One of these young ladies has a real genuine smile. You decide.
Smile you’ll feel better… Sounds kind of corny but it is so true. Better yet Smile and you’ll make someone else feel better. If you do not believe me I challenge you to smile at the very next person you see. It may be a family member or a stranger, but give them a good honest from the heart smile and it is most often contagious. It is nothing new and I know we’ve all heard it before, so just smile. I have to admit I do not walk around with a smile on my face all the time. Why? Because that is not me, personally I tend to have a look that makes me hard to approach or so I have been told and I’m happy with that. Most of the time, I’m in deep thought or on a mission to get something done and that’s just me. However I learned a long time ago the power of the genuine and honest smile, I tend to use it as a tool. I know that may sound crazy to some and on the other hand some will agree with me. But yes, I use it as a tool. Maybe you need to lighten the mood, or cheer someone up; maybe you are just saying “good morning” to a coworker. But slip a good honest and genuine smile in with that “good morning” and you’re sure to lighten up the moment… maybe not their day, but just that moment.
So why all this talk about smiling; you may ask? Ok it has been a few days since my last blog post because I have been busy. Last Saturday I photographed an event at a Thai temple out in Center Reach, Long Island. We had several ladies from the THAINEPA that were attending the event and being their photographer I made an effort to make sure I was there. The event was a fundraiser for the Thai Nurse Association of Northeastern America (THANA). The party was filled with the usual singing and some dancing, lots of food and good times with friends. And there was also a fashion show, how cool is that for a photographer. I could go on and on about the highlights of the fashion show but what I would rather talk about is the smiles some of these ladies had on their faces. I noticed it a little bit at the moment I was shooting but it really hit home when I was back at the Reckless Pixel cave editing all the photos.
Now one thing you must know; when I edit close up face shots I’m using a 24 inch monitor and I’m zoomed in to about 85% to 100% to remove blemishes and stray hairs. So I see more and know more about the persons face than they may even know about themselves. As I am going through all the photos I’m looking for the best ones to edit and post, and I am having a hard time finding good smiles on the faces of the girls that are partaking in the fashion show. I’m seeing all these “forced” smiles. It’s almost as if someone has a gun to their head and saying “smile or your dead.” Seriously I never seen so many beautiful girls/ladies in one place at the same time that all looked as if they were constipated or just told they had been chosen to marry a man and live with him in Afghanistan. There were a few that had wonderful smiles and most had a decent smile when they reached center stage. But once past center stage they fell into this horrible forced smile.
Now before you start firing hate comments and nasty email my way I know these girls are not professionals and I know more than anything they were very nervous and I get that and feel for all of them. Most people don’t like to be on stage or a catwalk at all for that matter. But what I’m getting at here is the fact that, the “smile” was the defining element for me as to deciding what a good photo was and what was a… well… just a photo of another pretty girl. All the contestants were beautiful and all were dressed to kill but for me (in my opinion) the face or the dress meant nothing if there was not a big honest from the heart smile on the girls face. So as I’m going through the photos I am talking to myself; saying “self” this really is a wakeup call or maybe I should say a big reminder that if you are out in the public eye and you want to be the front runner in whatever it is that you do, you need to smile. And if you cannot produce a big genuine, honest from the heart smile then you need to learn how to do it. You don’t have to smile every minute of the day but you do need to be able to do it and most importantly it must be genuine. I know I keep saying that over & over but that really is the key to the smile. If it is fake in the least bit that could be a bigger turn off than no smile at all.
As any good photographer knows; if you really want a great photograph of someone you never say “smile” or “cheese” but rather you let it happen naturally. When a photographer says smile the subject almost always gets a look like… well anything but a natural smile. It’s always a look of “you’ve been chosen to marry a man and live with him in Afghanistan.” So go out and smile, you’ll make someone’s day. Maybe even your own.