Here’s Proof That the Camera Really Does Add 10 Pounds

We often hear the phrase “the camera adds 10 pounds” to explain away particularly unflattering photographs of ourselves, but while it’s true that photos taken from certain angles, self-portraits and the use of flash can make us look chubbier on camera than we do in real life, we’ve never really seen just how much of a difference it can make.

But a new series of images posted on the web highlights the dramatic effect different camera lenses can have on an individual’s appearance, making the subject of these photographs appear much larger than he is in reality.

In a GIF posted on Twitter, you can clearly see how great of an impact the use of different lens can have on “altering” the appearance of a subject, making his head appear larger and his facial features smaller when using a 200mm lens, and having the opposite effect when using a 20mm lens:

Though it’s difficult to ascertain a “sweet spot” when it comes to best representing the real appearance of an individual using a camera, it is commonly believed that a lens between 35mm and 55mm will do the track. Here’s what the subject looks like when photographed using a 50mm lens, which is roughly the middle ground between these two points:


An investigation into the topic by Mental Floss back in 2012 noted how cameras can wind up making the subjects of photographs appear “flat” and therefore wider. This is due to them lacking the depth perception of a pair of eyes, which essentially serve as two lenses as opposed to the one lens featured on a camera. As such, poor lighting and angles can have much more of a detrimental impact on a photographed individual than it would on someone viewing them in real life. 

Take a closer look at the impact the various lenses have in the gallery below: