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Help: Model not very comfortable with her smile

Discussion in 'People' started by SamIAM, Jul 26, 2007.

  1. These days I am working on my lighting 101.

    How do I make my model smile spontaneously?

    Afraid to show her teeth:

    Opens up the lips but looks plasticy:


    Change of a dress does not work either:

    But several months back, she smiled quite well but I did not have my cheapo umbrella kit that time:

    I guess I need to persevere.:biggrin:

    Someday I want to create images like Stu and Charlies. :505:
  2. I am no expert, but the atmosphere looks different. She smiled easily in a "home" environment but gets "shy" in a studio. I think it is a natural reaction. She needs to be made more comfortable.
  3. I have the same problem with my Niece.. Hundreds of photos and not one relaxed smile...

    I guess we just keep trying!
  4. OnlyJess243

    OnlyJess243 Guest

    same thing happens with my niece but except she does it when she knows she's "modeling." when its a snapshot while doing the shoot she smiles real big but when she knows were taking pictures for the shoot she has a calmer smile. i dont know why but i think thats just the way the little ones are when they aren't too sure on how they should smile (for a family pic or professional pic)
  5. The worst thing you can do is tell her to "smile"!

    If you're looking for natural expressions, you'll have to draw them out of her. Talk to her while you're shooting and click the shutter while she's reacting to something you've said. Ask her about her favourite toy, or to tell you what the best thing was that she did that day. As others have said, if you make her feel comfortable, she will LOOK comfortable and natural.

    Good luck!!
  6. Thank you everyone. I assume Steph summarizes it all. Need to take time and make her feel at ease...
  7. How's your sense of humor?? Try joking with her to get a smile. You could also ask her to make her ugliest face for you. Shoot that, and wait a second or two (but be ready to shoot), as a genuine smile will usually follow after. :biggrin:

    On another note, the first 3 pics you have posted are severely underexposed. I see that you shot them at f/5. Looks like you had the flash power set too low, bump that up a bit and you should be good to go. Good luck.
  8. Many thanks Keith. I have two flashes one SB-800 and one SB-600. With two kinds of menus I am struggling a bit. Might be going for all SB800s.
  9. No problem. I don't know much about the sb-600, but for the sb800 and a multiple flash setup, using manual will probably work best. Keep it at 100%, and use the sb600 for fill at may 1/4 or 1/2 power. You may be required to use a smaller aperture are f/8-f/10 +/1 a stop or two. If you haven't been there, try www.strobist.com .

    Having the gear allows you to experiment until you're able to find the settings that work best for you and provide you with the best results.
  10. cwilt


    Apr 24, 2005
    Denver, CO
    Make her comfortable in the studio setting. Does she have a favorite doll or stuffed critter?

    You will never get a true smile when you ask for it. A true smile is a positive response to something else. If you want her to smile, you smile at her. Let her see you do it. Let spending time with her be the most important thing and the pictures will come.

    I'm lucky because Amanda can do emotions nearly on que now. I just tell her what I am thinking of and ask her to think of something that makes her feel that way. examples.... sad = when her pony died, anger = Logan running his Tonka trucks over her dolls, happy = spraying me with the water hose.

    It takes a little time but in the end its just as much a performance by you as it is by her. By performance I mean the posing and getting into character.

    When using the flashes like studio strobes you should treat them as such. Use manual flash settings and flash to subject distance.
  11. mcwb01


    Jul 21, 2007
    Arlington, VA
    Tell her NOT to smile. You may get a smile that way!
  12. ROFL...

    you have been given some very good advice, especially about the model being comfortable, that means everything.

    Here is a link in using multiple flashes. I know you dont have the same ones, but it will still work with a little tweaking.
  13. Many thanks Charles. Will try to work on these advices.

    Kind regards.
  14. You have a valid point. List night I was watching a portrait photography video tape that I bought at a library sale. The photog was using the same trick and also asking the subject to say funny phrases like 'Money', 'Party time', 'Merry Christmas', 'Happy New Year' etc.
  15. Roy,
    Many thanks for this link. I keep following the good posts by you all and try to learn.
  16. paradiddle


    Jun 1, 2007
    Sam -

    I don't have two flashes but I do have a SB-600. I use it wireless 95% of the time using my D80 in commander mode/manual. You just have to put your SB-600 in wireless. Then make all of your adjustments on either the SB-800 or the camera (if it has commander mode). The only problem I have is I can't get the D80 not to preflash. I think you can on what I have read on the D200. I need to get an SU-800. By the way I love!!!!! my new umbrella and stand. Have you made a snoot with the black straws yet? I love that also. I hope this helped.
  17. Thanks Gary. I use the SB-800 as the fill flash with SC-28 attached. SB-800 in Master mode fires the Sb-600 is at about 45 degree angle (serving as Key.). In case I become interested in portraiture, I might go for Alien Bee type of lighting with Pocket Wizard.

    For me now the challenge is to get the right ratio between this two (as recommended by Roy 3:1). Handling all this settings and sessions at home is slowly making me bit better. I realize now that some of the amateur portraits I did, there is lots of scope of improvement.

    I would say, my work is not very consistent. Some other day I did better



    Kind regards
  18. Hey Sam,

    I am by no means an expert, but here's what I do to get my kids comfortable in a studio environment.

    First, I use a tripod and a cable release. I position my kids where I want them, do all the test shots with "goofy" faces, get my lighting, and metering correct, then set focus manually. Now I'm ready.

    When I take the shots, I'm not looking through the lens...I'm looking at them. I know what makes my kids laugh (just say "poop" to either of my sons and they crack a smile), so I do some very light prompting and I usually get a smile or two...

    JMHO, you will find what works for you.
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