Cute Girl + Nerdy Scarf = Winning Photo!

Sometimes, when I am not taking photos or volunteering, I fill my time with making stuff, like this super cool Doctor Who scarf. I originally made it for my youngest daughter to wear for her birthday photos. A friend saw it and commissioned me to make another as a Christmas gift this year. I have been taking product photos for my clients for years now, I hadn't thought that my side hobby may be a money maker as well. 

So, I asked my kid's babysitter if she would model for me, that way if I do end up opening up an Etsy page, I have decent photos to add to it. 

She took directions like a champ! I was lucky that some of the trees in the desert still had their Autumn leaves. Over all, I would say the shoot yesterday was a success!

Say Cheese?

My youngest has a little camera and is walking around saying, "Say cheese!", and it made me think, why? If someone didn't understand the reasoning behind this request, it would seem quite odd.

The purpose is to make the subject, assuming they speak English and are able to speak, make the "E" sound, and thus turning their mouth into shape resembling a smile.

I have a few other words I use to get clients to make this face. They are, in no particular order:

  1. Mommy
  2. Daddy
  3. Cookie
  4. Puppy
  5. Kitty
  6. Poopy
  7. Papaya
Number 6 is a popular one among little boys. Number 7 makes adults smile just because it is unexpected. 

So, the desired effect is a smile, but unfortunately it can also result in what my family calls the "Chicken Run" face.

I have learned that "cheese" doesn't translate well in Spanish, but the result is humorous enough to get Hispanic clients to crack a smile. "Say queso!"

I recently did what could be called "marathon" portrait sessions at a church nativity event, where families were lined up for a free photo with a pretty backdrop.

I had to get complete strangers to quickly pose and smile for a photo, which means I had to create an instant rapport. I can say it takes a very specific set of skills which have been developed over the years to successfully take photos in this manner of individuals with a variety of personalities.

It takes a lot of energy for me to step into the role of confident, extroverted professional photographer. It is just a facet of multi-dimensional me. :-)

Anyway, back to cheese. Where did this begin? Why cheese and not peas? What do photographers in other countries say to get their clients to pull a smile? Probably not queso.

Photo credit - PetaPixelRotten TomatoesBright Photography