Portrait Photographer Test: Can You Spot a Fake Smile?

As portrait photographers, it’s our job to capture our subjects’ true emotions, but we all know that can be more easily said than done. This short and sweet video reveals a tiny secret about spotting a fake smile that could help you create better portraits:

Did you guess the “real” smiles correctly? If so, you’re one of many naturally intuitive people who can easily spot fake smiles.

This ability to identify a genuine smile has an obvious use in photography. In real life, there are way too many distractions that can help a fake smile pass as genuine—distractions such as sound, conversation, and so on. In a photo, however, the smile is frozen in time; there’s lots of time to look at it, thus the bigger the chance to spot a fake smile and therefore not capture the true essence of a person.

genuine vs fake smile

Can you spot the fake smile?

spot real smiles for portraits

Which is the real smile?

For those of us who have a hard time differentiating between real and fake smiles, the secret is in the eyes.

eyes are the secret to spotting real smiles

“During a genuine smile, tiny crinkles appear around the sides of the eyes. During a fake smile, these crinkles are missing.”

You can use this technique to spot fake smiles on the go and thus help your subjects reach a genuine smile. This can help you improve your portraiture so much if used on regular basis.

Do you have any pointers for getting your subject to smile a real smile?

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