Get up and dance, get up and smile, get up and drink to the days that are gone in the shortest while.—Simon Fowler
As a photographer, a smile isn’t always what I’m wanting to see. Sure, if we’re doing engagement photos or at a birthday party, then by all means, smile away. But for more editorial looks, especially those that involved carefully designed and applied makeup, a big smile can ruin everything. Smiles change the shape of the face, push the cheeks up toward the eyes, and often cause people to appear as though they are squinting. For editorial or fashion work, the wrong kind of smile can be absolutely devastating to the photograph.
A smile is a form of encouragement, an unspoken greeting that is inherently cheerful. Mother used to complain that one of the biggest differences between living in Kansas versus Oklahoma was that people in Kansas didn’t smile as much. Mom had a habit of smiling almost any time she was in public. When she met someone on the street she would smile and say hello. People from Oklahoma were like that once upon a time. When she moved to Kansas in 1958, though, folks up there looked at her as though she were crazy for smiling so much. She found the difference quite disheartening.
Smiles aren’t just something that happens at the mouth. Smiles take up the whole face, especially the eyes. The look in a person’s eyes when they smile lets one know whether the apparent cheer is sincere. A smile can be evil, after all. I have met a couple of people whose noses changed shape and flattened when they smile, which was interesting to observe. There are also some people who can’t seem to smile without blushing, no matter what might be the circumstances.
Smiling may be the best thing a face does. I think, at least anecdotally, people who smile more are easier to remember. We respond more positively to people who smile when we meet them for the first time. The absence of a smile on a person’s face tends to make us feel uncomfortable and we worry what might be wrong.
It’s Friday the 13th and a lot of people are likely to be needing a smile. Why not help out their face and give them a smile they remember? You’ll improve the world one face at a time.