I've decided that I'm going to start doing some "Did you know?" posts. I'm putting a lot of work into learning more about photography, and I don't want to keep that all to myself! That would be so selfish of me!
The first post in our Did you know? series is the Science behind a Smile.
Now as a photographer, I can usually tell when someone isn't giving their TRUE smile. Teenage boys are usually really good at the "camera smile" but for some reason don't want their true smile to be captured. I try to approach getting the TRUE smile in 2 different ways: being super silly, or telling them that if they just give me ONE good REAL smile, then Mom will be happy and we can stop taking pictures. With teenage boys, one of those usually works.
Now on the the Science behind a smile.
A smile usually indicates happiness. Happiness is an emotion. With this emotion, only the lower part of the face and the eyes are involved. If there is something going on with the brow/forehead area, you've got another emotion going on.
The main feature of happiness is movement of the mouth. The corners of the lips are drawn back and slightly up. There are the closed smiles with no teeth showing; or a grin where the lips are open and teeth are showing; or a wide grin where lips are open and teeth are parted.
Now while a smile or grin is the most widely known indication of happiness there are also other indications. There are naso-labial folds. These are wrinkle lines running from the nose, out and down to the area beyond the corners of the mouth. These folds can indicate the intensity of the smile. Even if the lips are together, you'll be able to tell the intensity of the smile from the depth of these folds.
The eyes also play a part in an indication of happiness. Some people have crow's feet (I wish my Dad lived close so I could have grabbed a picture of his! They are my favorite part of his smile!) There are also lines that are created below the eye. And sometimes even that little "sparkle" in the eye.
Now a French neurologist Guillaume-Benjamin-Amand Duchenne de Boulogne discovered a sure-fire way to tell if it's a fake smile. It involves both the zygomatic major muscle (which is the one that raises the
corners of the mouth), and the orbicularis oculi muscle (which circles
the eye). Not very many people can voluntarily contract the orbicularis oculi muscle so this is the real indicator of a true smile. we’re talking about the outer part of the muscle that runs all around
the eye socket, and pulls down the eyebrows and the skin below the
eyebrows, while pulling up the skin below the eye and raising
I took these pictures of Larson the other day and while you can definitely tell the real from the fake, let me point out the indicators in a real smile.
The fake smile
The real smile
Some tricks for getting your subject to REALLY smile:
-have them throw their head back and fake laugh (usually they'll REALLY laugh at how silly it is)
-have a good joke on hand
-if you have to...do a silly dance
I think to get real smiles, you have to take a chance to really know them. Get to know them other than just "the person I'm taking pictures of". Talk with them without a camera in sight. I think pictures aren't really about how the person LOOKS, but who the person IS! As a photographer, I try and capture that by getting a REAL smile. (some people just won't give it to you no matter how hard you try, so don't get too discouraged!)
I hope you enjoyed this first segment of Did you know? Please leave a comment if there's anything I can answer for you in my next Did you know? :)
*content of this post was acquired from photographyconcentrate.com check them out, they're awesome!