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How much do you trust the mirror vs a photo of yourself?

(70 Posts)
Fuzzballs Thu 26-Nov-15 12:01:34

I know this sounds a bit silly but it's making me lose all confidence in how I look.
I look at myself in the mirror and whilst I don't see a supermodel looking back at me, I think I look ok, sometimes I am very happy with the way I look. Then I see a photo of myself and I see awful flat hair in a colour and style that doesn't suit me and makes me look old, I see someone two dress sizes bigger than I see in the mirror and someone who doesn't look good in their clothes, nothing flattering at all.
Why is this? I guess the camera doesn't lie so it this a case of me only liking the image I see of myself in the mirror from the front, and other angles look awful? It's upsetting me because other people must see me as I look in photos and all I see In those pictures is an ugly person. I know there is more to life than looks and I can accept how I look if only I didn't keep getting these upsetting surprises, why do I look so different in photos to in the mirror??

Katiekatiekatiekay Thu 26-Nov-15 12:13:28

Wow I have exactly the same thing. I've wondered how others see me - mirror me or photo me??
A photo is a split second so can catch weird expressions & colours can be weird. Not sure how my size can change so dramatically though!

Thecatisatwat Thu 26-Nov-15 12:16:31

OP I also think I look dreadful in photos but ok in the mirror. I think it's because a) we all try to put on a certain false face for photos and b) we all tend to look more alive in real life because our face is constantly moving and c) camera flashes produce a very harsh unflattering light. Clothes wise I think I look ok in both the mirror and photos providing they're full length. If it's top half only I look fat because I have large tits and a short torso. Full length I look in proportion - slim with quite long legs.

RealHuman Thu 26-Nov-15 12:19:53

Photo you is the wrong way round (left/right) from what you're used to seeing, so any asymmetry you have (and we all do) jumps out from the unfamiliar face and looks "wrong". Your mirror image is a few feet away from you and always looks the same, a photo can depend vastly on focal length as these pictures show. Also lighting is different, your mirror image shows you when you've just got ready, your mirror image is in motion - people look better moving and animated than in a snapshot. You look better in real life than you perceive yourself in photos! It's like listening to your own voice on tape. It sounds so different from what you hear when you speak that it sounds silly. But to other people your voice sounds fine.

Tuiles Thu 26-Nov-15 12:20:56

I think maybe you think you look odd in a photo because it is reversed from the way you see yourself in the mirror. We are not symmetrical so the slight reversed differences lead to a kind of 'uncanny valley' effect.

To other people they are used to seeing you that way so don't have the same effect of out of place-ness.

Fuzzballs Thu 26-Nov-15 12:25:30

Thanks, glad it's not just me and what you've all said makes sense. Hopefully you're right Realhuman, that we look better to others than we see ourselves in,photos

MitzyLeFrouf Thu 26-Nov-15 12:28:20

But sometimes the camera does lie. The most beautiful man I know looks strangely plain in photographs. Real him and photograph him almost look like two different people.

There's no denying a bad photo can knock our confidence but in real life people looking at us aren't looking at a flat image of us, they're looking at a person who's constantly changing expression and angle.

The best thing to do is prance around in front of a mirror, spend a while (only a little while!) being Kim Kardashian working out your best angles, taking lots of selfies. Some lucky people always look good in photos but most of us aren't that lucky.

Another thing to remember is that we notice our own flaws far quicker than anyone else does. A friend recently was moaning about a photo that she said made her face looked lopsided. It didn't, it was a good picture, she was just hyper aware that her lips aren't 100% symmetrical. But few of us are blessed with absolutely symmetrical faces.

Basically, stop being so harsh on yourself grin

Youareyou Thu 26-Nov-15 12:29:21

I used to be ok in photos so I don't think it's the asymmetry.
I look in mirror and think I could do with losing a few pounds but it's ok. We recently has some family photos taken and I was literally taken aback by how fat I look. I mean properly overweight, double chin. The photographer seemed happy to think he'd represented me well so that must be how I look. Needless to say we won't be ordering any with me on. It's thoroughly depressing.

Thefitfatty Thu 26-Nov-15 12:33:52

You aren't alone! I look at myself in the mirror and think I've got a lovely hour glass figure, with nice toned arms and legs from the gym. I look at a picture and I look like a fat troll with massive arms, legs and lower belly! It's so upsetting. sad

I've read that the lens can make a difference, whether it's a wide angle or not can add pounds, but god.

Fuzzballs Thu 26-Nov-15 12:37:07

I know! I think I look a nice and slim 12-14 (qWhich is what size I wear) but photos make me look much larger. It's the horrid surprise that I don't like. It makes me doubt myself and want to wear a bin bag

RonaldMcDonald Thu 26-Nov-15 12:40:46

I am the other way round. I look miles better in photographs/video than rl and can look a bit golem/praying mantis in the flesh

ShortcutButton Thu 26-Nov-15 12:46:45

look a bit golem/praying mantis in the flesh

grin grin grin

I SOoo need to meet you!

spankhurst Thu 26-Nov-15 12:51:59

I know what you mean OP. I've always loathed how I look in photos, yet my reflection is OK.

The only photos I've ever liked of me were when I was holding DS as a baby and toddler; I look so happy that I look good.

maybemyrtle Thu 26-Nov-15 12:54:51

I feel your pain, some of us just aren't photogenic. I'm sure you look great in real life/the mirror. My photo is displayed at a place i do some work for and I was gently approached last week to ask if I would like another one taken. Took it as a compliment but I know any reshoots won't be any better! I read this ages ago and it stuck: I have the kind of beauty that moves. Sums us unphotogenics up I think!

HalfStar Thu 26-Nov-15 12:55:03

For me it's the asymmetry thing which always gives me a shock when I see photos of self. bleurgh.

I used to wonder why, if my e.g. mum, sister or DP looked into the same mirror as I did (so we were both looking into the mirror together), I thought their face looked so lopsided. Duh!

It's actually quite a weird thing to get your head around!

atticusclaw2 Thu 26-Nov-15 12:59:56

My friend who is a photographer say that its because when you look at yourself in the mirror you look into your own eyes. That is primarily what you see and you don't notice as much your big nose or jowly neckline.

When you see yourself in a photo you give all features the same amount of attention and therefore do notice your big nose etc.

So unfortunately the photo is the most accurate reflection of how others see you.

Yseulte Thu 26-Nov-15 15:00:18

I tell myself I look like I do in the mirror not in photos, because I need to keep my spirits up.

Want2bSupermum Thu 26-Nov-15 15:08:20

Sadly photos do give a true reflection of how you look. Yes the angle of the picture matters etc but when you see a picture where you look fat, it is horrible to admit but yes you are fat. You need to tone up and/or lost weight.

For the past 3 years I have had DH tell me that its the camera and not me. Well we got pictures taken for Christmas and my goodness, no denying it, I am well and truly fat. Confirmed by my BMI being just into the obese category when I went for my confirmation of pregnancy appointment at 8 weeks. I am so mad that I have had my head in the sand over this. I've felt rotten and sluggish before I was pregnant and the weight gain is a symptom of me not taking care of myself.

SparklyTinselTits Thu 26-Nov-15 15:10:28

Me too!
I performed in a concert a few weeks ago, spent ages getting my hair done, and reeaaaallly took my time with my make up. Was quite impressed with my efforts.
But then the next day, I saw a group photo of all of us backstage, and my hair looked "blaa" and my arms looked really chubby sad
It's a kick in the ladyballs!!

MaisieDotes Thu 26-Nov-15 15:14:13

I think some people are photogenic and some are not. I am not. Partly it's because I hate having my photo taken so I get stressed and that comes out in the way I hold my mouth and jaw.

Also I'm far too self-conscious to pose. I just can't do it. A friend of mine has oversized features in real life but always looks great in photos- she smiles with her her mouth open, her head tilted and her shoulder forward. I would feel like an absolute eejit doing that but she just does it naturally.

I do think that being very slim adds to being photogenic. Although that's not really an earth shattering theory is it, considering models etc. I definitely look miles better in photos when I'm thin (which I'm not at the moment!).

spank for some reason your comment made me well up <hormonal> grin

BrandNewAndImproved Thu 26-Nov-15 15:19:21

There are ways to make yourself look like you in photos.

If you push out your shoulders you'll look stupid in rl but it will give you definition and stop you looking fat in photos.

Yseulte Thu 26-Nov-15 15:20:22

I'm very slim and I'm not particularly photogenic, so that ain't true.

I don't look old or ugly just not as ravishing as I feel I should. hmm

MitzyLeFrouf Thu 26-Nov-15 15:22:24

A hand on the hip is another arm slimming trick.

Tilting your body a bit to the side shaves a pound or two off as well.

BrandNewAndImproved Thu 26-Nov-15 15:24:38

Yes but if you have your hand on your hip and your shoulders are back and your hips leaning forward you'll look fat.

Hand on the hip whilst pushing out shoulders works really well!

Potterwolfie Thu 26-Nov-15 15:24:37

I do body pump and look at my well toned shoulders and fab triceps in the mirror,and I'm really proud of myself. . .then I see a photograph of me in a sleeveless top and just see huge flabby chunks of ham hanging off my body! Not fair.

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