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How to Take Your BEFORE Photos

By JESS BARRON

how to take before photos with a friend

Whether you’re doing CrossFit, LIVESTRONG.COM’s 8-Week STRONGER Challenge fitness program or some other program to get in shape, remember that it’s not just the numbers on the scale that you’ll want to track.

Your "BEFORE" and "AFTER" photos and measurements can be a better way to really see your progress and accomplishments along the way toward reaching your goal.

But don’t just take my word for it, check out the amazing “Before” and “After” photos of Ashley Donahoo, who used LIVESTRONG.COM’s MyPlate to lose 137 pounds!  And you can’t have amazing “BEFORE” and “AFTER” pics, unless you buckle down and take your “BEFORE” pics now! Read on for some tips on how to take the best pic.

Try to take your pictures the day or the first week or month you start your new fitness program.

I Have “Walked the Talk” and Have the Photos to Prove It
In the summer of 2012, I was in a two-month Beachbody fitness program test group and I lost 20 pounds in 60 days. While I did not love taking my "BEFORE" photos, they did help to motivate me through the program, and they served to visually document the story of my fitness achievement.

Without them, it's not as apparent how much of a difference that 20 pounds made to my appearance.  Even if you only aim to lose five or 10 pounds, love handles will disappear as well as a stomach pooch.  Sometimes photos will show more than the numbers on scale do! For example, my face even looked different and better.

My BEFORE and AFTER photos

These are my BEFORE and AFTER photos from summer 2012. I am not smiling in my BEFORE photo.

By the way, it's understandable and fully acceptable NOT to smile in your "Before" photos. You may not feel happy with how you look. The photos may be a wake-up call that you’re unhappy with what you see.

Also, remember that you don't need to show your photos to anyone. You can keep them just for yourself. Or you can tape them to your fridge as a motivation to eat properly and eat less.

What to Wear in “BEFORE” Photos
Guys should take pics wearing shorts or a swimsuit without a shirt, while women should wear a bikini or fitted gym shorts and a sports bra. It's important to see your stomach, so don’t suck that tummy in! You may see your most pronounced changes in the stomach area.

Other tips:

1. Get a friend to help you take the photos, or use a tripod or the auto-timer on your camera. A friend will be most helpful to get your body centered in the frame, especially in photos taken from the back.

2. Stand in front of a blank, plain-colored wall, with as little distraction or clutter behind you as possible.

3. Remember to take your photos regularly in those same positions (and even same clothing): on day one, day 15, day 30, day 60, and so on.

4. Press “play” to watch the video below to get more info and tips on how to take your “BEFORE” photos from STRONGER workout program cast members Frances Flores and Sam Harvey:

Just remember to go for it and take these photos. Trust me, it will feel really good to have “BEFORE” and “AFTER” pics that you can keep forever to remind yourself of that awesome fitness and/or weight loss accomplishment.

Join our STRONGER Challenge Facebook Group to get daily tips, encouragement and motivation.

Readers – Are you joining us in the 8-Week STRONGER Challenge fitness? What do you think of the STRONGER workouts and the meal plan? Have you ever done a fitness challenge group before? How did it go for you? Have you joined our STRONGER Challenge Group on Facebook? Leave a comment below and let us know.

–Jess

Jess Barron is Editor-in-Chief of LIVESTRONG.COM. Read some of her other health and fitness articles here. A longtime foodie and fan of Farmer's Market food, Jess particularly loves heirloom tomatoes, fresh figs with burrata cheese, and anything with pumpkin or peanut butter in it! Her love for food fuels her desire to exercise daily. In the summer of 2012 Jess lost 20 pounds in a test group for a new fitness program. Some of her favorite workout routines include walking, running, yoga, P90X, INSANITY, and mixed martial arts. Jess's writing can also be found at Poprocks.com. She has appeared on MSNBC's "The Most," ABC News Now, and XM satellite radio and her writing has appeared on Wired.com and Yahoo!

Follow Jess on Twitter @jessdandy. Also, you can add her on Google+ and follow her on Pinterest.

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