Wondered why you look better or worse in pictures than mirrors? - How selfie cams make you feel good.

I was using my gcam to click some shots and then I ended up taking a selfie later on with a friend. Now, my friend looked a bit weird in the selfie and I started wondering there must be something wrong with my selfie skills.

To be totally honest, I felt I look better than her in pictures, just joking. When I took some normal candid shots from rear camera they appeared fine but selfie look was a bit weird. For a moment, I thought there must be something seriously wrong with my selfie skills. But then I wondered if that's the case then how can I look good and she was looking weird.

I started googling next. Now, if you know me well, I love experimenting and this gave me a literally brain fuck moment. During physics lectures, I had learnt that mirrors don't show the true self. It was something that was already in front of me and I never realised it.

Some of you might think what's the big deal, it's just a selfie right? Well wrong, think of yourself getting ready by looking in mirror and you make yourself look just perfect in the mirror, think you're good to go and when you click pictures at some party, they're just ultimate weird. I'd use the term weird as I don't wanna go into ugly vs beautiful classification. It's just different.

The fun fact was my friend was already well aware of it. She just said,"That's why we (girls) always ask others to click or get a candid shot more than selfies." At that moment, I really felt dumb.

Now, I researched a lot after this revelation on the internet. I also messed with almost every other camera setting and a few apps. The brain fuck moment wasn't here. It's fine, we look weird in mirrors or real depending on your choice of the perception you think about yourself. But, I kinda felt scammed a little when I had a realisation.

When you think you're looking good and click yourself with your average selfie cam app. I used gcam and always wondered why it looks so weird in selfies even though the selfie preview looked great? I started researching and this is what I found.

If you think you look really good in photos then you are kinda sorted. Selfies are not your thing and you prefer someone clicking you over you clicking with a selfie cam. Then you are looking at the real you.

As Everyone Sees Me
This picture shows how I might be looking to you in real life. But the fun fact is that for you this might be normal. But for me it's a surprise. I don't see myself like this ever in mirror. The second picture shows how I look at myself in the mirror. Mostly as this is a selfie, there are many things I'd like to throw some light on later but this is simple fact.

As I see myself in mirror

If you want to see how you appear to others, just go the selfie camera, make the option to click the mirrored selfies off and click. Now, the irritating thing I encountered here as while you still have options to click real selfies and mirrored, there's no way to get a real selfie preview.

Each and every single selfie camera in this world shows you a mirrored selfie preview
The clicked images might just differ as later after clicking the software flips is to show the real image as per your chosen setting.

Now, I dived deep into this and this trickery, is traced back to the first days in selfie world. When the first selfie camera made appearance in the world. Apple decided to make iphone show mirrored selfies so as people feel nice and comfortable clicking themselves as much as they want. Later on the removed the mirror mode but the preview still gives you a mirrored image, even when post clicking the selfie turns up real image.

I got annoyed at the fact that in the world of UI and UX designs we are taught to follow WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) principles. But here in the reality there's a whole new level of scam going on.

Every social media app, shows you unreal selves. that's why something they look horrible in selfies or others think opposite. But here's a little catch. The selfies aren't still exactly showing you real you even if you turn off the mirrored selfie mode off. The camera due to close angles and the way you click, just makes it look more weird than you might appear in reality. Although the weird context increase it's still somewhat true.

I still wonder, why every selfie camera in the world shows us mirrored previews. Why not just let us see how the picture will turn out to be? Isn't that the actual use of previews?
The answers I found were, it's to aid you in placing camera better. You might turn left in real and camera will move right. So to undo this counter steering the previews are still mirrored while pictures you take are real.

The fact that they haven't bothered yet to undo this age old system is because to make user comfy to use the system as well as that taking a selfie from a close angle might be actually not so real much. The focal length plays an important role in how we perceive the objects hence the idea of clicking mirrored selfies all the time might not be a totally absurd one.

In the end, a selfie should encourage you to click more and upload more and then send complimentary comments for the device. There's no concern regarding it getting artificial day by day.

Isn't this a whole lot of messy confusion and looks like a lot of thinking to be done upon?

Why not even a single camera for selfies shows you true previews and by default gives you options to click true images of yourselves? Why every social media is hell bent to make you feel good?

I'd really love to know your thoughts on this. Please do comment.

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  1. The article is very nice thank you for sharing it

  2. 1) I think selfies have made people more self centered. They have become a tool of ego satisfaction rather than collecting memories as photos used to be. It doesn't matter what they show. People will see what they want to see.
    2) Social media is not a medium to actually express oneself. It too is a medium of show-off. True feelings don't need public appreciation. Expressing sadness is a general no-no in our social scheme.

    Hence, both social media and selfies, in my opinion only feed egos and make people crave for recognition. I dont see any answers to your questions except that they reflect human nature and it's gullibility to fall prey to tools of ego gratification.

    1. Truely summarised. Social media can also be dubbed as feel good media. Their target is to make the user comfortable so they can interact more with the app or website and not feel insecure even uploading their most personal moments on the Internet.

  3. I do have answer for your last question. Look basically it is all about marketing world. As in, if the mobile camera doesn't show up good selfies you click why on this earth anybody will bye that phone!! If you are not looking good in the picture you click, as the mobile brands will obviously look forward according to the wants of audience. And keeping in mind that selfie is all what people like clicking these days, they don't show the real appearance, similarly with social media application will anyone download applications which will show them look weird to others??

    1. I totally understand your point here but I am just curious about the fact that even in this date and age there is still compulsory mirrored preview, not even an option to click the real image. I might just give a follow up article on it for sure.

  4. This article is quite amazing and I was not aware of these facts. Can you post more articles on this type of similar topics ?

    1. Thanks, sure. If you have any ideas you wish to be covered feel free to comment here or maybe send an email. I'd be happy to write more such content.


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