There’s a Reason Why Everyone Thinks They Look Better in Selfies

I live for a good selfie. Like if I happen to take a good pic of myself, I’ll slap that shit everywhere: all my social media, text it to my friends, and cautiously monitor the likes on Instagram.

But if it’s a picture someone has taken of me, like those trash photos that always show up in my tagged section on Facebook, I hate them. I’ll hide them from my page so no one can see. But why?

There’s actually some science involved in why we prefer selfies over photos of ourselves that have been taken from straight on. It’s because what you see in a selfie is also what you see in the mirror.

We are so used to looking at ourselves in the mirror that when we look at a photo of ourselves, we hate it because our faces are flipped around.

Kim Ayres, a portrait photographer, says that people are made uncomfortable by photos taken of them because of our facial symmetry. No one’s face is perfectly symmetrical. For example, if your nose is 2 mm off to one side in the mirror, in the photo take of you, it’s all switched around and your brain will notice that and feel disoriented.

Same thing with your eyebrows — you have one that’s always more curvy. Maybe you have a mole on one side that is on the other side in photos of you.

When Ayres takes pictures of people, she often flips them to a mirror image. She says that most people prefer their photos that way because they look closer to what the person imagines themselves to look like.

She also says people are especially uncomfortable with group and family photos because “everyone else looks as you expect them to — the way you see them every day. But you don’t. Your face is the wrong way round to what you are expecting. So you think you are the unphotogenic one.” 

And that’s why we freak out when we look at photos of ourselves, because we think we look like one thing when really we don’t in real life.

Which is kind of sad, but also kind of awesome because when you take a selfie and share it everywhere, everyone else gets to see what you see, and to me that’s kind of beautiful.

Gimme More Beauty

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