Here there is really only one choice. One outcome. This universal command used by (too) many professional photographers, alongside a gazillion amateur photographers, frequently leads to just one thing only: a fake smile.
A contrived smile. Obligatory. Forced. Singular. Auto-pilot half-emotion.
At best, it is well rehearsed – at least to people who are naturally good auto-pilot smilers (I’m definitely not one of them). At worst, it’s unnatural and wooden – fixed in monotone. It’s a prime reason so many millions of amateur photos taken on camera phones – not least of all selfies – all fundamentally look the same.
Amazing, really, to think how a simple one-word command has created so much wide-spread photo portrait insularity.
The 100% natural smile is something you just can’t put a price on, with many variations from moment to passing moment. These wonderous variations in organic momentary smiles, at the risk of sentiment, can never be faked.
As the saying goes: ‘Life is not a rehearsal’; thus, 100% natural momentary smiles are both myriad and wider in range than any artificial smile the word ‘cheese’ might evoke in capturing the true life of a subject.
And don’t even get me started on trout pouts.