What We Really Look Like: Mirror Reflection Vs. Camera


The last thing that I want you to think of me is that I’m self-obsessed, but that’s not why i’m doing this. I think everyone has experienced that extreme disappointment when you look at a photo of yourself after seeing your reflection in the mirror which looked absolutely fine.

Have you?
Have you looked yourself in the mirror and sang “I feel pretty, oh so pretty and witty and bright..”? You think everything looks fine, your eyes, your skin, your hair, your outfit, everything. And then you take a picture of yourself and look like this:

He’s a little cute though!


This situation is very similar to what our voice really sounds like. But more frustrating, in my opinion. It’s not the same thing wondering how we sound to what we look like. I rather not know what I sound like than not know what I look like. Like, don’t lie to me mirror or camera. Just show me the real me.

And let’s not even start with how you look different in each mirror. I don’t know about you but there are certain mirrors in my house that don’t help either. But I realized that it wasn’t the mirrors, it was the different lighting in each one of the rooms that they are in. And the same happens in photographs, the lighting plays a huge role on how we look like.

I did some research to why the difference of our mirror reflection and the photographs and this is what I found.

“We investigated the effect of familiarity on people’s perception of facial likeness by asking participants to choose which of two mirror-symmetric chimeric images (made from the left or right half of a photograph of a face) looked more like an original image. In separate trials the participants made this judgment for their own face and for the face of a close friend; half of them matched to a true image of the original and half matched to a mirror image of the original. In the case of matching to a friend’s face presented in the familiar orientation, over 80% of participants chose the left-left composite to be a better likeness to the original, whereas only 62% showed the same left-side bias when matching to a mirror image. The difference is significant, and the result contrasts markedly with a second experiment where participants who were unfamiliar with the faces showed comparable left-side biases when matching to true or mirror reversed images. The result suggests that perceptual asymmetries are retained in our long-term memory for highly familiar faces. While matching to images of self also showed an effect of familiarity, the data in this condition show less evidence of perceptual asymmetry and are discussed in relation to recent research on the representation of one’s own face.”

And I also read, that it’s the camera, it’s the mirror and it’s you.

The camera adds ten pounds, the mirror flips your image and you, well you are your worst own critic and most of it it’s just in your head.

 No matter how much I read I never was fully convinced. But I guess there are more important things to worry about ourselves, like for instance, how people see me? How am I projecting myself? Am I being the person I want to be?



Those are the questions you have to ask yourself. And be confident, that will show no matter how the lighting is, no matter what lenses you’re using and certainly no matter what you look like.

What reflection you like the most about yourself and why?

Thank you,




5 thoughts on “What We Really Look Like: Mirror Reflection Vs. Camera

  1. Fantastic article!!! I’ve run into the problem of my mirror reflection looking fine, but when a picture is taken of me, I look terrible. I thought it was just me, so I’m glad other people have had the same issue. I’ve also had a similar happening when I draw a picture (I love art), then when I look at it a couple days later, I’m horrified. Therefore, I figured out an idea. I hold up my drawing to the mirror, and check to see how it looks. If it looks fine flipped, then I know it’s okay-looking. But when I notice one arm is too long, one eye is too big, or something even worse, then I can understand what to change. For some reason, my eye can generally only notice one side at a time, and the mirror fixes this! 🙂

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