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Style & Blogging: Should We Smile in Photographs?

Isn't saying cheesy just a bit to cheesy? In this post you can listen to me rant about why we shouldn't feel forced to smile in photographs, by Rosa Fairfield.

Pictures by Linda Smith









I feel like everyone is always telling me to smile and stop looking miserable in photographs. Here's my case against smiling.

Say cheesy 
Once, I was out shopping and these complete strangers approached me and asked to take my picture. I said okay. I'm standing there and the next minute they're shouting at me to smile! The worst part was that I was actually trying to smile you just couldn't tell because my smile is very lopsided. Little tip though, if you want someone to look happy, it's best not to shout at them.

I mean sure smile, but only if it's genuine. I'm literally the worst at pretending to smile in photographs. They're these picture from my graduation that my parents have on their wall. My mouth is smiling but my eyes are screaming 'I really don't want to be here, someone please save me'. They're such funny photographs to look at.

A blast from the past
I love looking at photographs from when I was really little. They range from silly fun poses to me visibly looking annoyed. They're just so genuine and that's what makes them interesting to look at because you feel like you can immerse yourself in that moment.

I kinda do that out of a sense of nostalgia. I feel like people just let kids be but when you get older you have to look a certain way or act a certain why and you start to become self-conscious. Looking back through old photos, I can kinda see where that change happens. It goes from genuine to fake smiles and stiff poses in my teen years.

Fake news
I think there's nothing worse than looking back on family pictures and seeing that they're all completely fake and staged. The whole point of photographs is to capture and document a certain moment in time. You want to tell a story. I don't think that always needs to be a happy story. There are some fascinating photographs of people arguing out there. You only really capture those moments though when people don't realize their picture is being taken. Life is messy, not perfectly staged.

Is happiness the only valid emotion?
To find a picture visually interesting, it doesn't have to be a happy photo. There are so many other different emotions out there. I like to use my current mood to subtly influence my photographs. If I'm happy I'll do more goofy funny poses. Then if I'm feeling more moody, I'll tend to be more still in photos. If I'm feeling more relaxed, I'll normally close my eyes and let my arms float around.

To be honest. That's not some kind of ethical statement. I just really hate standing there smiling when I don't feel like smiling. All it does is make me feel miserable or annoyed. As much as I really enjoy photoshoots, I'm not a fan of having my picture taken in real life, outside of that environment.