BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
A D. Ross

How to create slimmer looks

I use a canon T50 slr with a 50mm lens. I've noticed that in my pictures, people look bigger than in person. Is there a lens that can be used to create a slimmer appearance?

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3/9/2006 9:38:40 AM

Alan N. Marcus   Ever hear “cameras don’t lie”? Maybe but the camera does distort. Most cameras are equipped with a lens with focal length centered around “normal”. “Normal” is a lens with a focal length about equal to the diagonal measure of the film or sensor. In the case of 35mm cameras, the image measurement is 24mm x 36mm and the diagonal measure is 43.3mm. On a 35mm cameras, a 50mm lens (a convenient rounding up of 43.3) is considered customary. This lens presents a normal prospective, just right for everyday snapshoting. A 120 film camera with an image size of 60 x 90mm requires a normal lens of 110mm. Longer than normal is called telephoto, shorter is called a wide-angle.

Now all people, and most assuredly women, have a mental picture of what they look like. To take a picture they will call flattering, you must duplicate this notion. Their self-image is derived from their make-up mirror. You must duplicate this perspective if you want to delight. On a 35mm camera, this is achieved by using a lens that is 105mm or longer. If the camera taking lens is too short the resulting image always suffers from distortions that causes people think the picture is un-fattening. Why? Short focal lengths cause the photographer to work in too close. This is natural as they try to compose the small head size. This results in the nose being imaged too large and the ears too small. Even a a microscopic distortion cause most people to rebuff the picture.

Experienced portrait photographers discovered, to duplicate the make-up mirror prospective, the taking lens must be about 2 times longer than the normal . For a 35mm camera this works out to about 105mm. Stated another way, using a 105mm or longer on a 35mm causes you to back up. This increased camera to subject distance diminishes distortion.

Non portrait shots benefit from longer lenses. Large tummies and forward projecting body parts appear larger when the camera is in too close. Longer lenses force you to step back and this evens out the bulges.

Alan Marcus

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3/9/2006 12:53:01 PM

Craig m. Zacarelli
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/3/2005
  youre not using an ultra wide lens are you?

Please, dont take my pic... I wanna loose 10 pounds, not gain it.
good luck!

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3/9/2006 7:49:47 PM

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