Does anyone really ever say cheese when they smile?
No, yet inevitably photographers continue to ask people to say “cheese” before they click.
I have searched for the source of why the word cheese is invoked before picture taking, and except for the reference to a photographer once cutting the cheese, the repeated use of this word to create a perfect grin remains a mystery. However, the ‘long e’ sound in cheese, does produce the desired effect of opening up your mouth and turning up the corners for a smiling look.
When you genuinely smile, it causes natural wrinkles around your eyes, but when your smile is insincere only the lips smile. If only the mouth turns up at the corners of a smile, it instantly reads fake.
Another way to achieve a genuine, natural-looking smile is by lifting your tongue up behind your front teeth. This results in raising your chin ever so slightly and helping to open up your mouth a bit.
Research also shows that in the courtroom when an apology is offered with a smile, the penalty is less than an apology without one. So your grandmother was right when she told you a smile goes a long way and that practice makes perfect!
By the way, never force a smile by showing all your teeth in a joker grin.
We know you have teeth, we just don’t need to see them all at once!
Smiling with your lips closed can be authentic too, as long as you are conveying a real emotion with your eyes.