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Why Do I Look So Ugly? An Investigation

Why Do I Look So Ugly? An Investigation

“Am I ugly?”

When you look through your tagged photos on Instagram, this thought might run through your head. Looking in the mirror, you might think you look good, beautiful even, but what happens when someone finally snaps a picture of you? It’s almost like reliving a bad yearbook photo, except this time, the entire world could see it if they wanted to. We’ve all experienced a moment where we see a picture of ourselves and wonder how it’s the same person looking back at us in the mirror. Why do we look so much worse in photos than we think we do? There’s an explanation for that.  

Distance matters.

First to consider is the distance of the camera to your face or body. For example, let’s pretend you’re taking a selfie. If you have shorter arms, your face is automatically going to appear bigger in the image just for the simple fact that the camera is closer to your face. However, if you have longer arms, the distance will allow your face to show a more accurate proportion to that you’re used to seeing in the mirror.

Dimension matters.

We live in 3D, but all the images we’re seeing of ourselves are in 2D. This alone can distort the way we look. Our eyes are able to account for different features in the real world, but in a picture, our eyes often make up for what we can’t see. While sharp angles normally come out looking great, if there’s any sort of roundness, it usually ends up looking worse than we thought.

Symmetry matters.

When it comes to our faces, the right and left sides aren’t perfectly symmetrical. As we go through life, we all develop our “side.” Some of us have a particular side we like to part our hair on. There are even some who refuse to take a picture if they’re not standing on their “side.” If a picture is in a different orientation than we’re used to seeing in the mirror, we can instantly look weird.

Angles matter.

If there’s one thing we need to learn from models, it’s that angles matter! One of the most important things models learn to do is find their angles. This is to make sure their body looks great in all their pictures. Unfortunately, us regular folk have yet to master this. Because of this, our arms might look flabbier than we thought and our stomachs might look pudgier than we remember. Posing in the wrong angle can instantly have us questioning who let us leave our house the way we did.

Lighting matters.

Sometimes flash photography can be our friend and other times, it can be our enemy. Even without flash, lighting is exceptionally important. Pictures that are too dim or overexposed can easily change our image of ourselves. While our eyes adjust to light as we see ourselves, our cameras often don’t do that on their own.

Reality matters.

With all this being said, we all have to remember reality. No one looks exactly like they do in their pictures, and it’s best to remember that! There are pictures of yourself you’re going to love and others you’re going to hate. Even women that we consider some of the most beautiful in the world dislike pictures of themselves. Just google “Beyoncé 2013 Superbowl performance.” 

Regardless, we all think we look worse in pictures, and that’s because, the chances are – we do. And there’s nothing wrong with that! We all just have to learn to take it with a grain of salt and love ourselves anyway.


Try this:

  • Find a photo you really like about yourself and recreate it
  • Discover your angle – trial and error, y’all!
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