This is How a Camera Adds 10 Pounds

It’s commonly said that a camera adds 10 pounds, making you look heavier than you actually are. Here’s a striking animated GIF that shows how much the focal length of a lens affects your apparent weight in a portrait.

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.

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).


“It’s always difficult to answer what is the best focal length for a portrait,” Vojtech says. Here’s the same set of portraits displayed one at a time so you can scroll through at your own pace:










85mm to 135mm is the focal range that’s commonly recommended for portraits, since it helps avoid the thin- and wide-looking distortions found with super wide or telephoto lenses (with distance changing and the face being framed the same).

P.S. Back in January 2016, we published a popular article on the subject of selecting a good portrait lens.

Image credits: Photographs by Dan Vojtech and used with permission