Why do selfies reverse left and right and come out backwards? Blame the “mirror effect”

On the left, a selfie in which left and right are not reversed; on the right, an “inverted” selfie.

Have you ever noticed the fact that when you frame yourself with the front camera of your smartphone your image is mirrored? It is especially noticeable when there are writings in our selfies, in which the inversion of the right with the left is particularly evident. But have you ever wondered because selfies are backwards and reverse left and right? The answer is quite simple: they do it because the majority of users are used to seeing their image reflected in the mirror – which reverses the images – and therefore prefer to see their face mirrored. If you wish, however, you can change the settings of your smartphone to ensure that the photo is saved in the “non-mirrored” format.

Why smartphones invert selfies: we like our face better when it is “inverted”

The image of our face that we see in the mirror is not the same as what others see with their own eyes, because the mirror “reverses left and right”. This is why many people don't like themselves in photos: they are used to seeing their image mirrored, which therefore appears more “familiar”. Seeing ourselves “as we really are” can therefore be a little strange, partly because our faces are not perfectly symmetrical. Some characteristics and distinctive signs of our faces do not appear in photos in the same way they appear in the mirror and this can somehow confuse our mind which, in fact, looks at a person in a photo who is not the one it is used to seeing . Since we become familiar with our faces as we see them in the mirror, due to the so-called “exposure theory” we come to prefer the mirror image of ourselves for the simple fact that repeatedly encountering something or someone makes us like it more.

On the left, an unreversed photo; on the right, a photo (not inverted) taken in the mirror, in which the right and left appear reversed.

For all these reasons, many smartphone manufacturers reverse the right and left of selfies by default: in this way our face will appear “familiar” to us and we will tend to like it more.

How not to take selfies backwards

If you want to ensure that the selfies you take on your smartphone are not mirrored once taken, follow the steps below.

If you have an Android smartphone

On Android you need to open the app Camerago to its settings (usually by pressing the button or and selecting the item Settings from the menu that appears) and move up OFF the switch relating to the Front camera mirror item. It must be said that the steps and wording may differ depending on the device you own and the version of Android installed on the latter.

If you have iPhone

On iPhone you have to go to Settings > Camera and, in the section Compositionit must be moved up OFF the switch relating to the option Flip front camera.

Reverse selfie on iPhone |  Geopop