Here’s an incredibly simple tip for photographing people - and one that really works. Instead of telling your subjects to say “cheese” when you’re posing them for a photo, tell them to say “cheeks” instead!


The short version is that whereas saying the word “cheese” involves only a fairly slight movement of the mouth, leading to an obviously-forced smile, saying the word “cheeks” also involves a raising of the cheeks and a contraction of muscles around the eyes, which leads to a more convincing smile. A so-called “Duchenne smile”, in fact - named after the French neurologist who studied smiles in the mid-19th century, and identified two distinct types of smiles (sincere/Duchenne vs. insincere/non-Duchenne).


Interestingly, scientists have recently suggested that fake or not, putting on a Duchenne smile can also help combat stress and put you in a better mood. Sure, it sounds a little crazy, but maybe it’s not such a bad idea to start saying “cheeks” behind the camera as well!