Do Photos Make You Look Fatter?

This post is by Sharky James from Photodoto

There are various sayings out there about cameras adding pounds and making you look fat, things that may not be too desirable for a photographer taking pictures of a client.  Are they true and if so, what is the technical basis behind this phenomenon?

hand holding measuring tape

This article will answer the question, “do photos make you look fatter ?” once and for all and also go into how to solve the problem.

When you use a camera to capture an image of yourself or another person, various factor affect the way the subject person will appear in the photograph.  These include the lenses used, focal length, barrel distortion, lighting, angle and certain camera settings in addition to how the person poses.  Some of these factors may make you look fatter than you are in reality, while others may just make you look different. Let’s get into the details.

Focal length

We all know that camera lenses can be classified into wide angle and telephoto, telephoto being the ones that magnify your subject greatly and wide angle being the ones that “zoom out” to get much more of the scene into the photo, up to the point of making it feel like you stepped back from where you are actually standing.

Most beginners do not use telephoto lenses for photographing people, while professional portrait photographers may use lenses of 85mm or longer.  Instead, beginners use the equivalent of a wide angle lens such as in a cell phone, for selfies etc.  These lenses actually stretch parts of the subject/person that are closer to camera making them appear larger.

An 85mm or 100mm lens in portraits has a good balance and does not exaggerate anything, unlike an extreme 24mm lens or a 1000mm one.  Some professionals do use …