Why Do I Look Fat in Pictures But Not in the Mirror?

You may have noticed that you look fat in pictures but not in the mirror. Thousands of people like you have noticed the same, and they are asking questions. Our team decided to take on the task of finding answers to this mystery. We have done in-depth research, and this post contains all our findings on the subject.

Why do I look fat in pictures but not in the mirror? Lens distortions are mostly responsible for the way you look in pictures. Wider angle lenses cause more distortions and consequently make you look fatter. So then, if you are using wide-angle lenses, you should expect to look fatter in the picture. Lighting and other camera effects, such as the fish-eye effect can also make you look fatter in pictures. 

Many factors can affect how you look in pictures, including whether you’ll look fatter or slimmer. In the end, maybe pictures do lie, but let’s show you the different factors that could affect how you look in pictures. Why do cameras make you look fatter? What can you do to look slimmer in pictures? Read on to find answers to these, among other questions.

why do i look fat in pictures but not in the mirror
Photo by Maria Orlova from Pexels

Do Cameras Make You Look Fatter than Mirrors?

Cameras can make you look fatter depending on the type of lens, camera settings, and lighting conditions. The shape and focal length of the camera lens will affect how heavy you would look in the picture. Curved lenses may cause barrel distortions and make you look fatter. Wide-angle lenses can also cause the fish-eye effect and give you a picture where you look fatter than you are.

You can compare picture taking to preparing a recipe. Every step and process is essential to producing the perfect outcome. If you miss any step or misuse any ingredient, you may get something similar, but not the original recipe. It’s the same in photography; all the factors must be perfect for you to get a perfect picture that won’t make you look slimmer or fatter.

If you look slimmer in mirrors but fatter in pictures, you have nothing to worry about. The camera may just be adding some “extra pounds” to your look. As you read on, we will explain the different factors that could cause this distortion and show you the tricks on how to beat them. You can also check out this article titled, do I look like the mirror or camera? We have shared helpful tips and information that you can refer to.

Why Do I Look Fat in Pictures But Not in the Mirror
Photo by ShareGrid on Unsplash

Why Do Cameras Make You Look Fatter than Mirrors?

The quality of the pictures you get from a camera depends primarily on the camera’s lens. So if a camera is always making you look fatter, it may be because of certain lens factors. As you read on, we will talk about these factors. Note, however, that some other factors aside from the camera lens can also make you look fatter. We will examine these factors in a later section of this post. Here are the major lens factors that can make you look fatter in camera pictures:


Shading makes the camera image look round and consequently fatter. This phenomenon occurs when a camera lens has a short focal length. Longer focal lengths yield less shading and will not make you look fatter. Higher lens thickness can also cause some shading effects and expand objects in the picture, thus giving them a fatter appearance. Experts recommend that for portrait pictures, you should use 85mm-135 mm lenses to prevent shading and other possible distortions.

Barrel Distortion

Curved lenses can cause barrel distortion, a situation where straight lines will appear curved in the picture. What happens, in this case, is that the lens would slightly magnify the center of the photo more than the edges. This effect can make you look plumped up in pictures and it will appear like you are bigger than you are in real life.

Fisheye Effect

The fisheye effect is very good for snapping art and landscape photographs. But if you use it for portrait pictures, you may notice undesirable effects, such as looking fatter in the photos. The view of wide-angle is usually very wide, just as their name implies. This wide view sometimes creates the fisheye effect, where the image would appear bloated in the middle and stretched on the outside.

External Factors that Make You Look Fatter in Pictures

Aside from lens factors, other external factors that can make you look fatter in pictures include lighting and distance. Intense light, especially if it’s coming from right above your head can make you look fatter. Distance matters a lot too, and pictures shot from a farther distance may make you look fatter than you are. However, for wide-angle lenses, the farther the camera is from the image, the fatter it would appear in the photo.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the factors that could give you a fatter appearance in pictures.


All photography experts agree that lighting greatly affects how one looks in a picture. Direct harsh light, especially if coming from above your head will make you appear fatter. Natural lighting gives you the best natural outlook in photos. It eliminates shadows, sagging, and other unflattering effects that can make you look fatter.


When you look at yourself in a mirror, you mostly do so up-close. But cameras usually take your pictures from a farther distance. That may be the reason why you sometimes appear fatter in pictures than in the mirror. Expert photographers say that they get narrower images when they snap up close. Shooting from far away, on the other hand, tends to flatten subjects out and make them look heavier and hence, fatter.

The results are, however, inverted for wide-angle cameras, especially those with a super-wide field of view. Objects closer to the camera often appear larger while those from a far range seem smaller.

Video – Why You Look FAT in Photos – And 6 Ways to Fix It

In this video, Sorelle Amore will walk you through some of the reasons why you may look fat in photos. But beyond discussing the problem, she also proffers solutions. Click the play button below to learn why you make yourself fat in pictures and six simple hacks to fix the problem.

How to Not Look Fat in Pictures?

Some simple hacks to looking slimmer in pictures include taking pictures from a downward angle and maintaining a straight posture. Putting your arms away from your body will also make you look slimmer. What’s more, the cloth you wear plays a huge role in how fat you look in pictures. To look slimmer, don’t wear bulky clothes or clothes that have horizontal stripes.

While many factors can make you appear fatter in photos, there are many ways to beat these undesirable effects. Keep reading as we show you some of the simple hacks for looking slimmer in pictures.

Take Pictures from a Downward Angle

To take pictures from a downward angle, raise the camera a bit above the head. This angle will make you appear slimmer in the photograph. What’s more, this angler hides the double chin and other unflattering body parts.

Maintain a Straight Posture

Your body posture is an important factor in getting good pictures where you won’t look fatter. Slouching, for instance, will make you appear shorter and stout. So make sure to sit or stand straight while taking pictures. You can pull your shoulders backward to elongate your figure and make you look taller, leaner, and slimmer in pictures.

Don’t Keep Your Arms by Your Sides

If you keep your arms by your sides, you will look bigger than you are. Firstly, anyone looking at the image will automatically add your arms to your body size. So your torso will look wider than it is in reality. Keeping your arm by your sides will also make your shoulders look wider.

For a slimmer appearance, you can bend your arms and turn them away from the camera. Or you can engage them by putting them on your waist or in your hair

Pay Attention to Your Clothing

The following types of clothing will make you appear slimmer in pictures:

  •       Tight-fitting clothes
  •       Non-bulky clothes
  •       Black clothes, as well as darker color shades
  •       Clothes with vertical stripes

Video – How to Not Look Fat in Pictures – Must Watch!

If you have any picture where you look fat and you want to change the look, there’s a way to do so. There is an online tool that can make you slimmer in previously-taken photos. In this video, you will learn a few simple steps on how to use the tool and change your appearance in those old pictures. Click the play button now to watch the video.

Which is More Accurate, a Mirror Or a Photo?

In most cases, mirror images are more accurate than camera images. But this depends on what kind of mirror you are using. Assuming that you are using a flat and plane mirror that is not tilted, what you’ll see is an almost perfect representation of how you look in real life.

Photos images are also good representations of how you look. But lens distortions and other factors might make you appear slightly different from how you do in real life. We have also written this article that talks about why some mirrors make you look better than others. You can check out the article for more information about the topic.

Why Does My Face Look Chubby in Photos?

Your face looks chubby in photos because the proximity of your face to the camera can result in certain distorted features. Hence, your face can get larger than in real life. Moreover, when a camera lens creates barrel distortion which causes straight lines to appear curved. This will plump up your face making you look chubby.

Why Do I Look Fat in Pictures But Not in the Mirror
Photo by mj tang on Unsplash

Wide-angle lenses can also affect how you look in photos. These lenses have a super-wide field of view that creates a fish-eye effect. As a result, your face will look bloated in the middle and stretched on the outside. You also need to factor in the way you pose in front of the camera. How you twist your face at an angle can affect how it will look in photos.

Is Your Mirror Image What Others See?

Your image mirror is not exactly what others see, but it is quite similar. More so, what others see when they look at you is not just about how you look, but also about their perception of you. Your perception of yourself also determines what you see when you look at yourself in the mirror.

Do Wrinkles Look Worse in Pictures?

Wrinkles may appear worse if you take pictures with sharp, bright light. Intense lighting conditions will create a detailed image that may make the imperfections on your face more conspicuous. So you should avoid sharp light while taking pictures if there are wrinkles on your face. Sharp light will magnify the fine lines and wrinkles on your face, and make you look older.

Not to worry, there are lots of photo editing software programs that experts use to remove wrinkles while post-processing pictures. So if an expert brings all the lights while taking your picture, let him do his job. He will likely still edit the picture to give your face a smooth appearance. You can also check out this article that we have written titled, do gym mirrors make you look bigger? We have shared an explanation of why a lot of people notice that they look bigger when looking at gym mirrors.


So far, we have explained everything you need to know about why pictures sometimes make you look fatter than what you see in the mirror. We have also shared a few tips and hacks on how to solve this problem. We hope you learned a lot.

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