I love this shot because it gives me a chance to talk about smiling, not smiling, and how sometimes giving a big cheeky smile can not be a good thing.
Christine came to me through a local design/marketing company who handles her websites and marketing. She needed an updated head shot, which I was more than happy to do.
People aren't normally used to having their picture taken. It's weird. It can be uncomfortable. You are standing there and someone has this thing smooshed up against their face and a lens is pointed at them and they are just standing there, not knowing what to do, usually in an unfamiliar place, just feeling weird.
The first thing people do, reactively, is smile. But not a normal smile, they pull their head back and force their mouth open to show off all their teeth. It isn't natural. They do it I think mainly as a reflex of being uncomfortable.
Sometimes, big toothy smiles can actually break a face down. It forces your cheeks up. Your eyes become slits and light can't get in there. Everything looks smushed. It isn't flattering. But you can't tell the client it isn't flattering, because, hey, that's just how faces work. Muscles and skin and stuff all smushing together.
But a closed smile. Or a closed mouth with just a *touch* of a smile. Or maybe a smirk. That stuff works. Because your eyes are still moving a little when you smile just a little. And that's what I'm looking for. Something friendly. Something warm. Something that shows you without all that fake smiling stuff going on.
It's hard - the client was standing behind me during this session and they wanted her to smile. And I didn't want her to smile. I wanted the shot above. They wanted big toothy smiles to show how friendly she is. And she was already friendly. You didn't need a fake smile to prove it. And when she did those big toothy smiles, her eyes got lost. When I go to a website, I want to see their eyes. Not teeth. I want the face of a person, not a big set of chompers with no eyes.
I love this shot because for me it's a destination to arrive at. Each person is a small journey when in my studio. To get to that right moment, that right shot. Head shots, or portraits in general, can't be done in seconds. It's a process. I need to see how you photograph from your right side, from your left side, when you smile, when you don't, etc. We are discovering how your face works with the camera, with the lights, etc.
See that little smirk in the corner of her mouth on the left? That makes the shot for me. And her eyes are gorgeously lit and luminous. Her chin is up just a *tiny* bit. She has power. She's confident and friendly.
That's person I want to meet when I enter her store.