We've all taken pictures of people who have just finished mouthing the "cheese". BORING ! Ok, yea they are good for the scrapbook, and as keepsakes of memories. They are nice and pleasant ( usually ). But most of them are BORING. We see smiles just way too much. Everyone smiles at each other all day. The plastic, civil smile. The veneer that "pleasantly" hides what's really going on inside.
This isn't to say that it's not possible to capture a real genuine happy smile that actually reflects inner joy in your subject. It is very possible. It's just not done well too much. This image kind of does that, but this isn't a posed smile. It just happened to my shy little neice.
If you really want to attempt to get an interesting image, one that people don't see a thousand times a day, then don't let your subject say cheese.
The best images show some emotion, or tell some story, or part of a story. What are these two thinking ? What brought them together here to be quietly reflecting on the water ? Is one of them sad, and one of them consoling the other ?
What is this guy's story ? Did he just wake up or is he listening intently to some captivating story ? Personally I'd vote for #1, except that I took the picture and the truth is that he was surprised and wondering in that split second what this contraption stuck in his face was. :-))
Now this guy is definitely taking a nap at work... Or is he ? I remember snapping this. He was actually talking to me. I just happened to catch him in the middle of some expression. He's an animated and was nodding in agreement to something that was said. Oh how the camera can lie. :-))
Now this is real ! His look says exactly what you may think. "What the hell are you doing ? Not again with the stupid camera in the face trick" Something along those lines. Still, it's more interesting than a plastic cheesy smile.
I really suck at posing people. It's an area I may decide not to pursue. Most of the people pics you see of mine, are either sniper shots taken with a telephoto, or more often quick grabs taken candidly but very close with a wide lens. In this one case however, I did ask for a certain look and out of all the snaps I took, this one proved the most interesting. There is a somberness here, maybe even a bit of sadness to this beautiful woman.
This person was at a party across the table from me. She was genuinely depressed. The image is grainy because the room was actually pretty dark. The technical quality of the image doesn't matter much to me in this case because what's more important and what stands out the most is the emotion captured here. This image has something that grabs and forces the viewer to ask questions. It tells a partial story and leaves the viewer hanging just like a good soap opera. It begins to hook into the emotional level. That's what a photograph should do. Aside from the technical aspects of composition, the real strength of an image comes from it's ability to hook into some emotion of the viewer.
One of my favorite "models" to date. This guy is a fellow photographer who enjoys doing non-traditonal shots.
This one of my nephew, and the one above, display refelection. I am always interested in these types of shots. To me, they have more substance than .... dare I say it another time...... the cheese shot. :-)
So next time you're taking family pics, go ahead and get one or two of the traditional shots if you want, but try and get something deeper. I know I will.