In this series, we will be exploring the different emotions that the human face can exhibit. We have many different looks on our faces, probably numbering in the thousands, but for some reason, when we get in front of a camera, everything seems to come down to one of two looks: "Deer in the Headlights" or "Cheese!" And of course, neither of these work for a good headshot.
Our faces exhibit hundreds of different expressions each day, ranging from sad to bored and happy to angry. Analyzing and thinking about these emotions will give you much more control over your facial expressions, something that will help you greatly when it comes to getting successful headshots.
The reason I am putting together this series of articles is to help you understand the importance of different emotions and how to bring them out in front of the camera.
Today we wil be talking about Happiness, which is the king of all emotions. Everyone loves it but few feel it on a regular basis.
Happiness is most notably shown through a smile, but can often be read in other ways as well. Imagine looking at someone who is not smiling, but just has a content expression on their face. You know something is going well for them, right? You might be tempted to ask what it is, and why they look so peaceful and relaxed. These are the looks I'm talking about, and why it's so important to understand how to read and recreate different facial expressions.
The easiest way to start showing happiness in headshots is to start thinking about some of the synonyms for the word. Imagine a photographer asking you to "look happy," on camera. It probably won't help you very much. But what if the photographer started saying the following synonyms for the word? Would it start giving you ideas and making your smile more rich and multilayered?
The reason that happiness is so important in headshots is because it shows you what you look like on a good day, when everything is going well. Believe it or not, our faces slowly conform over time to what kind of person we are in life. If someone's face looks fairly unhappy, that is likely (but not in all cases) because they are not generally a happy person.
Certain people don't have good smiles because they smile so infrequently. If this is the case, it's sometimes better to only do slight smiles or avoid smiles altogether. Remember, you want to bring out your own personality first in headshots, because that is your brand. It's easiest to play who you are and then vary it up a bit based on that, rather than trying to do something entirely different.
Happiness is the first and most important emotion you can get in a headshot, and you absolutely should try to get it because it is necessary in the acting world (especially for commercials). Not only is it necessary in the acting world, but also in the real world. We like people who are happy, so having a happy shot in your pictures will only help people (like casting directors) to like you more.