Here is a tip for looking your best in your family portrait photograph. Your mum will love it!
Did you know that a direct gaze and a smile are considered most attractive to the viewer? I read in a psychology journal from the Psychology School of Aberdeen that an averted gaze without a smile is perceived as more attractive than an averted gaze with a smile. In addition to this the study found that a direct gaze without a smile was less attractive than a direct gaze with a smile.
This all sounds fairly obvious I know, but it is surprising how powerful this information is when you are shooting a portrait of somebody.
When my clients view their family portrait images they inevitably have ‘favourites’ and they are more often than not those images that have them or their family smiling and looking at the camera. This information allows me to concentrate on capturing these types of images on the portrait shoot and not spending time on averted gazes (even if I like them).
The only time I would bend this rule is when shooting groups or couples looking at each other such as with a wedding couple or family. The interaction between people can be attractive in itself and make for beautiful candid images.
Look at the examples below and draw your own conclusions.