Are Mirrors Accurate? (Important Facts)

How many times a day do you look in the mirror to check on your hair or make sure your pimple does not grow bigger? Mirrors are an interesting invention created by Justus von Liebig, and I cannot imagine my life without them. But do mirrors reflect an accurate image of yourself?

Mirrors display a more accurate reflection of your appearance than photos do. It displays the object and reverses it from left to right, reflecting an image without alterations. However, it does not mean that this is how people view you in real-life. 

How do mirrors work, and why is it more accurate than photos? Is your reflection in the mirror how others see you? These are some of the random questions people ask themselves. Let us dive deeper into this topic. You might even learn how to view an unreversed and natural reflection of your looks.

Are Mirrors Accurate

Are Mirrors Accurate?

Mirrors are much more accurate than photos because they reflect the object’s reversed (left to right) appearance without any quality changes to the object’s image. Many factors affect your appearance on a camera; therefore, you will look less attractive in a photo than in the mirror.

First, let us discuss how a mirror works and shapes an image. An image is formed when rays of light coming from an object hit the mirror’s surface. Once this happens, the photons bounce back at the exact same angle, showing the object’s real-life appearance.

Your reflection in the mirror is laterally inverted and upright, so your left and right side switches but the top and bottom of your reflection remain in the same position. If you place an object in front of the mirror, the image it displays will be the same size as the real-life object.

This goes for your physical features as well. As shown in the mirror, all parts of your body are the precise length and size as it is in actual life.

Is Your Reflection In The Mirror How Others See You?

The mirror does not reflect how others view you. Although it is an almost accurate representation of your physical features, the mirror displays an inverted image, and many people see you from different angles. Thus, one person can see you differently than another person.

How To See Yourself The Way Others Do?

Lucky for us an inventor, John Walter, developed a creation that does not reverse our reflection the way normal mirrors do. This invention is named the ‘true mirror’ and consists of two perpendicular mirrors inside a box. The second mirror in the box undoes the reversal of the first mirror.

The ‘true mirror’ will show you exactly how you look. It will reflect a natural, unreversed image of yourself. Personally, I think this creation works wonderfully when doing your makeup, hair, skin routine, etc.

You can purchase this non-reversal mirror on amazon: True Mirror. The 12″x12″x7″ mirror costs $200 and comes in ivory, black, and purple!

If you do not think a ‘true mirror’ is worth it, there is another easy way you can see your natural, unreversed looks. Hold two front-surface hand mirrors in front of your face.

Ensure that the edges of the mirrors touch and there is a right angle between them; in other words, join the two mirrors at ninety degrees. You will then see a three-dimensional and unreversed reflection of yourself.

Why Do I Look Better In The Mirror Than On Photos?

Hopefully, I am not the only one practicing their poses in the mirror before taking photos. We use the mirror for many things during the day, like applying makeup, adjusting your hairstyle, or even ensuring your face is pimple-free. The disadvantage is that the mirror provides a much more attractive image of yourself than photos.

So, when you are all dolled up and ready to start your personal photoshoot, there is a possibility that you might feel dejected by the results. Why is it that we look better in the mirror than in photos? Here are a few reasons:

  • The Mirror Displays An Unaltered Image

As I mentioned a few times before, the mirror reflects a reversed image of yourself, identical to how you look in real life. Cameras possess many features that alter your appearance, and the lighting of the setting where the photo is taken can also undermine its quality, thus developing a not-so-great snapshot. 

  • Certain Factors Affect The Results Of Photos

Whether you use a phone or camera, a camera lens can badly distort a photo. It can change your facial features by making them seem more stretched out and bigger. The distortion depends on the distance between you and the camera.

Another factor that can affect the quality of photos is angles. When taking snapshots of yourself, certain angles can actually blur the photo and make you look less good-looking.

More factors may alter your looks in photos, and once you know, you will see just how much cameras edit our appearance and why people look different when you meet them in person than they do in their photos. Additional factors include:

  • Sharpness determines the clearness of detail in a photo.
  • Image noise appears as a grainy veil that conceals details in a photo. The photo results will worsen as the image noise “increases”.
  • Color accuracy is important when it comes to pictures. If the color accuracy is not set correctly, your photo will not appear as you desired.

A simple example is intending to set the color accuracy to red but doing it incorrectly and making it appear orange. Color accuracies include white balance, saturation, and color shifts.

  • Dynamic range contrasts the ratio between the brightest and darkest color tones that cameras produce in a single capture.
  • Distortion. The word is pretty self-explanatory. Distortion in photography is when straight lines appear curved or bent. It would only be a problem if you did not intend the photo to appear distorted.

However, one can decide that they want the photo to appear slightly distorted.

  • Image scaling alludes to the aspect ratio of a photo. You might have seen it while editing your photos. The aspect ratio changes the picture’s width and height and is depicted as numbers in ratio format (16:9, 4:3, or 1:1).

If you are resizing your pictures, ensure the quality is still good because the aspect ratio can affect the pixels of a picture. The higher the pixels (1920x1080z), the better the picture quality.


I think it is time to gather your two mirrors and discover your beautiful and unreversed facial features. I cannot imagine my life without a mirror that can assist me with my appearance. Mirrors are much more accurate than pictures because, unlike photos, they reflect a reversed and unaltered image.

Although the object in the mirror is reversed, the top and bottom parts of the object remain the same. Photos can change a lot of your facial features, and some factors affect it too, such as image scaling, distortion, image noise, color accuracy, dynamic range, and sharpness. If these properties are not adjusted correctly, your looks will appear less attractive than they do in the mirror.