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Curly Nikki

Photographing Natural Hair

By January 27th, 202140 Comments

Photographing Natural Hair
AmberJazz23 writes:

I was recently looking through photos of my own natural hair journey and realized that a number of styles that I thought looked great in the mirror, looked a hot mess in my photos.

Ever thought that you looked incredible in the mirror and then saw a photo of yourself on that very same day and thought you looked a hot mess???

CN Responds:

Girl yes. Of 30 pics taken, I may like… 1.
Also, don’t y’all feel kinda lame for snapping pictures of yourself? I do, lol. I always stop when hubby walks in the room because he makes fun of me!


  • Anonymous says:

    OMG as everyone else is saying I thought it was just me that thought that way especially since I look on blogs and see all the nice pics of ppl with their natural hair. I was gonna ask the same question! What's up with that?! What's the best way to prevent that? I think it has to do with the flash and lighting but not really sure. Its annoying cuz it makes me 2nd guess and run to the flat iron for help.

  • Anonymous says:

    Guilty! What i hate is when i leave the house thinking my hair looks great and then i come back home look in the mirror and my hair has transformed into something else! The frizz and puffiness just creeps on my hair when i leave it down! I do have some pics that reflect reality i.e my hair looking decent and it really was and i have others that show it not looking good! I guess its trial and error with my transitioning hair!

  • Jamie says:

    This happens to me all the time! my hair looks really cute in the mirror but in pictures it the polar opposite! I take terrible pictures.. I just tell people i'm not photogenic. I know some people who don't look that great in person but take great surely the opposite could be true! lol

  • CashmereKinks says:

    haha.. wow. I'm transitioning and thought that I was the only one who did this. I take a photo about 7 or 8 times before deleting the others. sometimes I save a few then pic the best one later.

  • Anonymous says:

    YES YES YES!!! It's so funny because I'll be visitng my sister for thanksgiving and my first thought was "ugggh I hope we don't take too many pictures for facebook"! Also sometimes I think my 'fro looks full and fierce, then I'll take a picture and it looks "airy" and less dense. I don't think it's breakage…any reason why this happens?

  • Anonymous says:

    tday I complained about the quality photos I took of myself. I wanted to take photos to capture how great my curls turned out. the quality of the photos did not do any justice.
    I finally mastered my hair I want to take photos of every progress. Very fustrated!

    Im going to have to add a good quality digital camera to my Christmas wish list.


  • Anonymous says:

    It's 50 50 for me, I find that the lighting and flash play a huge roll on how my hair looks in pictures and the angle that it is taken. I also take a lot of myself (self photo) My husband laughs at me to and asked why I did that, I told him I look through our photos and see none of me, and I don't want to be left out.

  • Mickie says:

    I thought it was just me. I am surprised to hear so many ladies have the same issue. I don't feel so bad.
    Thanks for sharing.

    What can we do to fix this? 🙂

  • HolisticLifeRN says:

    lol at stopping when hubby come in. i do the samething. it takes me at least 20 or 30 pics to get a good enough shot for an upload

  • The Retro Natural says:

    It takes me a long time to get the right photo or's such a process sometimes lol but ah well..I try to do my best and not worry about it too much!

    I don't like having anyone around when I record video..I easily get distracted and I prefer to be completely alone..I like working on my projects alone though, be it crocheting or filming or hot gluing lol

  • New2Curl says:

    I reallyhave to agree with you on that. I was try ing too take a picture of my hair and I look like a hot mess. May be we're too close too the

  • Back to Black says:

    YES!!! I'm glad to know its Not Just Me. SMH. I get all excited about a hairstyle, try and take a pic to share and usually end up deleting the pics all together…Sigh.

  • kez says:

    Not just in photos – just when i see the mirror for the first time in a while lol – im needing a new product for hold too so thats not helping but happened today after work when i made a quick dash into town – got in changing rooms and felt like staying in there…!
    And same here with piccies, my hubby thinks im A)Weird – 'why do i need/wanna take pics of myself and B)I must be vain ha ha – i suppose it is vanity, but im not 'i love myself vain' so for that, i disagree – i only take pics of myself for things like this!
    @ CurlyNikki – ha ha, made ,me laugh, you quickly stop when he comes in the room, i do that and feel like i look all suspicious he he! x

  • kitka82 says:

    LOL @Rhayne! I hope you took a pic!

  • Bitty Boss says:


    I took about 15 pictures before I found one to post on my blog this morning. So irritating.

  • Rhayne says:

    Dayum I need a camera right now, I'm out here at the library at the mall. There is a black guy that just walked in with a gorgeous head of thick natural hair, and it's out in a fro. He looks to be 4b and it is so thick and lucious, it makes me want to dip my hands into it. Wow, I should go up to him and mention CN so that you can get his picture and info on him. …..

  • KCAS says:

    Hahaha, good to know I'm not the only one! I need to make thousands of pics to choose few. Pics don't show the definition well. Using the tools to make photos better only make things worse because the (hair) color changes a lot. On the other hand, sometimes (mainly when I use curlformers), I want to show frizzies (day after) and the camera does not show it. I have an album and people think I'm too peaky when I complain haha.

  • Anonymous says:

    I noticed this a while back and remember thinking that natural hair just doesn't look good in pictures no matter how nice it looks in person. I think it may have something to do with the camera not being able to pick up all of the texture of our hair especially since our hair doesn't reflect as much light.

  • Anonymous says:

    I've been thinking about this as well. I would love to dye my hair and add highlights to add definition and movement, but I fear the breakage. I love the health of my hair but when I take photos I feel my hair looks like a dark blotch on top of my hair.


  • Anonymous says:

    Hecky Yea! Lol My hair never looks right in photos but looks good in person. I think cameras don't like us naturals lol

  • Anonymous says:

    So glad to know that I'm NOT the only one…. (and now, no matter where you go or who you're with, everyone wants to take a pic for Facebook)I think I'll get a laminated card that reads "my hair doesn't photograph well, but thanks" and flash it anytime someone to snap a random pic! LOL

  • steph302 says:

    They say photos capture reality, but the devil is a liar. My hair always looks jacked in pictures no matter how fantastic it looks in real life. I think my hair is Amish. *no pictures, please*

  • Courtney says:

    Yes, yes, yes! It's not just me! I will be totally satisfied with my hair in the mirror but if someone snaps a picture I''m like "eeewww!" I think if you catch natural hair at the wrong angle it can have a weird shape or silhouette, but you don't get that affect with a real, moving person? That's my guess.

  • Misspretty* says:

    Ok… I have some days when I think my hair Looks Gorg, then, I look in the mirror and it is busted!!! (like today) or when I tell my "sistah friend" …."Monica", my hair is busted she sees it and says oh your hair looks good!! I have taken pics from many differnt angles and pic…ONLY the ones I like which could be up to ten…lol… I thought it was only me…

  • T.Turner says:

    Mmm, mmm, mmm…I had this feeling just last week. I've been wanting/needing some updated pictures of myself but it's always up to me to take the pictures myself. (Plus you have to chronicle those great hair days, right?) I would feel so confident looking in the mirror, shakin' and fluffin' my hair, then cue the Charlie Brown music when looking at the picture I took in the camera. Hair all lop-sided and flat! I feel the same as CurlyNikki, I have to take about a billion pictures to only feel satisfied with 1. Heck, even my face seems to look different in the camera! I know some detail gets compromised through a regular digital camera but come on! haha…Glad to hear I'm not the only one!

  • GLSDavis says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I thought it was just me.

  • Unknown says:

    OMG YES! When I started taking pics wearing my natural hair, I would think, "this doesn't photograph well at all!" It would just look like a black mass on top of my head. Can't see the curls or anything!

  • Anonymous says:

    Hmmm, that's funny — I think my photos actually look way better than the real thing. Maybe it's the flash?

  • Anonymous says:

    oh wow i thought this only happened to me! i think my hair is the bomb then look at a pic and i feel so stupid.

  • Anonymous says:

    Yeah! OMG, yes! This has happened to me since I started transitioning. I'll leave the house for a night out thinking "hot damn, yes" and then see pics and be like "oh goodness, no". My hair looks ashy and…just not good. What the heck is that all about??

  • Jay-Jay says:

    OMG I thought it was just me who thought this way!! I would think I was just trippin'. I would look at the pics and say,"I don't look like this as I'm looking at myself in the mirror. Maybe if I take another shot…..UUHHH same thing. What's wrong with my camera?" LOL!!!

  • chicitykitty says:

    I just saw I picture of myself this weekend on my friend's blog. That day, I thought I had a really cute twist out. But in reality, I had a very nice afro mullet – not the look I am going for. My hair is much longer and straighter in the back, curly / coily in the front.

    Needless to say I will be trimming the back this week.

  • Anonymous says:

    Its always great to find that you're not alone in your neuroses! I always feel slightly ashamed when anyone happens to browse through the pictures on my phone…especially before I've gotten the chance to delete the 20 shots that I took that morning before I got the "good one" – that ended up not being so good when I uploaded it, so it never actually made it to facebook! LMAO, yeah.

  • Anonymous says:

    OMG!!! I soooo agree with all of you ladies on this one! EVERY time I look at pics, my hair looks a mess! It makes me second guess how I should wear my hair cuz I always think wow, is this what Im looking like??? lol! Seriously, this post is soooo on point because I always feel the same way! I would hate for the mirror to be lying to me! lol!


  • Shakirah says:

    Yup. I found that it usually looks better if I use my good camera instead of my cell phone tho.

  • Anonymous says:

    OMGosh I thought I was the only one that did or felt that way….thanks for making me feel normal!!

  • vonnie says:

    my hair NEVER looks as awesome in photos as it does in real life….curl definition isn't evident, shine isn't there, nothing about it looks the same 🙁 I hate that!


  • Curlock Holmes says:

    YES YES YES! My hair NEVER looks as good on film as it does on person. I'll do a style and think it looks so defined and great and then when I take a photo of it it looks frizzy and messy. Maybe my camera needs an exorcism or something.

  • GGmadeit says:

    LOL at stopping when hubby walks in. My honey is a photography and I do the same thing. Heck now I am like..can you take my picture please! Because I swear I take 50 and like one of them! hahahahaha @ having my own photo shoot

  • MissCurly says:

    OMG yes! That is so weird, I found this mostly with updo's or ponytails and puffs. I remember I styled my hair in the summer time in this cute pompadur with a puff in the back. I thought it looked so cute in the mirror. Me and my friends took some pics that day. Then looking at them I'm like wow, I thought it looked much cuter in person.

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