If you have an internet connection and have spent more than 10 minutes on Instagram, you’ll have seen the famous ‘progress picture’ and #TransformationTuesday tag. The concept is simple: a collage of two or more pictures showing someone’s weight loss, muscle gain or other body transformation. The post is most likely followed by a paragraph or two detailing their journey and what it took for them to change their life.
Tracking the changes to your body via your iPhone’s camera is a really good way of visually seeing your progress, because sometimes the scales lie. A picture taken in your dirty mirror in your bedroom, however, isn’t going to cut it anymore. Progress pictures have become an art form and the better you are at it, the more effective it’s going to be. Here are our tips for taking the best before and after pictures.
Time of day
Throughout the day, our bodies fluctuate in weight. Depending on our water intake or what we’ve eaten that day, the scales sometimes tell us we’ve put on two pounds within the space of an hour. Crazy, right?
To ensure you track your body as accurately as possible, aim to take your pictures at the same time of day. In the morning after your first bathroom break is the optimal time as this is the most accurate representation of what your body looks like.
Location, location, location
Progress pictures that are taken in different places aren’t ideal for accurate readings. A change in background might not seem significant, but it can make a big difference. Opt for a plain, solid background to ensure your body isn’t distorted by patterned wallpaper or wooden doors.
Choose somewhere you won’t struggle to take a picture by yourself (your partner might not ALWAYS be around to be your photographer). Bedrooms and living rooms are prime locations as they rarely change in décor or lighting and there is usually somewhere to balance your phone or camera on.
Lighting is key
Speaking of lighting, it’s vital. We’re not suggesting you buy a professional photoshoot-esque set up, but pay attention to the light in the room. Most people have warm lights in their house, which might be great for getting cosy with a book, but not for taking high quality pictures tracking your important and amazing progress.
Choose your time of day wisely and based on the natural lighting you get in the room. Avoid glare and being blown out by ensuring the light is in front of you, not behind you.
Get your angles right
No more ‘flattering’ angles with hips popped. In order to get the most from these pictures, you should take photos from all angles: front, side and back. This way you can monitor all your progress, from your ab gains to your back muscles. It’s all significant and you’ll be glad you did it when you show off your toned butt to everyone.
Pick a basic sports bra and shorts to start off with and then wear the same outfit until it no longer fits. Choosing flattering or unflattering outfits each time can make a difference in how much progress you’ve made and how much you think you’ve made.
Take them once a week
Any more than once a week is overkill and can be misleading. Get into a routine and stick to it. Perhaps Monday morning before you go to work is the only free moment you have. That’s no problem, just make sure you do it at the same time every week, or as close as possible.
Remember, progress can take time and you shouldn’t be discouraged if you haven’t made significant gains in a week. Everyone is different and our bodies are different, but if you aren’t seeing much change in your body over time, it might be time to reassess your diet or workout plan.
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