When smiling for a photo, avoid the urge to say “cheese.” The word actually stretches your mouth into an unnatural, unflattering smile. Instead next time you’re having your photograph taken again don’t say “cheese”, say “cheeks”. The “k” sound at the end of word is what begins to lift your cheeks upward, and that’s one of the most important aspects of a natural looking smile. If you’re in a situation where saying the word “cheeks” for no reason might draw unneeded attention, you can just mouth it. This can be especially effective when you’re taking photos of kids. There are other ways to get those cheeks up too. Words that end in “uh” also work well such as “mocha” or “yoga,” these also help to bring the corners of your mouth up naturally.
So why does saying “cheeks” work better than “cheese?” Earlier we pointed out that will not only shape your mouth nicely but will also remind you to squeeze your cheeks upwards into a visually satisfying, genuine-looking Duchenne smile.
What is a Duchenne smile? In the mid-19th century French neurologist Guillaume Duchenne identified two distinct types of smiles while conducting research on the physiology of facial expressions. A Duchenne smile involves contraction of both the zygomatic major muscle (which raises the corners of the mouth) and the orbicularis oculi muscle (which raises the cheeks and forms crow’s feet around the eyes). More recent research suggests that smiling in which the muscle around the eye contracts, raising the cheeks high (Duchenne smiling), is uniquely associated with positive emotion.
If neither of these work for you, try to think of something funny. A laughing smile is almost always a better looking one than a staged or forced one. We hope you find this advice useful and you become a lot more confident in showing that natural smile. After all a smile says it all…