We’ve all heard it a million times. I’m willing to bet every photographer has said it, if only just once in a moment of weakness. It’s like an MC getting up on stage and saying, “Testing, 1…2…3…” into the mic, and it’s the death of anything natural or fun in a photo–“Say cheese!”
I’m convinced that we train people to take bad photos. It starts in school when children are forced to wear something nice (and probably uncomfortable) for their class photo, which is taken by an under-paid and unenthused (or overly caffeinated and eerily excited) guy with a camera. Parents buy these photos and display them proudly, no matter how awkward the child in front of the awful background looks, or how much that child hates the photo. The child quickly learns that class pictures will turn out horribly and haunt them until next year’s come around. When people tell me they hate being in front of the camera, I blame this experience.