Bald Men More Bald in Photos: Why?

Here’s why bald men look more bald in photos:

Several factors can make men look balder in a photograph, including the lighting, camera angle, background, and more.

Skincare products like moisturizers and sunscreen can also make a head look shiner.

On top of all of that, the bald man’s pose and contrasting elements in the picture can contribute.

So if you want to learn all about what looking balder means exactly in photography, then this article is for you.

Let’s get into it!

Bald Men More Bald in Photos: Why? (All the Info)

What Is Really Meant by Looking More Bald?

attractive blonde using a digital tablet in bed

Sure, there are plenty of things that can contribute to the “baldness” of a photo, but this is pretty subjective territory.

If I say someone looks bald, you might picture something different from what pops into other people’s minds.

So, let’s try to get everyone on the same page here.

There are varying levels of baldness.

So, if you take a picture of a guy with a widow’s peak, is it going to make his head look like a shiny orb?

Not usually, no.

The real thing we’re discussing here is how photographs can enhance the sheen that comes off of smooth skin, and for bald guys, that smooth skin is on top of their heads.

That’s the basic idea here.

If you look at photos of bald men, the shine might really catch your eye in a way that doesn’t happen when you see them in person.

Why Do Pictures of Bald Men Look So Different? (3 Things)

smiling athletic young man holding a football while using his mobile phone

Ok. Now that we’ve clearly established the premise, what’s going on? 

Why do cameras make bald heads so shiny?

Well, the truth is that cameras do a lot of things that distort images when compared to reality.

Have you ever heard the saying that a camera adds 10 pounds?

In some cases, that one seems true too.

When we boil it all down, the simplest answer is that cameras have to play tricks of light in order to work at all.

Interestingly enough, this is true whether you are using a modern digital camera or a film camera. 

For the most part, those tricks are related to lensing and imagery, so let’s explore those ideas a little more.

#1 Lensing

young girl taking pictures on camera in a summer Park at sunset

You’ve likely heard that a camera has a lens, but are you really familiar with what that is?

A camera lens is designed to redirect and focus light for image capture (which will be explained in the next section).

The important thing to understand about a camera lens is that its shape will determine how the camera distorts the image.

Now, you might be thinking that cameras don’t distort images.

After all, they’re supposed to be taking real-life images and just capturing them.

But, the truth is that all lenses distort the image at least a little, and I have a really easy example for you.

If you happen to have a smartphone with you, open up its camera app.

Even without taking a picture, you can see what the camera sees on your screen.

Now, turn the camera on its side. 

The image just rotated and reoriented.

The size of everything you see on the screen just changed.

That’s distortion.

By turning the phone one way and then the other, you can see that the camera lens (or camera lenses with modern phones) has a unique shape that affects the image.

So, what does this have to do with bald men?

Well, the lensing distortion is a minor contributor, but depending on the lens distortion, it’s possible to stretch the image in a way that makes heads—especially bald heads—more prominent.

#2 Imaging

Female photographer taking a photo of young man

Next up is imaging.

While the lens focuses the light into an image for the camera, the lens can’t make a permanent image.

For that, you need photodetectors (or light detectors).

I’m going to skip some of the more complicated elements of how these are made and how they work.

Suffice it to say that your camera (even the one in your phone) has tons of really small light detectors.

When the lens focuses an image onto the light detectors, they convert the light that they see into an electronic signal.

That signal is then read by the camera’s (or phone’s) computer to render a digital image.

Because it’s digital, the image can then be saved and stored as a digital file.

All of this happens in real time, which is why you can see what your camera sees on the display screen.

If you decide to save an image, then your camera simply needs to store the digital information on its memory card.

With film, the process is the same idea, but instead of converting the image into a digital signal, the image is burned into the film. 

Film is made from naturally light-sensitive materials.

So, when the camera focuses light through the lens, the energy from that light is enough to burn the film.

The film is burned according to the image, and that’s how it is stored.

In either case, the image is made from the lensing and is then stored through a conversion process, and both of those elements of taking a picture can cause distortion.

Distortion comes in many varieties, but this prominent example might make it easy to understand.

Let’s say you’re trying to take a picture, but someone nearby uses a mirror to reflect sunlight into your camera’s lens.

The image you get is going to be dramatically altered by all of that extra light (whether it’s a digital or film picture).

In fact, a lot of things are going to look a lot brighter where that light hits, and you can even get an effect that washes out the image.

Now, imagine instead of a mirror, a bald head is getting an unusual bit of reflection.

The camera just happens to be taking a picture at a time when extra light is reflecting off of the skin.

That extra light changes the image, and it can turn a normal bald head into a glowing scalp on the recorded image.

#3 Photo Editing

female photographer checking out shots on computer for editing

There’s actually a third major thing that only concerns modern cameras, and that’s photo editing.

Whether you use something like photoshop or not, modern digital cameras are automatically doing a lot of photo editing automatically.

Here’s the short version.

The cameras are run by computers, and those computers are making tons of subtle adjustments to try to make the image clearer, the colors brighter, and the overall picture prettier.

It’s not uncommon for this digital editing to catch a bald head and amplify the image.

It might brighten the color of the skin or increase the contrast in the photo.

Regardless, it’s making the head look a lot balder.