she would laugh. Joke: “Have you spoken to the Abominable Snowman lately?” And her response, after she stopped laughing enough to speak was, “Not Yeti.” I can feel you rolling your eyes as you read that. By this point, she was good and relaxed and I got quite a few really nice shots of her. Below you can see the progression from the beginning to the middle, to the end. She even narrated what each face was saying.
The first image was when we first got started. This is the smile she would give someone at their first meeting. The second image I made her laugh a little to relax her.
The laughter from the previous image produced this lovely, genuine smile. You can see the warmth and friendliness in her eyes. The next image was in between where she’s probably thinking, “What do we do now?”
This is where I told the Yeti joke. I actually snapped a series of her laughing. And the last image was another genuine smile that appeared after her laughter.
See, laughter can be your best friend for getting the great smile you wanted without it looking fake. By the way, I think laughing shots are awesome too!