Why do I look good in the mirror, but horrible in photographs?

What do people see: the mirror image or the photo image? I'm scared of the saying "cameras never lie". Do I look good in the mirror just because I'm of course biased in my favor?

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  • _
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I always think about this.

    Im really interested to know.

    When I look in a mirror i think I look great, when I take a photo, I look horrible.

    I think the photo image is the one that people see.

    I have bad eye sight (wear glasses to see things far away), and I think I look at myself a little blurred.

    Also Im so used to seeing myself in the mirror, in that position, so your brain adjusts to it, and doesnt show you the real you.

    Its a lot of factors.

    though bear in mind the camera doesnt pick up lighting and small details very well.

  • Bill
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    This question has much to do with aesthetics, which is subjective. If I saw you in a photograph and in a mirror, I might have a different opinion than yours: I might think that you look good in both, or in neither. What other people see (generally) is closer to the photo image in the sense that the image is not flipped left to right. However, the camera does distort the image in other ways, especially at extreme focal lengths.

    I don't want to get too technical here in explaining what a focal length is, so just consider how an image looks through a door peephole and how an image looks through powerful binoculars. Relative to the focal length of your eyes, the peephole and the binoculars distort the image in opposite directions.

    Most cameras, unless you set them at precisely the right focal length, distort the image in ways that your eyes never would. However, even at the right focal length, we're talking about a still image. And even with video, we're still talking about a 2-dimensional image.

    I want you to try two experiments: take a picture of yourself in the mirror. Have a close friend take a picture of you. Compare the two pictures.

  • 1 decade ago

    A mirror just reflects everything, basically it's an exact reproduction with no distortions, and then you use your eyes as the camera.

    Using a camera is mostly down to photographic technique. Using a telephoto lens will reduce distortion. Using good soft lighting will prevent your face becoming flat white. Also dragging the shutter will help.

  • Mick
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    The photo image...

    Afraid to say that that is definitely the case - for almost all of us. The 'lucky' few who think otherwise usually go on to develop problems like Anorexia etc so you're better off one your side of the fence. I cannot stand photos of me but, hey, when I look in the mirror...I'm still ugly.

    Imagine the psychological state of someone who thinks they look awful in the mirror - 'in their own image' so-to-speak when they actually look quite good in reality. Compare it to how you feel. There's a considerable difference. Don't worry about it, it's normal.

    When you see yourself in a photograph, you are also FAR more critical than I or anyone else would be.

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  • 4 years ago

    You probably look OK to other people but it's a common thing to hate the way you look in photos. It's the same as when you hear yourself on a recording, you sound completely different to what you're used to hearing and most people hate the way they sound when they hear it.

  • 1 decade ago

    No i agree. Most cameras don't capture the small details.

    Like the way your hair is exactly fixed, the contrast of colors, the way the light relects,

    the shade of you eyes

    They get the overall picture, but not the small things

    which are important.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    most probery your using a wide angle and not tele,

    your answer is the photographer is not up to it, - a good fotog using ligths will make someone look better than a mirror image - a bad fotog............

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