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Why You May Appear Unflattering in Your Photographs

November 02, 2014 2 min read

We see those pictures floating around the web, Pinterest, and Tumblr. Women and men with their ripped physiques that make our jaws drop to the floor and wonder "How on Earth can I look like that?" Well, in one word, photoshop. But, there is something else that plays into the picture that makes the overall difference and that, my friends, is lighting. Lighting can make a person appear thinner... or fatter... on camera (and off) than they really are. Think dressing rooms with their dim overhead lights. Yuck. I am never really sure why the lighting is so terrible in dressing rooms. After all, they are trying to sell a product in which we feel and look our best in, right? Remember Tyra Banks and her big "fat" controversy? The tabloids captured photos of her on the beach, looking super unflattering than the usually done up supermodel look. They then dubbed her "Thigh-ra Banks." She blamed in on bad angles and lighting. download   Sure, maybe the lighting and angles were bad. Maybe, she did gain a little weight. Maybe it was photoshopped to make her look heavier than she really was (hey, you can totally do that). I decided to see how lighting affects the physique for myself! Downloads3 I conducted my own little test by using a spotlight and regular room lighting. I took 3 photos:
  • One with a spotlight lamp aimed right toward my abs.
  • One with the spotlight lamp off.
  • And then one of me turned away from the overall light source.
Notice any differences? In the spotlighted photo, you can see the shadows in my abs and I look super ripped. In the second photo, I look less ripped. And the third, barely. Lighting does, in fact, change things. But so does angles and even camera lenses. There is a lot that goes into it. In profressional photoshoots, magazines, and images that you may see on the web, lighting plays a huge role in the definition of muscles amongst photoshop, cameras, angles, and posing. So if you are standing there in front of your mirror or looking at a recent photo of yourself, sulking over how big you may appear, stop it!! If you are that unhappy with your appearance- start a workout program, change your diet, and give it your all. But please do not let the behind-the-scenes magic of a photograph fool you. download

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