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Monday, February 28, 2011

Cawfee Tawk Tuesday: Ditch The Cheese!

Happy Tuesday friends! How's that coffee this morning? Well, if it's anything like mine it's pretty light, which is perfect for this week's topic! After 2 weeks of a pretty complex topic like aperature, I thought I'd take it back to something a little easier and maybe a little more fun- getting great expressions from your subjects (aka those adorable kids)!

Now if you're like me, you've got that one kid who just hates your camera. Sure there's one who will ham it up for you any time you want to shoot, but there's that one who just despises having his photo taken. Every time you pull out the camera, you get either the dirty looks or the fake smiles.

Take a quick look at this shot- can you tell who I'm talking about in my family?

Seriously, I love this kid, and he's one of the cutest kids I've ever seen in my life (yes, I know I'm not 100% objective, but I love my mommy goggles)! But I cannot get this kid to look at my camera and give me a real genuine smile. This is the best I get. Mouth close, semi-happy look, more closely resembling the old "you've got 10 seconds mom and I'm out of here" expression.

Now I know I'm not the only one with a subject like this! But what can we do with these faces? How can we get real genuine smiles, honest expressions of the beauty we see everyday?

Well, I can tell you one thing- it sure isn't going to be with the old "SAY CHEESE!!!" so don't do it! Seriously, right now, throw that phrase out of your basket of tricks and never ever go there again! Seriously, you know the face you're going to get with it. I can't even give you an example from my own photos of "that look" because I NEVER EVER say those words! And I am telling you never ever to say them again! You don't want that face.

Why not? Well, simply because it's not real. Life is not cheese (well, maybe soap opera life, but not real life- and that's cheesY, not cheese!). Life is about real emotions and real expressions and for me, I'd rather have a grimace than a "say cheese" smile.

Some of you might not like what I'm saying here, like my own mother, who would much prefer seeing her beautiful grandchildren adorning their best grins! But I think I prefer real life. And sometimes those more serious expressions, those sad faces are almost more beautiful.

However, we all love the smiles sometimes. So if you want some real ones, engage with those kids, talk to them, get their minds away from your camera and back to YOU. Start playing with them and you'll find those smiles. Here I started challenging Brady to make as many silly faces as she possibly could. Not only did I get some great OTHER expressions, but eventually I got what I was really going for- that genuine smile that she could not contain! She was having way too much fun!

And look at this! Mr. "Don't you dare put that camera in front of me!" with a genuine expression of joy! How is this possible? Easy! I tickled him and started teasing him. We were playing and he forgot about the camera. Sure he isn't looking AT ME, but he's genuinely happy and this is one of my favorite shots of him.

Again, I say let them play. Play with them, or get them playing with each other, then shoot the moment. I know nothing makes Mikey boy happier than playing with his brother and sister, so that's how I got this smile. You know your kids and what makes them happy- shoot them doing those things!

Mikey is not the only one in our family who LOVES playing with his siblings. I am starting to figure out that the only thing I need to get my kids truly smiling is another one of my kids playing with them. I'd take this over "CHEESE" any day, and I'm sure you would agree.

Of course, like I said, life is not always joyful and giggly, but even the sad and grumpy moments can be beautiful so I shoot those too! And I'd encourage you to as well! Am I terrible for shooting through this tantrum? Perhaps, but I think not (after all, it's not like he was hurt- he just wanted to hold my camera himself)! Somedays I look at this photo and laugh. Other days I look at it and think "well, it could be worse- Mikey could be screaming like THIS right now!" But I know I will always love this image.

And I encourage you to keep shooting through the tantrums and through the emotions. You may get lucky and get something like this- laughter through the tears. A more beautiful expression I have yet to see.

And if you throw away that CHEESE, keep shooting, and enjoy every expression your loved ones give you, you know you're bound to get the real deal sooner or later- right there, genuine smiles, lookin' right at ya! And there's nothing more beautiful than that!

Get to it! Ditch the cheese, grab the camera, and shoot the emotion. Have an awesome week and send me some examples. There's nothing I love more than real emotion in photography!
Happy shooting!

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tigerwife64 said...

Couldn't agree with you more! Often, the only way I get a good smile is to tease my grandson and, often, tell him not to smile and, eventually, he says, "You're teasing me, Mamou" and bursts into a huge grin!! Got a new 85 mm 1.8 lens today - should be better for natural light indoors:)

Kerry said...

Great post Jen... I love all the pics. I agree, the serious pics are real life... we don't smile all the time :) Precious pics of your kids.



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