what to wear

How to avoid looking bigger in photos than you actually are


Ladies, have you ever dressed in baggy clothes to try to hide your body?  I have!  As women, it is pretty common to feel self conscious especially about our arms and tummy area.  Unfortunately when we try to cover up with loose clothes in front of the camera, it has the opposite effect of what we intended and our strategy actually ends up making us look bigger than we really are.  To show you what I mean, I spent a few minutes with my camera and a tripod on the same day, in the same light, with the same pose.  The only thing I mixed up was what I wore.  No photoshop at all!  Here are my 3 tips:

Tip #1: Wear something with a fitted waist


As you can see, the shape of your dress can make a huge difference.  The tent-style dress on the right is draping over and covering the parts of my body that I should show off!  As women, the narrowest part of our torso is around our waist or where our rib cage ends on our sides.  So, wearing something that is fitted around the chest and waist (like in the picture on the left) highlights our thinnest parts and turns out the most flattering.  Skater dresses look great in photos because they show off a woman’s chest and waist but flare out at the hips.   You can experiment with different dress shapes, but make sure they give you a shape! 

Tip #2: Skip adding bulky covers


The cardigan in the right photo hides my waistline even more than the tent dress.  It completely obscures any hint of the hour-glass shape that we all strive for and makes me look more round instead. 

Tip #3: Don't hang your arms at your side

This last set of photos illustrates the reason why I always give my couples something to do with their hands during their photo sessions.  It might feel more natural to have them hang where they are, but it ends up looking awkward and unflattering.  Also, simply by holding my arms slightly away from my body by resting either a wrist or hand on my hip bone, they look more toned and defined.


Take home: The bigger the space between your arm and your body, the more slender you look


Believe me, I have a long way to go before I am totally confident with my body, so I understand why wearing more fitted clothes can make us feel uncomfortable.  I am currently still bigger than my heaviest before getting pregnant, but that gives me even more reason to wear outfits that give me a shape and accentuate my curves.  

My theory on why we can look bigger in photos than in real life is that a photograph is missing the real-time motion that we see with our eyes in person.  Because a photo is a frozen moment in time, what we wear and how we pose have a huge influence on what the viewers think they see.  A gust of wind might blow past and make your tent dress billow, but the viewer of a photograph taken in that moment doesn’t see the wind and doesn’t know it was there. The same goes for the gap between your body and arms, if the viewer of the photo can't see it, they don't know it's there.

Want to make sure you remember these tips in the future?  Here is an image you can pin to your Pinterest board!: