April 1st is celebrated around the world as a day to play pranks on those nearest and dearest to you. Known as April Fool’s Day in the United States, Poisson d’Avril in France, and Pesce d’Aprile in Italy. Whatever name it goes by, any time a prank is pulled the opportunity is ripe to make a photograph that captures true and genuine joy.
A well executed prank is worth capturing well. The true joy and raw happiness you will capture as a result may not be easy, but it is worth the effort.
Lisa shares her tips for capturing joy on April Fool’s Day and beyond below.
- It’s not a photoshoot, it’s a fun moment
The easiest way to capture happy expressions is to make sure that your subject is having fun. It may sound obvious but it is often as simple as that. Try to think up a prank that will be as fun as possible for your mark. A prank that will cause annoyance (like gluing down a computer keyboard) is unlikely to elicit joy and make for a good photograph. On the other hand, a prank designed to elicit giggles, such as filling a room with balloons, will likely result in fun, emotion filled photos.
- Laughter is your best friend
Sine you are making the photos, you will be in the room when your subject discovers the prank designed just for them. YOU should make every effort to have genuine fun as well as your own laughter will be infectious and your subjects will follow your lead without effort. Find an activity that will also make YOU smile to make sure that you are oozing joy!
- Make smart choices
Adapt the timing and location of the prank to maximize your chances of making great photos. If you are pulling a prank on a family member, consider rooms in your home that get the best light and plan a prank there. Consider as well the best time of day to make a great photo in your home. If your kitchen gets better light in the late afternoon than in the morning consider serving your family a frozen bowl of mac n’ cheese for dinner rather than a frozen bowl of cereal in the morning. If you are planning a prank in the workplace, see if you can use a conference room that may get better light and have fewer distractions than a co-workers cubicle. Although your subject’s reaction is somewhat unpredictable, as much has possible plan out the best light and composition ahead of time so you can focus on the moment when the prank is occurs. Also, bear in mind that pranks don’t need to be complicated to elicit surprise and joy and photograph well.
- Use movement
Movement helps your subject forget about the camera, loosens tension and releases endorphins… Which are great assets when you want to capture happiness and works well with children and adults. Classic pranks like using an airhorn as a door stop so that your subject will jump back as the horn sounds, forcing your mark to walk through tons of balloons as they enter or exit a room, or causing surprise all cause your subject to move – and likely not notice the camera at all.
- Get some help
Sometimes, having someone to help you out can be invaluable. Truly joyful or surprised expressions often last a fraction of a second, so you need to be fully concentrated behind the camera to catch them. It is not easy to execute a prank on your own while taking the shot and still get a sharp, well composed image. If someone else is in charge of making the sure the prank goes off without a hitch, it’s much easier to get the perfect shot.