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Do People See You Inverted?

by Lily Morgen
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Do People See You Inverted

Have you ever snapped a selfie or looked in a mirror and thought, “Is this how I really look by others, or is it inverted?” 

The truth is, a mirror and a front camera show you a left/right opposite version of yourself. What you appear in the mirror or the front camera is a reversed image, that is to say, what you perceive is just yourself in your eyes. 

But yourself in the photo or the video recorded by the front camera is not inverted, where it is actually how other people see you in real life. As for the back camera, the photos or videos it takes are also not inverted.

How To Simply Test If You’re Inverted In The Mirror Or Camara

You may find that yourself in the mirror is on the opposite side of the real you. You can raise your left hand in front of the mirror, but you will find that what you are raising in the mirror is your right hand in the mirror. 

However, how you appear in the photo is how you are in the eyes of others, no matter whether the photo is taken by the front camera or back camera. You can raise your left hand and ask a friend to take a photo for you, in which you also raise your left hand. 

Test If You’re Inverted In The Mirror Or Camara with Letter E

You can also write the letter E on paper, E stands for you, and you represent other people to observe E. So E is what other people see you. Then hold the paper with E in front of the mirror (Facing the ‘E’ towards the mirror is equivalent to how others see you), and you will see that the opening direction of E in the mirror is opposite.

In this way, you can clearly understand how others see you are actually the opposite of left and right from what you see in the mirror.

Why Do You See Inverted Images Of Yourself In Mirror?

When you look at yourself in a mirror, you’re seeing light that bounces off you and then reflects off the mirror back to your eyes. Mirrors flip things from left to right, or vice versa. Such a phenomenon is called a mirror image.

This is why if you raise your left hand, the reflection appears to raise its right hand. It’s like if you were to face another person and both of you raise your left hands, they would be on opposite sides.

Just like you hold the paper with E in front of a mirror, the E will appear backward as the mirror swaps the left side and the right side.

How Other People See You In Left and Right

When you stand in front of a friend, you see the left side of your body on the other’s right, and vice versa.

For example, if you both stretch out your arms to give a handshake with your right hands, your right hand meets their right hand. However, from your viewpoint, their right hand is on your left side.

Think of it as looking at a photograph of yourself. The image shows your left on its right and your right on its left. When you meet someone, it’s like they’re looking at a live photo of you.

Why Do Some People Prefer The Way They Look In Mirror Than In Photos?

You may notice the difference when you compare how you appear in the mirror and in photos. You prefer your look or reversed image in the mirror because you’re more familiar with the face you see in the mirror, which you’ve seen every day of your life. 

Photos, on the other hand, capture you from a different perspective. They show you as others see you, without the mirror’s reversal. This can be jarring because you are not used to seeing yourselves in that way

That’s why some people say that they look ugly when they are taken by camera, because they usually dress up before the mirror, and are used to their appearance in the mirror. When suddenly see themselves with the left and right reversed, they will feel strange.

Can You See Yourselves The Way Others See You?

Yes, you can use the inverted filter on TikTok or take pictures for yourself, both showing you how you appear to others.

Do People See You Inverted on Conference Call Software, Like Zoom?

When you hop onto a conference call on platforms like Zoom, you may wonder if people are seeing the “mirror” version of you. No, they aren’t. They view you the same as you look to others in real life.

When you see yourself on your own screen during a Zoom call, it may appear mirrored to you. This is because many video conferencing platforms automatically flip your preview to mimic the experience of looking in a mirror. It’s designed this way to make it intuitive for you when you adjust your hair, fix your collar, or make any other tweaks — movements align with what you expect from a mirror.

However, to other participants on the call, you appear as you do in real life. Zoom sends the non-mirrored, true-to-life version of your video feed to them. So, if you’re wearing a shirt with text on it, others will read it as it’s intended, not backward.

This design choice makes sense. Imagine having a presentation or showing a physical document on camera. It would be confusing and counterproductive if the image was mirrored for the viewers.

Final Thought

The reflection you see in the mirror is actually reversed of you, and people see you inverted from what you see yourself in the mirror. 

How you look in photos or videos is how others see you in real life, not how you see yourself in the mirror.

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