Why you don’t like photos of yourself

Me: Hello! I thought you might like this photo of you.
Them: Oh god it’s so awful.

I understand this, I really do. I used to be the same. But now it makes me sad.

If I’ve sent you a picture of yourself, it’s because I think you look good. And I’m probably a better judge than you. Not because I’m a photographer, but because I see you like everyone else sees you: I see the non-mirror-reversed version of you. And unless you’re a model or a visual performer, you probably don’t see this version very often. And it looks weird. And I can see why your gut reaction is negative, as it seems to look worse. But it’s not worse: it’s the you everyone else knows and loves. You’re just not used to seeing yourself that way.

Smartphones know this. Ever notice how your front-facing camera previews your selfie as a mirror-image, but saves it as a non-mirror-image? They don’t have to do that. They could save the mirror image, and you’d probably like that more. But other people would like it less – it doesn’t look so much like you – and the point of a selfie is to look good, right?

If someone else thinks you look good in a photo, you probably do. So maybe try to think of the photographer before instantly firing back how much you hate it. While it’s not nice to be told your work sucks, it’s also sad to think you’ve made someone’s day worse. Especially when you know they actually look good.