What's the story about facial expressions?
In a galaxy far, far away (not really) Charles Darwin was one of the first people to quote that facial expressions are innate for humans and other animals.
What does this have to do with becoming a better photographers model? Plenty!!
Facial expressions are an important channel of nonverbal communication. No matter what approach you use, certain facial expressions are associated with particular human emotions. This information can be very powerful for a model who is willing to learn it so pay close attention.
There are ways to alter some of your expressions although your facial expressions will remain your own up to a point. But first, let's learn about what some of the basic facial expressions emote:
Jealousy / envy
How many of these emotions can you bring to your face on demand; anytime you want?
Facial expressions are as important in communicating to the camera in a photo shoot as words are in talking to your friend on the phone.
For example, facial expressions are to deaf individuals what tone in conversation is to hearing people. They are an important way to communicate emotions to others and evoke a reaction. Therefore, facial expressions are an important source of information for human interaction.
But I'm a model -- Not an actor!
True, you are a model which makes it all the more important to use facial expressions and body language to "sell" your look to the viewer. And, even body language doesn't help very much in a headshot!
Whether you are aware of it or not, your facial expression tells a story to the camera and to your audience much the same as an actor tells a story by talking, body language and expressions on their faces. This is what you have to learn to become the best fashion, glamour or commercial model you can be.
An example: Let's suppose you had to talk to your friend and couldn't talk or use your hands; only your face. Could you do it?
Well, many of the supermodels could "talk" instantly using only their facial expressions because they are professionals and have spent hours upon hours practicing their craft.
But, don't despair -- You too can use facial expressions to come across to the people on the other side of the camera!!
Practice - Practice - Practice: If you'll commit to just 30 minutes a day, I'll show you how to become an expert in giving facial expressions in just 10 days
All you have to do to gain that expert status in expressing your feelings with only your face is to look in the mirror. Simple, isn't it?
Take just 20 minutes per day and practice ONE FACIAL EXPRESSION until you can bring up that look without even thinking. Incidentally, this is how many model develop that fantastic smile you see on magazine covers or cosmetic advertisements.
Then, when you've mastered that look, go on to the next one. I won't guarantee that you'll have all the looks in 30 days but I promise that you'll be able to develop a killer look for many situations you want to portray. When that photographer says; "I need a really sad look" you can cheerfully produce it (forgive the oxymoron).
A final thought concerning facial expressions
Remember that facial expressions are very contagious, even on a subconscious level. Many experts tell us that certain basic facial expressions are in fact human traits that are windows to the soul presenting such expressions as happiness, sadness, surprise, fear, disgust, and anger.
Faces and facial expressions are an important aspect of human interaction so doesn't it make sense to use them in modeling? While poses and lighting are essential in producing a successful female photographers model shoot, without facial expressions the photographer and model are in for a long, non-emotional day. What a drag!
America's top models (and in the rest of the world) know the value of giving a sexy look or a pout look or a look of joy to communicate to the people who will be viewing their photos. These models facial expressions are varied and priceless! This is one reason they make the big bucks in the modeling industry.
This is why gestures and facial expressions are so important to you as a model and to me as a photographer. How many different facial expressions are human beings capable of? I'm not sure but I would suggest that you learn as many combinations as possible and you'll find your next model photo session to be more fun and invigorating!! Have some fun with your new skills. Now, go and model!!