Getting Rid of the Fake Smile

Getting Rid of the Fake Smile

Posted on Oct 15, 2012 in Blog

I’ve been photographing Aidan fairly regularly since the day he was born, and for almost five years he just ignored me. But now that he’s in kindergarten, he’s in that self-conscious phase that makes him automatically slap a fake smirk on his face for photos. Ugh!

To get him out of that rut, I playfully encourage him to make funny faces. “Give me your silliest face.” “Look angry.” Do that thing your daddy does with his eyebrow.” “Whatever you do, don’t smile.” I snap away on these silly expressions, because they’re priceless.

Then I tell him to think about something silly the the dog did, or I tell him a joke, or I make a face back at him, and he’s guaranteed to get a genuine giggle going. Sometimes at this point, I can even ask him to smile and he’ll give me a real, satisfying, eye-crinkling one. That’s how I can tell it’s the real deal, when his eyes are smiling. I’ve found that leading him through the different facial expressions before asking him to grin seems to loosen up those muscles and banish the dreaded fake smile. All it takes is a little silliness.

This Little Piggy…

This Little Piggy…

Posted on Jun 14, 2011 in Blog | One Comment

I made the unfortunate decision ages ago to purchase a Canon SLR camera just about a year or two before digital cameras exploded and made film cameras all but obsolete. So I’ve been a little behind in my photography technology, using everything in my bag of tricks to get by with a point and shoot. After years of yearning, I finally made an investment in my photography habit, getting the new Nikon D5100 DSLR camera, and I’m LOVING IT. I’m still getting used to having complete control over how I capture my images, and am mostly shooting in automatic mode for now. But I’ve also checked a ton of books out of the library to work on my photography technique, shooting in manual, and improving my shot composition. I just love doing research.

Conveniently, I have a new muse. Earlier this year, I became a real aunt (not just an honorary one), and I was fortunate enough to spend a weekend with them, taking photos of my nephew for hours. Of course, I also played with him, fed him, soothed him, and generally stared in awe at him. But usually with a camera nearby. (That’s me holding him while taking a photo, below.)

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Joy of Luck

Posted on Mar 15, 2011 in Blog | No Comments

As you may have noticed, I had a blast participating in Kelly Willette’s Joy of Love online photography workshop during the month of February. Having the daily prompts and camera tips really rejuvenated my photography, made me more familiar with the settings on my cameras, and spurred me to finally figure out how to use actions in Photoshop Elements. Since then, I’ve found myself picking up my camera more often, feeling free to snap self-portraits of me and my husband, and tackling the large backlog of unedited photos I’ve been collecting for a long while. (To give you an idea of how bad it is, I recently posted photos of a month-old baby days before her first birthday. And those aren’t my oldest unedited photos. Oops!)

Here’s one of my new all-time favorite shots of John and me, taken as a self-portrait with my point-and-shoot camera at his brother and sister-in-law’s baby shower earlier this month, where I put my new-found photo inspiration to use. I also love the way I processed it with PE actions, which turned a so-so photo in mediocre light into something that really captured a fun moment.

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An American in Paris

Posted on Mar 15, 2011 in Blog | No Comments

John and I went to the Philadelphia Flower Show last week, which is supposedly the largest indoor flower show in the world. After a long, cold winter, I have to admit I was eager to see some flora, especially since this year’s theme was “Springtime in Paris” and the City of Lights happens to be one of my favorite travel destinations. The mood was set from the moment we walked in and caught a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower’s base in the center of the big exhibits, which looked slightly more realistic than the Kings Dominion version.

I enjoyed using some of my recently revived photography skills (thanks to the Joy of Love class) to snap some close-ups of the flowers, especially the ones that cause me violent allergic reactions, like these lilies. Now I can enjoy them safely without risking my health. (more…)

Day 28: the future

Posted on Mar 1, 2011 in Blog | No Comments

I was fortunate enough to have this last Joy of Love theme coincide with my playday with Aidan. Aidan’s my fake nephew, the almost 4-year-old son of a couple of my best friends. He’s grown up with Dorsey, as I provided occasional day care for him during his first year of life, and still occasionally keep him when he’s too sick for school. When Aidan was transitioning into the toddling stage, he would occasionally fall on top of Dorsey. Dorsey, thinking Aidan was inviting him to wrestle, would happily react by batting him in the head, to my horror. However, now the tables are turned, as Aidan seems to think Dorsey is another kid who will play games with him and follow his detailed instructions.

Today, Aidan was being very sweet with Dorsey. I hope that playing and learning to be patient with Aidan will help Dorsey in the future when we have kids of our own. I thought this shot of Aidan going tête-à-tête with Dorsey was particularly cute.

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