My forehead in reality is small—normal. Everyone I ask tells me it is normal, not big. In photos it seems too big—not even normal. I am a man. My hairstyle doesn't hide the forehead, it is up. Why in photos is my forehead big? What can I do to make it seem smaller. Are there any techniques?


Your minds-eye holds an image that you believe is you. That image is the view of yourself you see in your shaving / make-up mirror. When you are imaged by a camera, your exaptation is, the photograph must duplicate your view of yourself. That is a tall order that takes photographic skills beyond most novices.

You are disappointed because the images you are eyeing show facial distortion. This is due to the camera’s viewpoint. To duplicate your make-up mirror appearance, the camera must be positioned further back. A distant viewpoint will do the trick. We achieve by mounting a moderate telephoto lens. The result is a slightly magnified view that will force the photographer to step back. Next time one of your friends makes a head & shoulder shot of you, ask them to step back and use their zoom to crop away the unwanted border stuff.

Also, the photograph is a two dimensional reproduction of a three dimensional subject. The photograph lacks the illusion of depth we see in real life. We use light and shadow to create an illusion of depth. We adjust the direction and the intensity of the light to create a realistic look. These are acquired skills. Don’t expect your friends have the needed skills. Want a fine portrait? Seek out a skilled portrait artist / photographer.

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    Or the OP (like lots of us) has an internel self-image that doesn't match reality. – Carl Witthoft Mar 10 '17 at 12:20

You are experiencing what is often called perspective distortion. In reality there is only perspective, but when a particular perspective makes something appear differently than we expect it to appear we say that the perspective has distorted our perception of the image.

Things or parts of things that are closer to a lens look larger than if they are further from a lens. If two objects are equal in size but at different distances to the camera, the object closer will appear larger than the other object that is further away. The greater the ratio of the distances between the two objects and the camera, the greater will be the difference in their apparent sizes.

With the human face if the camera is above a person's face pointing down towards it, the forehead will be closer to the camera than the rest of the face. Thus the forehead will look larger relative to the rest of the face. If the camera is below a person's face looking up at it, the opposite is true - the forehead will be more distant from the camera than the chin and jaw and will look relatively smaller compared to them.

The closer the camera is to something, the greater the differences between the nearest and most distant parts of the object. When the camera is further away, the differences will be minimized. Let's say that your ears are six inches behind your forehead. If the camera is only twelve inches away from your forehead and 18 inches away from your ears, an inch on your forehead will occupy 50% more space in the resulting photo than an inch on your ear. The ratio between the distance to your ears and the distance to your forehead is 18:12 which is 3:2 or 1.5:1. On the other hand, if the camera is 15 feet away from your forehead and 15 feet 6 inches away from your ears the ratio between the distance to your forehead and the distance to your ears is only 1.0333:1

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