The Camera Might Not Add 10 Pounds– But Your Lenses Sure Can

by Bret Hoy2 Comments

I’m one of those shooters that very rarely ventures out of my usual focal length choices. This is because I know exactly what to expect and I know what I personally need on every shoot.

But every once in a while it’s good to consider what other focal lengths can do for you. And it’s more than just how wide or tight a lens is. It’s about how that lens affects the look of your subject.

I shoot 35 and 85 almost exclusively, which means my shots have a specific, consistent look. That look comes quite a bit from the depth that I get, and from my proximity to the subject.

This GIF, made to illustrate how the camera adds ten pounds, actually gives us a more nuanced look at how our lens choices affect our frames than simply the vanity of the subject.

Your photography textbook tells you that the longer the lens you have, the flatter the image. This means that at 200mm, the foreground and background of your image appear closer than at 20mm. How does this affect the portraits in the GIF?

Well, it means that at it’s widest setting, the nose and ears appear farther apart, than at 200mm. If you combine that with the distortion you get from the wider lens, you’re left with a somewhat slimming effect on your talent.

Sometimes this is nice. Sometimes it’s not. One thing is for sure: With this knowledge, you can make smarter decisions.

This is How a Camera Adds 10 Pounds

camera adds 10 pounds

Via PetaPixel:

It’s “amazing how focal length affect shape of the face,” writes photographer Dan Vojtech, who shot this series of portraits 9 portraits at 20mm, 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, 70mm, 105mm, 150mm, and 200mm.

How a Camera Adds 10 Pounds

Photo Credit: Dan Vojtech Source: PetaPixel

To frame the face the same in each shot, the camera is close with the wide angle lens and farther away with the telephoto lens, so the GIF above shows what’s known as the “Hitchcock zoom” (or dolly zoom).

Read full article at PetaPixel “This is How a Camera Adds 10 Pounds”

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(cover photo credit: snap from PetaPixel)

Bret Hoy

Bret Hoy

Bret Hoy is a filmmaker, photographer and writer based out of St. Louis, Missouri. Mainly focused on documentary and experimental film, he has produced, directed, shot and edited many short films and a few long form works.

He shoots a lot and often.
Bret Hoy


  1. Note that neither the camera nor the lens make the subject look fatter, but the distance to the subject.

    You see this in the “before and after” photos for diet products. The “before” photo is taken with a wide lens, which forces the photographer to stand closer to the subject. This exaggerates the subject’s bulges, in the same way that a portrait shot close with a wide lens exaggerates the subject’s nose and hands.

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