Don't say "Cheese!"
January 7, 2017 9:28 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to ask my subjects to say something other than "Cheese!" when I'm taking a photo, especially of a group. What do you use to make them crack up and produce a genuine smile or laugh? Bonus points for wacky or inappropriate to use on friends.
posted by Dragonness to Media & Arts (29 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
Anal beads?
posted by zebra at 9:35 AM on January 7, 2017 [1 favorite]


Either tell them to glare at you very seriously without smiling, or tell them to make a really stupid face. Either way, they'll crack up within a few seconds, and you take the shot then. (Works best if you can fire off shots very quickly, obviously.)
posted by snowmentality at 9:59 AM on January 7, 2017


It's a weird thing; but in our family we always say: "Pickle Popper Tuna." The shock of hearing it for the first time usually makes people laugh.
posted by Fuzzy Lumpkins at 10:11 AM on January 7, 2017


Best answer: 3, 2, 1, Squeeze your butt cheeks together!

Everyone laughs every time.
posted by gregr at 10:17 AM on January 7, 2017 [4 favorites]


I remember people in Chile telling us to say "whiskey!"
posted by vunder at 10:39 AM on January 7, 2017 [1 favorite]


I was at a literary festival not too long ago at which an author took a photo of us, the audience, before his reading. He asked us to say 'sex,' which produced good photo faces because of the way one's mouth is positioned after saying the word and the risqué amusement factor. Since then, it's been alluded to on Facebook, but only the participants know the actual prompt, which lends an air of convivial secrecy to the whole thing.
posted by Devika at 10:48 AM on January 7, 2017 [1 favorite]


The reason "cheese" works is that even if it doesn't make you smile, the long E sound makes your mouth take the shape of a smile. You could go with "sneeze" or something silly like "please sneeze, Eloise." That might get a laugh.
posted by gideonfrog at 11:01 AM on January 7, 2017 [2 favorites]


Was called on to say LUBE by a photographer once, in a different language though that made us both do and eeeee shape with our mouths as well as laugh.
posted by Iteki at 11:02 AM on January 7, 2017


"Think of something cheesy!" subverts their expectations enough to get a smile or chuckle. If there's kids in the shot, it's also "suitable for all ages."
posted by dono at 11:11 AM on January 7, 2017


Best answer: My wife's family uses "Fuzzy Pickles" instead of "Cheese."
It seems to be especially effective with the little ones.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:29 AM on January 7, 2017


The reason "cheese" works is that even if it doesn't make you smile, the long E sound makes your mouth take the shape of a smile. You could go with "sneeze" or something silly like "please sneeze, Eloise." That might get a laugh.

"Penis" has the long "e" effect as well as being inappropriate and hilarious.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 11:42 AM on January 7, 2017


You can't use "weiner" to the same effect, however. Everyone will wind up making the Donald Trump face.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 11:46 AM on January 7, 2017


I have a bunch of pix from the JoCo cruise that came out really, really well because I threw a weird pair of "acting" prompts at them. First, it's "now let's do a picture as though YOU'RE ON FIRE!", and then they do something silly, but when I follow that with "and now let's do one as though I am on fire!" they really seemed to cut loose and have fun with it.

A similar pattern might work for you.
posted by uberchet at 11:58 AM on January 7, 2017


My family says "soufflé!" It produces better smiles than cheese.
posted by ocherdraco at 12:00 PM on January 7, 2017


I say tasty you say cheese!
TASTY!
Cheese!
TASTY!
Cheese!
posted by bq at 12:30 PM on January 7, 2017


Squeeze!
Huggieeeees!
Tease!
Knees!
Wees!
posted by pseudostrabismus at 12:36 PM on January 7, 2017


Penis.
posted by SakuraK at 12:44 PM on January 7, 2017


pizza has the long e that mimics smiling
masturbate makes people laugh
posted by theora55 at 12:53 PM on January 7, 2017


In Spain, instead of "Cheese!", the standard thing is to have people say "Sífilis!" (pronounced "see fee lees").
posted by fuzz at 2:11 PM on January 7, 2017


I say "1,2" then take a picture then say "whoops 3!" and take another picture. People laugh because they think I messed up, but it's a planned way to get a legitimate smile instead of a pasted-on one.

You do need to be familiar with your camera's shutter speed, and it doesn't work with the same group of people after a while but it's been effective for me.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 2:44 PM on January 7, 2017 [3 favorites]


Say "yoga!" for natural faces and smiles. No one smiles in real life like they're saying "cheese." The AH in yoga tends to linger and mouths look pretty normal and smiley.
posted by tristeza at 3:23 PM on January 7, 2017


"Sheeeeeeeeeeeit" a la The Wire.
posted by humboldt32 at 4:54 PM on January 7, 2017


Best answer: I *always* say "pretend you like each other" - it's like a magic trick.
posted by ersatzkat at 6:20 PM on January 7, 2017 [9 favorites]


Best answer: This is only sort of related, but I was in a wedding where the photographer did something utterly brilliant to make sure nobody blinked (which is an issue for me, I don't know if I just blink more than normal but I'm ALWAYS the one that blinks in photos.) She told everyone to CLOSE THEIR EYES and then open them on the count of three. 1, 2, 3, (open!) take a picture.

I've done this with groups ever since and it seems to produce a lot more natural cheery faces as well, since people aren't frozen waiting for the photo, their faces are relaxed until the moment the photo-taking starts, when they jump into "pose" and are captured instantly.
posted by gloriouslyincandescent at 9:56 PM on January 7, 2017 [2 favorites]


Kimchi!
posted by Red Desk at 10:12 PM on January 7, 2017 [1 favorite]


delete!
posted by oceano at 1:03 AM on January 8, 2017


A fun group photo activity is to set it up as a self timer, and then have everyone stand on the photographer's side of the camera, set the timer going, and THEN run in and set up the shot.
posted by freethefeet at 2:45 AM on January 8, 2017


I remember people in Chile telling us to say "whiskey!"

In Mandarin you say "eggplant"! (which is qie zi, so you still get that smiling eeeeee).
posted by chainsofreedom at 7:33 AM on January 8, 2017


Response by poster: Lots of fun and useful suggestions, thank you! I've marked the ones that would have worked great in the situation that prompted this question.
posted by Dragonness at 9:26 PM on January 9, 2017


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