Don’t Always Have People Smiling and Looking at the Camera. You May End Up With Just a Snapshot.

Young man with grimace of disgust

Think about the shot you are about to take if it involves people.

Remember that as soon as you have a person or people looking at the camera smiling you are in danger of creating a “snapshot.”

In the viewers mind you run the risk of having your photograph lumped in with a million other snapshots they have seen.


2 thoughts on “Don’t Always Have People Smiling and Looking at the Camera. You May End Up With Just a Snapshot.”

  1. In a true portrait, of course, the subjects are likely to be smiling at the camera. (Even here, one can be creative; have them look at each other, or the baby of the family, or a staged focus of attention.)
    I have my camera with me constantly, and go about taking pictures of everything and everyone at an event, say a family birthday party. By walking about, swinging the camera and firing the shutter constantly, people get used to the camera and stop watching it. That’s when you can get some great pictures- candids- that more often show the true personality of the subject, and they don’t look staged. In some cases, my older grandkids, for instance, I can actually “pester” them a little, get in close, keep firing with the sequence shutter. It’s fun and breaks the tension, and the grandkids typically begin smiling and laughing at grandpa’s antics- which has made for some of the best pictures I’ve taken of them.
    Hang around with the camera always in front of your face, and shoot lots of frames, and the camera (and photographer) becomes part of the landscape. (No pun intended).

    All the best,


  2. God knows why people believe that smiling is “the right thing to do” when having their portraits taken. Maybe is something we take at face value because everyone says so. Look at the great masters of European art, nobody is smiling in their portraits. Having said that I must say that the exception to this is the children, but because they are not self-conscious as we are; they are spontaneous and therefore they are excellent models.

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