So... you are at your location and you have your "model" right where you want them and all set to go but they have on a fake smile. You can tell because it doesn't reach their eyes. The eyes will reveal a lying smile every time.
How do you move them from fake smile to real smile?
Well... I do a lot of talking throughout the shoot. I ask questions to get to know the person. I tell stories that I hope will make them laugh. The point is trying to get them to a place where they are a little more relaxed.
But I still have to get that smile to reach their eyes when they are posing for the photo.
With kids it's a little more difficult.
The first step (with kids and adults!) is to always have your camera ready so you don't miss that real smile moment. I always take one with the forced smile and check that my settings are right. I want to be ready when that real smile comes!
For kids it might take a while but I try to find that thing that will get them to drop the "cheeeese" smile and give me something real. It might be a joke. Or sometimes I have them make a silly face and that often has them laughing when they are done. With my kids I like to ask them what something is that they think is funny... for the longest time their answer was "UNDERWEAR!!" But it got me those smiles that reached the eyes!
Adults are often quite a bit easier. The thing that works best for me, believe it or not, is taking the picture of the fake smile and then simply saying "Ok, this is looking real great but we have to get a real smile here!" or "We have to do something about that fake smile!" Something about that seems to make them do a small chuckle and it sends the smile right to their eyes! It's not always a huge smile, which is very much ok... we just need to see that their eyes match their mouth. :)
This is Liza's fake smile... obviously the one you DON'T want!
This is much better! (Still not quite what I want though... but hey... when working with kids you take what you get!)
The eyes are super important when doing portraits like this! Don't forget to check them and make sure that they are twinkling when they are supposed to be. :)
How do YOU get people to produce a real smile that reaches their eyes?