top of page

Why do we look different in iPhone selfies / Why do we perceive ourselves differently in photos than in the mirror?

Have you ever wondered why you look different in photos than in the mirror? It's because our reflection is mirrored, while photos and selfies taken with your iPhone's front camera show the actual representation.

Looking in the mirror

When we look in the mirror, we see a mirror-image version of ourselves. This means that the left side of our face appears on the right and vice versa. Our brain is used to this reflection because we mostly look at ourselves this way, whether it's brushing our teeth, combing our hair or putting on makeup. This distorted version becomes "normal" for us.

The selfie with the iPhone's front camera

In contrast, a selfie taken with your iPhone's front-facing camera shows an unmirrored version of your face. This is the actual representation of how other people see you. When you take a selfie, the front-facing camera captures an image that is unmirrored. This can cause a bit of a shock because it doesn't show the usual mirror image, but a realistic representation of your face.

Why this difference is so striking

The difference between a mirror image and a photo can be significant. We are used to seeing our face in a certain way, and small asymmetries that we don't notice in the mirror suddenly become clear in photos. These asymmetries are completely normal, but because we are not used to them, they can seem strange to us.

This can hit you hard

Sometimes we feel less attractive in photos because we are used to our reflection and find any deviation from it strange. It is important to understand that these differences in perception are normal and that our reflection is simply a distorted version of ourselves.

Unmirrored images can be turned off on the iPhone

If you want to have the "normal" mirrored selfies on your iPhone, you can set this up very easily: go to Settings -> Camera -> "turn on" front camera mirror.


It's perfectly normal to see yourself differently in photos than in the mirror. This phenomenon is explained by the reflection of the image in the mirror and the non-mirrored representation in photos. Both views are true representations of yourself, just from different perspectives. The next time you take a selfie and think you look different, remind yourself that this is the way the world actually sees you - and that's absolutely fine.


bottom of page