10 Ways to Tell Before/After Shots are Fake

Weight loss advertisers often use before-and-after shots as ‘proof’ that their product or program works. However, with the availability of photoshop software, it can be very difficult to tell whether these photos are real or enhanced to look better than the true reality. Here are some clues to look for to tell if the after photos are real or not.

  1. Bone structure – Not everyone has thin ankles and wrists, even when they’re at their perfect weight. When someone else’s body has been attached to the head of a model, you may notice a difference in bone structure that doesn’t seem to match up with the before photo.
  2. Skin tone – Another sign of mis-matched heads and bodies is the skin tone. There shouldn’t be a lot of difference in a real photo between the facial tones and the tone of the skin on the arms.
  3. Overly smooth – If edges of the face, arms and other areas seem overly smooth and don’t have clearly defined edges, that can be a sign of photoshopping that was used to trim down the features.
  4. Posture – Sometimes, it isn’t photoshopping that gives the false impression, but the positioning of the model. If the before photo shows a slouched, sagging woman and the after picture shows her standing erect with shoulders back and stomach held in, she’s going to look like she’s lost more weight than she really has.
  5. Neck – This is a key area to scrutinize when looking at these photos. Does the neck look to long or short in the after photo? Are you seeing that smoothing effect along the sides, or where it connects to the body? Any of these could be indications that the photo has been altered.
  6. Perfect curves – If the curves on the after shot look a little too perfect, you might want to look a little closer. You may find other signs that indicate the photo is a fake.
  7. Same ‘after’ shot – Do the before and after shots look exactly the same, except for the size of the person in the photo? This is another indication that the photo may simply have been altered to give the two views.
  8. Background – Look at the background of the two pictures. If the person seems to be standing in exactly the same location with the same background, it is unlikely that these were taken at two different times. It would be very difficult to get the person in exactly the same place and the photographer in exactly the same shooting place at two different times.
  9. Same clothes – If the person is wearing the same outfit in both pictures, you can almost be certain that there has been photoshopping done to one of the pictures. Being able to find the same outfit in the two different sizes is highly unlikely.
  10. Multiple sites – If you see the same photo on different sites with different names attached to the picture, it is likely that the photo is not one of an actual client. If you see one of the photos on a ‘free’ photo images site, as well, that adds to the likelihood that the photo’s description on the other sites is not accurate.

Unfortunately, photos are not a very trustworthy testimony of the truthfulness of advertising in today’s digital world. The truthful testimony of someone you know personally would be a much better indicator of a product’s performance.