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How to Take Your BEFORE Photos

by 
author image Jess Barron
Jess Barron is head of editorial at LIVESTRONG.COM.She has appeared on MSNBC's "The Most," ABC News Now, and XM satellite radio. Barron's writing has appeared on Wired.com, Yahoo! and Poprocks.com.
How to Take Your BEFORE Photos
Try to take your pictures the day or the first week or month you start your new fitness program. Photo Credit: Adobe Stock/gpointstudio

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

Video of the Day

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.

Don’t just take my word for it, though. Check out the amazing “before” and “after” photos of Ashley Donahoo, who used LIVESTRONG.COM’s MyPlate to lose 137 pounds!

But you can’t have an amazing “before” and “after” transformation experience unless you buckle down and take your “before” pics now! Read on for some tips on how to take the best pic.

Read more: LIVESTRONG.com Members' Before & After Weight Loss Photos

I've “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 didn't 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, you might surprise yourself at your physical transformation. Love handles may disappear or a stomach pooch may flatten out. Sometimes photos show more than the numbers on scale do! For example, as you can see below, even my face looked different and better.

These are my BEFORE and AFTER photos from summer 2012. I am not smiling in my "before" photo.
These are my BEFORE and AFTER photos from summer 2012. I am not smiling in my "before" photo. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jess Barron

By the way, it's totally understandable 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.

Alternatively, you may totally happy with the way you look now, and that's great! Not everyone starts in a "bad place." It's still a good idea to take these photos so you can see the evidence of your hard work and dedication.

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 stay active.

Read more: 15 Tips From Real People Who Succeeded at Losing Weight

5 Tips for the Perfect "Before" Photo

1. 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 that area.

2. 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 for photos taken from the back.

3. Stand in front of a blank, plain-colored wall, with as little distraction or clutter behind you as possible. You're the star of the show here!

4. Take multiple photos. Take at least one from the front, back and side. If you want to, you can even flex or pose for one or two additional ones.

5. 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. That way it's easier to see exactly how your body has changed.

Check out the video below to get even more tips and helpful info and watch STRONGER participants Frankie and Sam show you exactly how to take your "before" photos.

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 LIVESTRONG.COM Challenge Facebook Group to get daily tips, encouragement and motivation.

What Do YOU Think?

Are you joining us in the 8-Week STRONGER Challenge or the 30-Day Get Lean in 2018 Challenge? What do you think of them? Have you ever done a fitness challenge group before? How did it go for you? Have you joined our LIVESTRONG.COM Challenge Group on Facebook? Leave a comment below and let us know!

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