The Key to Looking Taller in Photos—See the Evidence!

Serendipitous fashion moments don’t happen very often in day-to-day life, so when they do, you’ve got to celebrate them—or in my case, at least write a story about them. Last week, my awesome coworker Michelle Scanga helped me photograph a story about what I wore to work for a week. After reviewing some of the pictures, I suggested we switch it up by changing the camera angle. Scanga crouched lower on the footpath and shot from a slightly upward angle. The result? You guessed it: outfit-shot serendipity. In the resulting photos, I looked at least a few inches taller than my actual 5 feet, 3 inches, and my clothes looked better on my lengthier-looking frame.

I did some further research on the power of camera angles and found that the concept of “the camera adds 10 pounds” often comes from images shot straight on. Conversely, a low shooting position and an upward angle will make most people look taller and thinner. But why does this lower angle make such a big difference? Think of the camera lens as a laser pointer. If the camera were pointed straight on, the laser would hit the model’s stomach. If the photographer got down low and shot from an up angle, the hypothetical laser would hit somewhere in the model's upper torso area. This increased distance from the camera lens to the model effectively “stretches” the model.

Armed with this knowledge, I wanted to see if I could recreate the magic again with two additional looks. While the resulting photos aren’t exact comparisons, overall, I think I look noticeably taller in the pictures taken at a lower angle, and was delighted to confirm my original serendipitous finding.

Scroll down to see if you agree—the photo shot from straight on is to the left, and the photo shot from a down angle is on the right.