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Why Does the Camera Add 10 Pounds?

If you've ever seen my lookbook, you know I don't have my America's Next Top Model poses down. I don't know what it is, but I'm just not one of those women that can jump right into a camera-ready angle in two seconds and it's not like I'm the hunchback of Notre Dame or anything. When considering this I got to thinking, what are the best camera angles and why is it that the camera adds 10 pounds?


According to Slate Magazine's Michelle Tsai the answer is mostly bad lighting. She says:

The flat, even illumination on the red carpet makes it hard for the camera to capture dimension, unlike in a photo shoot with flattering soft lights. Cast from an angle, light creates shadows that sculpt the face and body by hiding unwanted flesh. Softer lights can hide wrinkles and smooth out the skin for women, while harsher lights on male faces exaggerate lines for a chiseled look. Without the aid of shadows, however, light exposes the imperfections of the face and body and makes the resulting image bigger and flatter. That's why everyone avoids white dresses—which cast fewer shadows under even lighting—except the thinnest actresses, like Nicole Kidman.

For tips on flattering camera lighting, just read more

High front light (sunlight)
We are trained early on that high front light is the best type of light, and often it is. The pro of high front light is the fact that the scene will be well lit and that the colors of the scene will be extra bright. The negative aspect of lots of sunlight in a picture is that your subject may squint and very high sunlight (seen at noon) will create deep shadows under eyes and chins, unless you use fill flash.

Front light
Front lighting illuminates the portion of the subject facing the photographer. Your camera's flash is the most common type of front lighting. It's great because it provides the most information to the camera by lighting the entire scene. It's also the easiest type of light to deal with photographically because there are fewer shadows to confuse the camera's light meter. The trouble is textures and details are minimized and scenes appear flat with few shadows.

Check out my guide to lighting: Photo Tips: Check Light Source, Strike Pose

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