Did You “照骗 (Zhào piàn)” Cheat? Everyone Does it Now!

We’re all guilty of it in some form or another. It ranges from innocently angling your phone higher to make yourself appear smaller to spinning around in pursuit of the most flattering light to conceal a not-so-perfect complexion. On the extreme end, however, is what is commonly called “PS (Photoshop)” in Chinese. Some Chinese netizens go as far as to combine Chinese PS with Thai sex-change surgery, Korean cosmetic surgery, or Japanese makeup surgery. These have been called “Asia’s Four Great Sorceries”.
Due to the rapid development of various beauty apps, their functions have been so powerful that they can completely change a person’s face. Just as society’s beauty standards are changing, new vocabulary words have emerged on the internet to describe the side effects. One such word is “照骗 (zhào piàn) photo trick”. After PS, the photo turned into a photo trick “照骗 (zhào piàn)”!

“照骗 (zhào piàn) photo trick” means photos being over photoshopped to cheat others. It refers to the large gap between the people, scenic spots, things in the picture, and reality, which makes people feel deceived. With the prevalence of various types of beauty apps, the term photo fraud has been extended to a type of photo fraud that is far from reality after the beautification processing and is usually used, in particular, to complain about selfies. Nowadays, due to the popularization of makeup technology, the pictures processed with the beauty tools as well as the actual behavior of over-beautifying oneself after makeup is also called photo tricking.


Although “照骗 (zhào piàn) photo trick” is a derogatory term, it does not always have bad meaning in daily use and can be used to expresses different situations depending on the context.

(1)Express joking

For example, when you see your girlfriends are about to post, you can say:
nǐ yòu yào fā zhào piànle a!
You are going to post a photo trick again!

This is not to say that you feel cheated, it’s just in a joking manner.

(2)Express humility

For example:
A: nǐ gāng fā de zhàopiàn hǎohǎo kàn.
A: 你刚发的照片好好看。
A: The photos you just posted look so good

B: zhào piàn éryǐ, zhào piàn éryǐ.
B: 照骗而已,照骗而已。
B: Just a photo trick, just a photo trick.

This is what some may say when they feel embarrassed from praise and respond by saying that their pictures are edited and not so beautiful to express humility.
(3)Express condemnation, angry
For example:
A: nǐ zuótiān xiāng qīn de nàgè nǚshēng zěnme yàng?
A: 你昨天相亲的那个女生怎么样?
A: How was the girl you dated yesterday?

B: bié shuōle, jiǎnzhí jiùshì gè zhàopiàn, běnrén gēn zhào piàn wánquán bù yíyàng.
B: 别说了,简直就是个照骗,本人跟照片完全不一样。
B: Stop talking, it was just a photo trick, she’s completely different from the photo.


Although there are some beauty filters on photos nowadays, everyone’s pursuit of beauty is completely understandable, but don’t be too fake. At least make sure your photos match your actual appearances and remember that catfishing is immoral to execute fraudulent behavior.
Don’t say it, don’t say it, I’m going to PS pictures to post to my circle of friends!

HSK 3 quiz

Which of the following situations does not belong to “照骗 (zhào piàn)?”
A.Taking pictures with the phone’s original camera.
B.Taking pictures with a beauty camera.
C.Photos processed with PS.

You May Want to Learn More About :

“In Chinese, looks can kill – and it’s a good thing!”
“An “Interesting” Explanation of “有趣(yǒuqù)” and “有意思(yǒuyìsi)””
It’s déjà vu “all over again”: How and when to use “再” and “又””

HSK 1 quiz

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