Say Cheese!

In addition to smiling, people often do silly or playful things when posing for photographs. It can be a way for them to express their personality, have fun, and create memorable moments. When a photographer shouts, “Say ‘cheese'”, some people make funny faces, strike unusual poses, or engage in playful antics to add a sense of humour to the photo. This horseplay can help break the ice, ease tension, and make pictures more enjoyable. Remember, photography isn’t just about capturing a moment but also the emotions and personalities of those in the frame. Moreover, looking at photos of people enjoying themselves when playing up to the camera can evoke happiness in viewers—so research suggests.

The “Facial Feedback Hypothesis”

The ability to experience emotions by observing facial expressions is associated with the ‘facial feedback hypothesis.’ This idea suggests that facial expressions can influence and even trigger corresponding feelings in observers. For example, seeing someone smile can elicit happiness or positivity in ourselves. This result is why behaviours like deliberately smiling, even when you don’t feel like it, can potentially improve your mood.

Saying “Cheese”—Makes People Happy!

Feeling happy when we observe another person smiling is related to the activity of so-called ‘mirror neurons‘ in the brain. These cells become active when we perform an action or express an emotion, but also when we observe someone else acting or feeling the same. For instance, when we see someone smiling, our mirror neurons trigger a similar neural response, leading to a subtle increase in our feelings of happiness and a shared sense of joy. Thus, mirror neurons can explain how emotions spread from one person to another.

Emotions Are Contagious

Smiles signal happiness in many cultures and convey a sense of warmth and friendliness. Seeing others in a joyful state can also be contagious, and it’s not uncommon for people to experience a boost in mood and a sense of happiness when seeing others enjoying themselves. This transfer of emotions, called ‘emotional contagion‘, is why sharing happy moments through photographs is a common way to spread joy and positivity.

Practice Wellness—”Say ‘Cheese'”

So, practice wellness and boost your positive energy by looking at the photos below of people smiling and enjoying themselves. If they don’t make you feel good, you could always instruct yourself to smile by saying, “Cheese!”

Like the pictures in this project? Then, spread the word!

For a selection of my best or most representative work, check out my portfolio.

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Two Trainspotters | Sheffield Park
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