Attractive in mirror but ugly on photo?

I always experience this peculiar 'phenomenon' that when I look in the mirror I think ''damn, I'm pretty handsome'' but then when I see myself in a picture it's like ''ugh, look at that face'' and I can't stand it.

Anyone else experience this? Or have an explanation? :p

Self-consciousness. I remember not particularly caring for pictures of myself when I was a younger. Then I chanced upon some photos of me when I was in college and found myself feeling melancholy. "Wow, I was actually handsome! To bad it didn't last."

Eye of the Beholder, and all that.

When you're looking in a mirror you'll usually be facing your reflection front on so you'll become accustomed to that view of yourself. Plus you can adjust your expression to suit.

Photos, even when you're posing for them, can catch you from angles you're not used to seeing and you're never certain how your expression will come out until you see the result.

I tend to look okay in mirrors but in photos I can vary from okay to kill-it-with-fire.

Fun experiment: get two mirrors and angle them so you see yourself side-on. Can be quite a shock for some people. Was bloody horrifying for me.

I look far more handsome in the crayon drawings I make of myself. What gives?

Isn't it because the brain subconsciously makes you think you're more attractive than you really are. Seeing yourself in a picture is basically what you really look like, possibly why people will on average rate themselves higher on a scale of 1-10 than other people rate them

Something wrong with your mirror probably.

Zhukov:
When you're looking in a mirror you'll usually be facing your reflection front on so you'll become accustomed to that view of yourself. Plus you can adjust your expression to suit.

Photos, even when you're posing for them, can catch you from angles you're not used to seeing and you're never certain how your expression will come out until you see the result.

Yeah, that makes sense. I guess a photo being a flat image also contributes to that.

Fun experiment: get two mirrors and angle them so you see yourself side-on. Can be quite a shock for some people. Was bloody horrifying for me.

NO!

DemikidZA:
Isn't it because the brain subconsciously makes you think you're more attractive than you really are. Seeing yourself in a picture is basically what you really look like, possibly why people will on average rate themselves higher on a scale of 1-10 than other people rate them

:(

Wintermute:
Something wrong with your mirror probably.

I did clean it recently with peanut butter.

It's because you can adjust your pose in real time with a mirror, I bet.

You ever seen the lighting in most non-professional photographs? That's not going to flatter anyone. Mirrors tend to be in well-lit rooms.

When you look at a mirror you're not only looking directly at yourself, but you're seeing s mirror image and natural depth perception of the eye and the non-euclidean dimensions of the face. When you take a photograph (particularly a digital photograph) not only are you not getting a mirro image, not only are you getting a mere simulation of non-euclidean dimensions, but you're also getting a 'slice' of self-perception free of movement, self-conscious adjustment whereby you're trying to simulate the 'external gaze'.

Hence why you should use mirrors for general maintenance... but a camera to get a 'truer'idea of how you will look to others. Given the lack of true symmetrical nature of human faces (also a facet of beauty), how you shape your hair or even use cosmetics will be altered when you start facillitating the external gaze and the 'mirrored gaze'.

Sorry to say it, but the video camera perspective is more indicative of how you look than a mirror. Also use a well lit environment.

You should use a video camera. Not a digital camera. Natural movement is always going to be more appealing than assuming people see a time-locked person who is separated from the vaguaries of external stimuli and where people csn be given all the time in the world to focus on whatever imperfections of appearance that most people will never actually observe.

Either that or not hive a shit about how people will look at you ... believe it or not but most beauty is always going to be in the eye of the beholder, and you can't adjust as if a universal view of you from all perspectives of all humans. So confidence and strength of character is always going to be valued highly.

I'm near 5'11... so 95% of people, man or woman, is not going to be awarded an eye-level gaze. So a mirror image is going to be particularly alien yo how I look as if from a video camera from a more universal height oerspective.

Well if you want to know, it's more complex then you think.

Your eyes and brain are playing a nice little trick on you in the mirror, plus the type of lens you are using on a camera will also have a positive or devastating effect on what you get in a photo.

Mirrors:

The human brain actually has a natural "auto fix" feature which corrects the small imperfections in your face. What this means is that if one eye is off just two centimeters, the brain will make your eyes look even in the mirror. It also takes into account depth of features, this goes for everyone you met face to face. So don't think your own brain is just doing it to your own face' reflection. It does this all the time with people you meet face to face in public. In other words we are actually auto correcting faces without knowing it. Now since depth is a important part of the process, you are removing it in a mirror and thus your eyes and brain correct with limited data. This mirror image is what we get used to as we use mirrors a lot, the problem is its incorrect to what you look actually like in reality.

Camera:

When you take a camera image, the camera doesn't have such an "auto fix" like our brains do. It actually only shows what exists which means a flat image but it does try to mimic depth of the subject. Cameras are not a perfect solution to actually get your real image of your face, but they are a good approximation. The weaknesses of cameras are certain things in the photo can affected it even more then you may think about. A wrong lens can effect what the camera is actually seeing, the height of the camera lens can also do this as well. Lighting is also important as it adds the depth which helps define a person's features. If either of these things are off you're going to end up with more of a crooked mouth, eyes e.t.c. Selfies are horrible period for this because they are usually shot very close or at strange angles which make a person look off.

A lot more info is on the web on the scientific part of all this, but this should give you a run down to help you understand whats going on.

RobertEHouse:

A lot more info is on the web on the scientific part of all this, but this should give you a run down to help you understand whats going on.

That's a really good and easy to understand explanation. Thanks for posting! Though I actually hoped the camera was wrong. :p

I think it's because most modern phone and point-and-shoot cameras have wide angle lenses by default (or at least when zoomed-out). And when you take a picture with a wide-angle lens at a close range, it will distort your face. Bad lighting also helps.


If you have access to a camera and a friend right now, let's try something. Take your camera and disable digital zoom, go outside and have your friend back away from you so they can fully zoom-in using only the optical zoom.

Don't forget about movement. A still photo will be a single instance of time, with you unmoving. Takes practice to take a good, single photo. You can cheat somewhat by focusing on a facial expression you know works (like a smile or duck face) but it can still be iffy.

That image in the mirror is always moving normally, so it's easy to see it as a face and notice that your eye looked droopy in that last photo you took.

Psychological theories aside, the way the photo was taken may affect the result. The wrong angle, illumination or pose just make the things worse. You can practice with selfies to learn which is your best side.

stroopwafel:

Wintermute:
Something wrong with your mirror probably.

I did clean it recently with peanut butter.

How can it be clean when it has your slobber on it? You did lick the peanut-butter, right?

magic mirror or cursed camera would be my guess.

We would like your mirror. Are you selling it? Our one is very honest. Too honest. We would prefer the comforting lies for the day to day struggle.

grab an "ugly" photo of yourself and flip the image.
The brain doesn't like looking at a reversed version of your face for some reason and prefers the real non reversed version.
not sure why it is but I read it somewhere and since I also am an amazingly handsome fellow who does not photograph well I can say it works.

So what I'm getting here is that we should do away with mirrors and instead use 360 degree live video feeds of ourselves, displayed on a high resolution 3d monitors from multiple angles, with optimal lighting and proper zoom functionality, so as to never be mislead by our own misconceptions of self-beauty again.

Seems legit.

It's a combination of lighting and not being in control of the angle you view yourself in in photos. Also, mirrors you basically see a reversed version of yourself, while in photos you see what you look like to everyone else. And your brain isn't used to/doesn't like looking at yourself like that.

That being said, it's a mixed thing for me. Some photos of me, I feel, look pretty good. While in others I look ugly. And the same goes for seeing myself in the mirror, though less so.

Hawk of Battle:
So what I'm getting here is that we should do away with mirrors and instead use 360 degree live video feeds of ourselves, displayed on a high resolution 3d monitors from multiple angles, with optimal lighting and proper zoom functionality, so as to never be mislead by our own misconceptions of self-beauty again.

Seems legit.

Doesn't do enough. It needs a live Twitch feed with trolls in chat DansGaming at your appearance.

For me it depends on the picture. Pictures from from my around my High School graduation before I began to put on weight look much better than almost any picture after that.

RobertEHouse:
Well if you want to know, it's more complex then you think.

Your eyes and brain are playing a nice little trick on you in the mirror, plus the type of lens you are using on a camera will also have a positive or devastating effect on what you get in a photo.

Mirrors:

The human brain actually has a natural "auto fix" feature which corrects the small imperfections in your face. What this means is that if one eye is off just two centimeters, the brain will make your eyes look even in the mirror. It also takes into account depth of features, this goes for everyone you met face to face. So don't think your own brain is just doing it to your own face' reflection. It does this all the time with people you meet face to face in public. In other words we are actually auto correcting faces without knowing it. Now since depth is a important part of the process, you are removing it in a mirror and thus your eyes and brain correct with limited data. This mirror image is what we get used to as we use mirrors a lot, the problem is its incorrect to what you look actually like in reality.

Camera:

When you take a camera image, the camera doesn't have such an "auto fix" like our brains do. It actually only shows what exists which means a flat image but it does try to mimic depth of the subject. Cameras are not a perfect solution to actually get your real image of your face, but they are a good approximation. The weaknesses of cameras are certain things in the photo can affected it even more then you may think about. A wrong lens can effect what the camera is actually seeing, the height of the camera lens can also do this as well. Lighting is also important as it adds the depth which helps define a person's features. If either of these things are off you're going to end up with more of a crooked mouth, eyes e.t.c. Selfies are horrible period for this because they are usually shot very close or at strange angles which make a person look off.

A lot more info is on the web on the scientific part of all this, but this should give you a run down to help you understand whats going on.

Mirrors have depth, I don't know how you figure otherwise. The way you focus on reflections in the mirror is the same way you would focus if you turned around and actually looked at the thing. It's not like a photograph where the image has been flattened out and you can't actually focus on things that are in the background or the foreground because the camera wasn't focused on them.

Cameras don't have "auto fix" (mirrors don't either) but I'm still looking at the image through my brain so it's the same either way.

Addendum_Forthcoming:
When you look at a mirror you're not only looking directly at yourself, but you're seeing s mirror image and natural depth perception of the eye and the non-euclidean dimensions of the face. When you take a photograph (particularly a digital photograph) not only are you not getting a mirro image, not only are you getting a mere simulation of non-euclidean dimensions, but you're also getting a 'slice' of self-perception free of movement, self-conscious adjustment whereby you're trying to simulate the 'external gaze'.

Hence why you should use mirrors for general maintenance... but a camera to get a 'truer'idea of how you will look to others. Given the lack of true symmetrical nature of human faces (also a facet of beauty), how you shape your hair or even use cosmetics will be altered when you start facillitating the external gaze and the 'mirrored gaze'.

Sorry to say it, but the video camera perspective is more indicative of how you look than a mirror. Also use a well lit environment.

You should use a video camera. Not a digital camera. Natural movement is always going to be more appealing than assuming people see a time-locked person who is separated from the vaguaries of external stimuli and where people csn be given all the time in the world to focus on whatever imperfections of appearance that most people will never actually observe.

Either that or not hive a shit about how people will look at you ... believe it or not but most beauty is always going to be in the eye of the beholder, and you can't adjust as if a universal view of you from all perspectives of all humans. So confidence and strength of character is always going to be valued highly.

I'm near 5'11... so 95% of people, man or woman, is not going to be awarded an eye-level gaze. So a mirror image is going to be particularly alien yo how I look as if from a video camera from a more universal height oerspective.

How do you reach the conclusion that cameras give a "truer" idea of how you will look to others. It's not mirrored, yeah and you won't be posing in the same way as you would for a photo, but it's been rendered down with approximated colours, doesn't have depth, doesn't pick up light the same way as a human eye, and has additional lens distortions. Yeah, maybe if people only looked at you through video feeds that would give you a "truer" idea, but they don't.

And... video cameras are still digital, unless you are going oldschool.

Keep a convex mirror nearby.

image

Wintermute:
Something wrong with your mirror probably.

More likely something wrong with your camera. I find phone camera photos of me look dreadful. But actual camera photos of me to be much better.

Your mind actually tricks you into believing your more attractive than you actually are when it recognizes that the reflection is yourself. A picture on the other hand isn't a reflect, it's a copy of what the camera saw.
Other differences are your eyes will adjust the lights whereas a camera (they used to anyway, not sure about the modern ones) take a picture of however dark or bright it actually is. Also, your excitement or fatigue could change the pigmentation of your skin when your outside versus relaxed and calm inside the bathroom. Also consider it maybe on a different angle.
There's the chance it also caught you in between movements like a blink or if your distracted to not make a socially considerate expression could all be variants to explain the phenomenon.

Also your brain literally filters a lot of the jittery movements of your head so things appear to be smooth and still. If you didn't, everything would look like it was shaking violently because of all the little movements the human body makes all the time. Photographs don't have that mind's filter and just takes a picture of what is actually there.
I also find that people are more attractive in real life than in photos, not just myself.

One thing you could try doing it keeping 'ugly' photos of yourself around the house as a reminder of what you could look like. Any other photograph is likely to be better than that so you'll always feel more flattered. Like, if your a lady, pictures of yourself without make-up by your computer/laptop or something.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here