We have spent our lives seeing our faces in the mirror, and we have become used to seeing our faces that way round. So when we reverse that image, it doesn’t look right. No one has a perfectly symmetrical face, so when you see your face in reverse it’s not how you expect it to be, it’s you, but not you. It feels odd and we end up believing that we are unphotogenic.
Simply, your face is the wrong way round.
Which photo do you prefer A or B?
Mere exposure effect
A fancy way of saying people react better to things they see more often.
The images above was posted on social media as an experiment
I prefer A the flipped image, Mere Exposure Effect in action.
Not surprisingly everyone who showed a preference chose B, there you go mere exposure effect in action.
We like what we’re used to seeing, so it makes sense that we prefer the image we see of ourselves all the time – the flipped image in the mirror.
Funnily enough – everybody else in the world prefers the non-flipped image of you.
So just remember, you’re beautiful – you’re just not familiar with how fabulous you are!
A study (Mita, Demer and Knight) showed people two images of themselves. One image of their actual face and a mirror image of their face. They found that people always preferred the mirror image of themselves. But the study also found that friends and family of the person always preferred the true image of a person – see here
There has been loads of research on Mere Exposure Effect and the clever people who develop all our smartphones have taken notice of this research.
When you’re scrolling through your social media have you ever noticed when people post selfies, they often don’t look quite right, or natural, to you?
This is because most selfie cameras are mirror-reversal cameras. Which means selfie-takers love them!
How confirmation bias makes you hate you!
The confirmation bias is our tendency to search for and find information that backs up our previously held beliefs. We want to be right, so we look for information that will corroborate our thoughts.
Because we believe we know best, any information that confirms our beliefs takes precedence over information that goes against it. Mind-bending isn’t it!
So how does this relate to our photographs?
If you believe you’re always awkward in front of the camera and you never look good in photos, then you’ll be looking for evidence of that every time you look at a photo of yourself.
Why? Because your memory for feedback is also dependent on confirmation bias. Our ability to remember feedback depends on whether that feedback fits with our own self-esteem. If one person makes an unflattering comment, you’ll remember that, but if ten people say you look amazing, you’ll forget about them.
How to beat the brain and learn to like your pictures
Confirmation bias and the peculiarities of the mere exposure effect come together to make you not like seeing photographs of yourself. But (this is a BIG, MASSIVE, HUGE but) you are the only person in the world that thinks this!
The mere exposure effect, the confirmation bias, the negative self-image, all of these are only in YOUR mind. Other people don’t care. No one else has the same biases about you as you do. You are the only one who is experiencing this when you look at photos of you.
You could use the mere-exposure effect to your advantage by looking at photographs of yourself more often. The mere exposure effect, mirror trickery and confirmation bias, come together to make you not like photographs of yourself.
Here are the two points I want you to take away for the next time you look at a photo of yourself.
Before you start to say ‘OMG, look at my (insert body bit you don’t like), stop! Please, stop. Remember,
(a) your brain is lying to you, and
(b) that other people don’t care, its all in your head.
Please show your beautiful face. The mere exposure effect, the confirmation bias, the negative self-image, all of these are only in YOUR mind. Other people don’t care.
Make a great first impression
As a business owner you do need to show the face behind the brand, it helps cement the Know Like and Trust. Your potential clients want to see you, as after all people buy from people. I love helping business owners get more visibility and presence online.
Its not just a photoshoot it’s a real collaboration. I work closely with you, and take the time to fully understand you and your who’s and why’s. As business owners we are all unique, and we all have our own story to tell.
I do get it, its really scary to step out in front of the camera, but come the day of the shoot you will know me, I will make you feel relaxed and you will really enjoy the whole experience I promise you. Together we will create your story, and give you months of content for your socials.
Can’t say this enough, sharing your story with the use of creative imagery will increase your engagement and get you more sales.
Armed with this knowledge let me ask you this.
As a Business Owner should you be using selfies to promote your business across social media. We have 2 seconds to make an impression on our potential clients. So make it a good impression. Show your uniqueness, it sets you apart and makes your brand stand out.
Lighting, posing, camera angle, lens choice, connection with the photographer. All these things make a BIG difference to the final image. And when you pay a professional photographer these are the skills and knowledge you are paying for.