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How to get those natural smiles in your brand photos

advice | branding | photography
natural smiles brand photos

People often say to me how much they love the natural photos I share on my socials. But, they worry about looking natural in front of the camera or that their smiles feel forced, and they want that natural, unposed, candid look. Well, here’s the sneaky truth. Those natural photos you love so much are totally posed! But it’s done in a way that doesn’t feel fake or forced, using prompts and other techniques to pull out the natural in-between moments. So, I’m going to share some secrets about how to get those genuine smiles in your brand photos in this blog post!

natural smiles brand photos

Before The Shoot

Yes, the key to natural smiles begins even before you arrive for your photo shoot! I wholeheartedly believe in you being your most comfortable and confident self before you step in front of my camera. This is why I’ll always advocate wearing an outfit you feel super stunning in and doing your makeup and hair if that makes you feel your best self, too. 

If you walk into the shoot already feeling incredible, that confidence will come across in your photographs. You won’t be focusing on how you look because you’ll know… YOU LOOK GOOOOOD! 

Calm Those Nerves

If you’re feeling nervous, that shows all over your face. Even if you don’t intend it to. It’s hard to mask nerves, no matter how hard you try! So, if you’re feeling nervous, take a minute. Close your eyes, focus on your breathing, taking some deep breaths in and out and, when you’re feeling calmer, open your eyes and smile. I guarantee you, your smile will look so much more natural. 

This is a trick I use quite often with clients who are feeling nervous. I’ll often show them the before and after shots, too, so they can see the difference.

brand shoot natural smiles

Practise Makes Perfect

It might sound silly, but practising your smile in the mirror is a sure-fire way to help figure out what feels most natural to you. You’d be in great company – all the models and actors practise how to smile

It might feel weird and a bit self-conscious at first. But the more you do it, the easier it starts to feel. So that when you wind up in front of a camera, giving a winning smile will feel like the most natural thing in the world. 

Happy Thoughts

There’s nothing better for promoting a genuine, natural smile than remembering the happiest thoughts and memories. You do it all the time in your everyday life, so why not take it into your photo shoot, too? 

In theatre, we call that “method acting, dah-ling”! But I guarantee you, it works! If you’re thinking about your favourite family memories, how can you not smile? 

Fake It

Ok, this might seem a little strange, given that I’ve been talking about natural smiles here. But there’s something about forcing a smile or a laugh that encourages the real ones to follow on pretty quickly afterwards. It’s why you’ll sometimes hear a photographer say, ‘Throw your head back and give us your biggest, fake laugh!’. They’ll be there to capture the fake laugh, but they’re really waiting for the real one that comes afterwards, and they’ll be ready to capture that as well.

You’ve heard of laughter therapy, right? In those sessions, they start off with the fake laughing, but it soon turns into real laughter – which is where the therapy comes in! So, don’t be afraid to fake it at first – just don’t fake it all the time!

natural smiles headshot

Avoid The Cheese

Remember what your parents used to get you to shout as they were taking your photograph on your birthday? Say cheeeese! Am I right?

Apart from the fact that saying the word cheese doesn’t actually encourage your mouth into a natural smile, it’s, well, distinctly cheesy. And no one wants a brie-zy smile in their brand photos, do they? Don’t be tempted to go with the cheese factor to bring about a smile. Leave the cheese for the crackers after your shoot is over. 

Trust Your Photographer

When all is said and done, your photographer will do everything they can to get the most natural facial expressions and smiles from you. We might tell some jokes or stories or get you to share a few of your own. We may act a bit goofy (ok, this is standard behaviour for me!). And we sometimes use weird little prompts, too.

Trust your photographer. They know what they’re doing, and they’re the ones controlling the camera. So go with what they’re doing and saying and believe that they’re going to get the loveliest photographs of you that they can. After all, it makes good job sense to give you pictures that you love, rather than ones you hate, right? 

And if you’re ready to have a lot of smiling time on your next branding shoot, then we should have a chat. Get in touch to talk about your brand photography, and let’s see if I’m the photographer for you 🙂

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