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And you? Do you know the magic word to make sure all the children are smiling when you take a photo? English, French, Spanish, Polish or German... how about sharing all the fun expressions we use to immortalise those wonderful holiday moments?

Cheese, potatoes and marmalade

Just before pressing the shutter, why on earth do certain Europeans always say “cheese!"? OK, you knew that the English did, that’s normal, but so do the Dutch with “zaag eens kaas”, and the Poles with “ser”! And the Poles have an even more mouth-watering version: “marmolada”, which means “marmalade”...


As for the Spanish, they say “patata!” for which you’ve probably already guessed the meaning... whilst the French have recently dreamed up the expression “steak-frites” or steak and chips! Two words that, when you say them clearly, transform your face into one enormous grin !

Little birds and ant droppings

Not quite so tasty, the Germans are apparently the only people to use the weird but fun expression: “Ameisenscheiße!” which literally means “ant dropping”. Cute… Whereas there are quite a few countries who still say “Watch the birdie”. The Spanish say “Mira el pajarito!” and the French make a whole sentence out of it with “Attention, le petit oiseau va sortir” meaning “Look out, the little bird is going to come out!”. Why? Because right at the beginning, when photography was still in its infancy, the camera casing looked much like a nesting box. And the photographers made a little toy bird appear to attract the children’s attention. Clever idea, no?

And the winner is…

In 2010 a famous camera-maker carried out a study to see which of the many words or phrases was the best at making us smile. Result? Amongst the 26 European expressions, it was the French “ouistiti!” (meaning marmoset in English) that produced the widest smiles. Just try pronouncing it in French and you’ll see why (weesteetee)!