How to Fake a Before and After Fitness Photo

Before and after weight loss photos flood the Internet and late night TV infomercials. But how many of these images are truthful? Photographer Ben Cope and Buzzfeed set out to reveal what’s behind the smoke and mirrors:

Forget the diets and the rigorous workouts. Apparently all you need to look good is to don a figure flattering pose and turn up the dynamic lighting.


A before image is created with a soft, flat light and a relaxed pose straight on to the camera. Without shadows, it’s hard to see any definition.

fake fitness before and after photos


To create the perfect after image, add more dramatic lighting to define muscle and body contours. Strike a pose with long lean lines: bent elbows drawing in a waistline, or lifted arms to show biceps while smoothing out the stomach. After photos also tend to capture the model with a happier expression.


fake fitness before and after photos

fake fitness before and after photos

“To the layperson, I don’t think that they really realize what their body can look like under different lighting scenarios.”

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