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Why do I look different in a picture than in a mirror?

XenoXeno Registered User regular
edited November 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
Why do I look different in a picture then I do when looking at myself in a mirror?

I was standing infront of a mirror. Then I took a picture of me in the exact same place, and the pic looked much more different then what I was seeing in the mirror. Anyone know what I am talking about? Just seems like with a pic, a lot more flaws seem to stand out for some reason.

So what are people seeing? The mirror me or the photo me?

Xeno on

Posts

  • EdilithEdilith Registered User
    edited November 2008
    I do know what you mean, but in my experience it depends on your camera. Do you have any different settings you can tweak with on your camera? Take the flash off if you've been using that.

  • LiiyaLiiya Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Often it is to do with the lighting, the camera picks up a lot more than the human eye does. I cranked up the brightness on my camera options and found it made me look more like myself. Try taking a picture outside as natural light will help.

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  • Smug DucklingSmug Duckling Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    It's also because your image is flipped in the mirror and not flipped in the picture. You're so used to seeing yourself in the mirror that you've become desensitized to your face. Seeing your picture is almost like seeing an entirely different person and hence your brain pays more attention to the details of the face.

    smugduckling,pc,days.png
  • NotYouNotYou Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    I feel the same, and I think that we're biased about how we look when we look in the mirror, while a photo captures a very sharp still frame that we look at more objectively.

    Who knows though...

  • illigillig Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    it's the light... camera flash is very white/cold, while typical room lighting is yellowish/warm... white light tends to bring out a lot more detail (and thus flaws)

    that's why when you go clothes shopping, the fitting rooms are lit with nice warm tones... so you can pretend you look better than you actually do :D

  • Smug DucklingSmug Duckling Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    I actually don't think it has anything fundamentally to do with lighting.

    It's the same reason that you think you look weird/ugly in home movies, or that your voice sounds really strange in recordings of yourself speaking. I think it's kind of an uncanny valley thing. The image or sound is VERY close to what you hear in your head or see in the mirror, but it's just off by enough that it looks or sounds very flawed.

    smugduckling,pc,days.png
  • Hahnsoo1Hahnsoo1 Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    People perceive neither your picture nor your mirror image. Those are relatively "still" pictures, moments in time (yes, you can move when in front of a mirror, but most folks just look at their image and pretty themselves up). People look at your body cues, like your posture or hand gestures. They look at the way you talk and way you respond to them. You'd need to have candid video recordings of yourself to see exactly what you are doing at any given time, but even then, it will provide a distorted image.

    tl;dr Don't worry about it.

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  • DocDoc Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited November 2008
    Very few people have the symmetry necessary to look the same in the mirror as they do in a photo. If you have a picture of your face on your computer, copy half, paste it, flip it horizontally, then line it up. Do the same for the other half and see how different the faces are.

  • Blake TBlake T Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    It's also due to the fact that you have two eyes which create a slight 3D effect that can perceive depth.

    Cameras are obviously single lens and see in 2D which makes your face look a little fatter.

    This is basically where the saying "The camera adds ten pounds" comes from.

  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    It could ALSO be because the camera is probably taking a photo from a different perspective than you get through your own eyes. Perhaps one foot lower and to the side or something.

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  • GafotoGafoto Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    The focal length of the camera's lens can affect how you look. A wide angle lens will portray you slightly differently than a telephoto lens. There are some sample pictures here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telephoto

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  • AlphariusAlpharius Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Yeah, it's pretty much a combination of the above
    - harsh lighting (one of the reasons why lighting is so important in films)
    - the 2D camera image flattens what you'd see in a mirror (consequently fattens us too)
    - people tend to adjust their stance/posture/expression when looking at themselves in the mirror, so they look their best - you see a photo post-event so you can't go fix that stray hair or tilt your head just a bit further left etc (also known as 'mirror face')

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  • rfaliasrfalias Registered User
    edited November 2008
    Erg, I hate how I look/sound in home videos. Thus I avoid them as often as possible.

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  • Conroy BumpasConroy Bumpas Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    when you look into a mirror I=R angle of insedence = angle of reflection.

    so when you gaze you and look into your own reflections eyes you left eye is looking into the reflections (as you perseve it) left eye. and right is the right. (in short a mirror image) because the image is as you are standing looking back at you. but if you had a photo the same proportions as the mirror. ie if you could clone yourself and stare back at you your left eye would be looking into your clones right eye.

    im not doing a very good job of this am i.

    Please note I cannot be held responsible for any mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, karma, dharma, metaphysical, religious, philosophical, Logical , Ethical, Aesthetical, or financial damage caused by this post
  • Conroy BumpasConroy Bumpas Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    left eye right eye
    | . |
    | . |
    mirror
    | . |
    | . |
    left eye right eye



    left eye right eye
    | . |
    | . |
    picture
    | . |
    | . |
    right eye left eye


    you get used to looking at mirrors because you see them more often
    and pull an nutrel expression when you look at them. pictures are not
    usedly teh way you perseve yourself.

    Please note I cannot be held responsible for any mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, karma, dharma, metaphysical, religious, philosophical, Logical , Ethical, Aesthetical, or financial damage caused by this post
  • Post BluePost Blue Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    It's also because your image is flipped in the mirror and not flipped in the picture. You're so used to seeing yourself in the mirror that you've become desensitized to your face. Seeing your picture is almost like seeing an entirely different person and hence your brain pays more attention to the details of the face.

    Simply flipping a picture horizontally won't produce the same image that you see in a mirror. "Edit/flip horizontally" will reverse the X axis, yes, but a mirror preserves the X axis and inverts the Z axis. I've heard people ask, "When I hold up my right arm, why does the person in the mirror hold up their left arm?" The truth is that they don't. When you hold up your right arm, the person in the mirror holds up their Z-inverted right arm, which looks like a left arm.

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