As a portrait and headshot photographer I cringe everytime I hear someone say, “Cheese’ when trying to pull off a convincing smile. It almost never works and nearly always looks fake and forced. Its so cliche even non-photographers think it is cliche!
Even when I can coax a real convincing smile from a sitter it takes a lot of timing to get to the point in the smile when it makes for the best photo. You don’t want the big all teeth and gums smile, you also don’t want to wait too long that you miss it. There is a point when as the smile is diminishing is the point when you click the shutter.
Today I watched a very interesting video HERE on YouTube by French photographer Mathieu Stern who makes a comparison between a model saying ‘Cheese’ and ‘Money’ and the results are quite convincing as you can see below
He also suggests closing the models eyes and breathing to relax the face. Another few ideas is to ask them to think about something that makes them happy. This sounds silly but motorboating the lips always brings a smile but may not go done well with busy CEO’s! Even telling a joke, no matter how bad, is a good way to get a reaction.
Have a look at his short video to get a few more ideas.