Sometimes you just can't seem to get the right smile out of your headshot client. It's like, no matter what you do, it just doesn't work. Either they are feeling awkward in front of the camera or they take things you say too seriously. Obviously the trick is to get them to laugh, buy there is a little more to it than that.
I usually like to start by saying not to take anything I say seriously. This will set the headshot client up to take me as a light hearted person. The main problem is that most people you do headshots for don't know you, so they don't know what to expect or what you might be expecting of them. Therefore you have to let them know that they need to not take you seriously because otherwise they won't laugh and smile as much, which will result in mostly unusable headshots.
After telling them not to take you seriously, it's a good idea to start trying to make a joke. If you can come up with a good one, that's great. If your like me and your joke book is empty, then you have to try to joke about not having any jokes. As long as you can say something that gets them to laugh or smile, you should be good. Try asking the headshot client to make funny faces, which can be a good way to get your actor to laugh as well. But this article is not about getting your actor to laugh, it's about getting the perfect smile.
What I have realized over time is that if you can get the headshot client to laugh, and then ask them to hold that smile, you should be good. You don't want to use pictures of a headshot client while they are in the middle of laughing because it will wind up with their eyes squinty and sometimes it can just look odd.
If you can get the headshot client to hold their smile right after laughing, you will have a purely genuine, happy smile. That's because laughing makes people actually happy, even if only for a few seconds. But that's all you should need to get the perfect shot. Obviously you don't want to just ask your actor to smile, but that's the subject of another article.
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