I'm shooting a model, a rather inexperienced model, and getting expressions out of her was like trying to suck mashed potatoes through a straw.
She had a singular expression: A small-to-medium-sized, less-than-sincere smile that was somewhat reminiscent of about a half a billion high school yearbook photos. (I'm not overly down on high school yearbook photo smiles, they just don't have a prominent place on glamour-shooting sets.)
I tried everything to evoke some sign of life from this model but nothing seemed to work.
At one point I asked her to look "vulnerable."
No response other than the yearbook smile became a bit fainter.
I replaced the word "vulnerable" with "anxious."
I changed "anxious" to "apprehensive."
I asked her to look "scared."
She didn't actually look scared, not even close, but she did look slightly vulnerable.
"More scared!" I said.
She appeared slightly more vulnerable.
"Really, really scared!" I shouted.
Just then, my client walked in.
"Whoa!" he said. "I don't want photos of scared looking chicks!"
"I'm just trying to..." I tried explaining as he quickly cut me off.
"Jimmy!" He said with his best, I'm the boss, authoritative voice. "No scared chicks! I don't want them looking scared!"
I looked back at my once-again-high-school-yearbook-half-smiling-no-longer-vulnerable model. The client walked out of the room.
"Okay. We're done," I told the model.
And we were.
Done, that is.
I knew anything I might say or do after my client's interruption would be a complete waste of time. The model felt vindicated in her efforts to really SUCK as a model. My client stripped any semblance of "Jimmy's the skipper of this photo shoot" from me. Fortunately, I also knew I had enough shots already snapped, leastwise from a numerical standpoint, to minimally satisfy the photo-bean-counters in the art department.
Model #2 for this particular shoot was completely different. She was very expressive and, as such, way more fun to shoot with.
The pretty girl at the top is Angela, aka Model #2. It's not the kind of pic I'd ordinarily choose to post but she has this cute, pixie-like, almost Tinker Bell-ish look with expressions to match. I can visualize her with fairy wings and pointy elven ears even if wings on a model is the ultimate in glamour cliche and prosthetic ears, elven or otherwise, aren't a commonly-seen makeup effect on too many of my sets.