If you are a fan of the Friends series, you probably remember Monica saying: “Shut up Joey, the camera adds ten pounds!”
It seemed funny to me at the time, but being able to shoot different portrait photography, including full-body portraits and headshots, I would say that it kept confusing my head. Especially, when I was first starting my career in photography.
In this article, we are going to decode whether Monica was right or not!
Jokes aside, I will explain to you does a camera really adds ten pounds, or is it just a myth!
Before starting to explain, I would really like to mention that fat is just a word, and everybody is perfectly beautiful the way they are, it is just a way of perception.
Now, without further ado, let’s get directly to the topic!
Do Cameras Really Add 10 Pounds?
It can be considered a million-dollar question! Does it?
It definitely does!
It is interesting when you work with different people! For example, I had a chance to work with a lady who wasn’t very sure about her weight and her body size. After I took some photos she asked if she could see any of them.
After looking/staring at them for a minute she said that she isn’t satisfied with the way the pictures look and in the first ones she looks better (she was looking thinner).
It definitely took me a while to understand why and how, and it was because of my camera!
It is basically a fact that the camera adds some pounds, and not only! A camera can also make you subtract some pounds.
What is important to be mentioned is that every phone camera adds some pounds too.
The Main Factors That Contribute to the Camera Adding Ten Pounds
As I mentioned above the camera adds or subtracts some pounds, but how is that possible? How does the camera do that? Well, there are some things or some factors that have a role in this issue. Those factors include:
As you know, all over the market you can find different lenses, and all of them are kind of names for what purposes they can be used, or for what types of photography it is the best.
If we consider lenses for outdoor portraits as an example, you will notice that most of them have a focal length of 85mm. That’s because the 85mm focal length stands as the best for portrait photography in general.
It is not that the other lenses will make you look ugly, but if you choose lenses that are zoomable and have a focal length, let’s say for example 70-200mm, they will basically make you look fatter and even bigger.
Always remember: The bigger the focal length of the lens, the bigger (fatter) you will look, avoid a wide angle lens.
On the other hand telephoto lenses will make you appear thinner, or say flat so yeah sometimes taking a picture with a telephoto lens is the solution.
The next most important thing to consider is the angle at which the picture is being taken.
You may have noticed it even in selfies! When you capture the picture from below your face looks way fatter than it actually is.
What should you do is hold the phone camera or the professional camera from the above (of course when it comes to portraits such as headshots or selfies).
If you are shooting a full-body portrait, it goes vice-versa. It would definitely be better if you shoot from below. That way the subject, in this case, the person looks taller and slimmer.
The angle is not only related to the way you move the camera, it is also related to the way how the subject poses.
It doesn’t matter what weight and height you are. Clothes can make you look totally the opposite.
Since this article is related to the camera adding pounds, let me say that the clothes that you wear during a photography session can make you look wider.
As an unwritten rule is that horizontally stripes on a t-shirt, dress, or any other cloth, can make you look fatter. Oh, and also baggy clothes!
Still, you are more than free to wear whatever you want, and you don’t really have to give importance to the clothes too much. It is your photo, you can do whatever you want and wear whatever you want!
What If I Use Photoshop?
I don’t think that photoshop is the best idea! I am not saying that you cannot use it, I am just saying that it isn’t the best thing that you can do! Of course, you can edit whatever you want in the picture, but it would be important if you don’t fully change the essence of the picture.
What deserves to be mentioned here is that you should never exaggerate! Making everything look different will destroy your naturality, and will lose everything.
Photography in general can make you happy and sad at the same time! It is somehow related to everybody’s self-esteem.
If you take a picture and it looks better than ever, you probably will be very happy about it, but if you take a picture and you find yourself fatter than you normally are, you don’t have to feel bad! It is the camera that adds ten pounds and not only, it can add even more.
As you may have already noticed, when you notice that the camera has already added ten pounds to you, you should that the main fault is on the lens and it is what we refer to as lens distortion. It all depends on what type of lens the photographer is using while taking your pictures!
Wide angle lenses will show you fatter without a doubt. So yeah, if you want to have good self-esteem avoid wide angle lenses at any cost.
I hope that this article will in a way help you get some more information regarding the famous question “does the camera add ten pounds?” I tried to be as clear as possible and again, I would like to mention that everybody is beautiful!
Until next time, Enjoy!
Camera Tester & Reviewer
I spend most of my time taking photos & videos of everything in sight. Yes, I am a stock photographer and I’ve probably taken more than 700,000 photos so far.