Why Do I Look Better In The Mirror?

I love being behind the camera. Mainly because I love taking photos, but also because I’m not very photogenic. Sad but true.

One thing that has always baffled me is how different I look in the mirror from what I do in photos or videos. And when I say different, I mean that I look better in the mirror. Apart from first thing in the morning, of course.

But why do we think that we look better in the mirror? 

Join me as I take a look.

Why Do I Look Better In The Mirror?

The reason you look better in a mirror than how you look in photos is that the reflection you see of yourself in the mirror is the one you perceive to be original and correct. It is a look that you are familiar with and that you prefer, and therefore it is a look that you perceive to be more pleasing.

It is important to understand that the reflection we see in the mirror is how we look in reverse, and not how we really look when seen by others.

Change is not something we all deal with favorably, so when you see a flipped version of yourself that you are not used to, your initial reaction towards it might not be good.

When it comes to photos, there are a few other things that may contribute to us not liking how we look in those photos. Not all photos are taken with the same equipment and under the same lighting conditions.

For example, a photo of you taken in a studio with proper lighting using a lens that favors portrait photography will yield a better result than a photo of you taken with a GoPro.

Let’s have a look at a few other things that can make you look different in photos.

1.) The Type Of Lens Used

Some lenses are made to take specific photos. For instance, a wide-angle lens is great for taking landscape photos or interior photos. But if you take a close-up portrait photo of yourself with the same wide-angle lens then you will get a very distorted version of yourself.

If you opt to get your photo taken with a telephoto lens instead then you will get a more pleasing and flattering photo of yourself.

2.) The Way You Smile

I’m going to use my nephews as an example here. Whenever you ask them to pose for a photo, their body language will change immediately and they will smile as if they’ve been napping with a coat hanger in their mouths.

Many of us do this, myself included. We don’t act naturally in front of a camera and more often than not, our smiles look forced.

I often look at photos of myself and wonder why I just didn’t act more naturally and smiled like I normally do. It’s how we act most of the time, so why not do it when our photos are taken?

3.) Flash

The flash from a camera can be very harsh sometimes, and when you’re photo is taken with the flash on, it can make you look worse when taken in a dark environment. A harsh flash can often make your skin look shiny or greasy, and it can sometimes result in a light that is not very flattering.

One thing that always catches me out when someone takes my photo using a flash, is that my eyes ALWAYS close as a result of the harsh light. Not a good look.

A better option is to use natural or outdoor lighting instead. It is a far less harsh light and much more flattering.


And there you have it. The reason why you look better in the mirror is that the reflection you see of yourself in the mirror is the one you perceive to be original and correct.

As I mentioned earlier, not all of us react to change in the same way, so when you see a flipped version of yourself in a photo or video, you might not respond to it favorably.

Other things that might contribute to you not liking how you look in a photo is the type of lens used, the way you acted or smiled, and the harsh light from the camera’s flash. A photo taken with an appropriate lens in a properly lit environment will yield a much better result. Provided that you acted and smiled naturally. 🙂