Sue T. asks: Why do people say “say cheese” when taking pictures? “Say cheese!” This simple command is meant to elicit a smile from potential photography subjects no matter what their age. No one can say for sure who coined the phrase “say cheese” for use in getting people to smile, nor can we say with 100% certainty why that particular phrase was chosen as the smile spreader. Just say “Cheese,” It’s an automatic smile. Speaking of pearly whites- the next most common reason cited for people not smiling in photographs in the Victorian era is blamed on dental hygiene.