I have this tendency to jump right into the smile when I shoot portraits. Culturally, it’s what we like to put forward in our day to day lives. If someone asks how your day is going, we almost always respond positively. Even if it’s been a terrible day. We do the same thing in photographs. We’ve attached confidence, success and safety to the smile. Anything else and we feel vulnerable. As if we’re letting people see our failures. Heaven forbid we struggle and make mistakes to the point where people can actually take notice.
I want to challenge you to look for other emotions that convey more about our lives. We all struggle, we all cry, we all get angry.
I took the challenge on myself shooting my family. I let Crystal take some of me as well. I avoided coaching and shot much longer than I normally might for such a simple pose. I just let them relax and almost forget I was there. I paid close attention, looking for fleeting expressions that snap by and could never be re-created if asked.
Are you afraid to show other emotions in your photographs?