Some clients struggle to make serious faces. They are used to smiling during portraits and feel uncomfortable not doing so. When they get serious, their face becomes almost angry looking. For these clients, I don't tell them to be serious. I tell them to relax their face, not smile, and to think of something pleasant. I take time before the shoot to get to know my clients, so perhaps I can mention a particular person or pet in their life that will result in a pleasant but nonsmil-ing emotion on their face. You can develop your own tricks for getting people to look comfortable while serious or to have genuine smiles during the shoot.
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