Why selfies look wrong


Someone just needs to start offering plastic surgery that is designed to make selfies look normal…


And all this time I’d been blaming it on duckface… silly me!

That and the wide angle lens fitted to most phonecams.


Some people just want to watch the world burn (behind them).

Because the people taking them are self-obsessed twits with no photographic talent?

Oh, wait, I meant to say “The values of object distance, focal length, and sensor size.”


Do you think selfies aka portraits are new? Because you’d be wrong.

The fact that you are generalizing about A LOT of fucking people, from all walks of life, as “self-obsessed twits with no photographic talent” while ignoring the fact that portraits have been a thing ever since cavemen were drawing on the walls of caves is a pretty good indication that you are the self-absorbed twit that needs to get off his high-horse (and I’m fairly certain you’re a “he”).


Are you trying to pretend that a 6mm lens is wide angle despite the crop sensor?

Personal rule of thumb when taking a portrait is never to have the camera closer than about a meter. Unless it’s of a dog.

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Factoring in the crop, smartphone camera lenses typically translate to around 28-35mm in 135 terms, which is certainly on the wider end of a normal range. Not a super-wide by any means, but also not ideal for portraits, unless you want the face to be quite small in the frame. :smiley:

(I’m only really used to shooting at 50 and 135mm, so 35mm feels uncomfortably wide to me. :wink: )

This guy is a bit of an ass, but he presents images that demonstrate why it’s the focal length that matters, not the crop.

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He’s really talking (mostly indirectly) about the importance of proximity to the subject—you need to keep some distance so as not to get unpleasant perspective distortion of facial features, and it’s this that makes a 50mm too short for anything closer than a three quarter length portrait. When he said the crop doesn’t matter, he was talking specifically about the 1.5/1.6 factor crops typically found on Nikon and Canon consumer DSLRs which don’t make that significant a difference to the perceived focal length of a 50mm when compared to the 160mm focal length he took the “good” example on. In other words, 80mm (equivalent) is still too short (many would disagree on that point). He wasn’t talking about the more extreme crop factors of typical compact cameras—if you had a superzoom with a crop factor of 5, zoomed it out to 32mm (160mm equivalent), positioned the camera the same distance from the model as he did with his “good” example and took a shot, the overall look of the picture would be about the same in terms of framing and perspective flattening. It’s the proximity that makes the difference, and choice of focal length is about framing. Knowing his ideal proximity to subject would have actually been more helpful than focal length… :wink:

Either way, he seems to agree (implied) that a 35mm equivalent smartphone lens is too wide for a decent portrait shot. :smiley:

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This illustrates it a little better.


Focal length only affects field of view, and not perspective. A picture taken from arm’s length will have the same amount of perspective distortion regardless of whether it is taken with a (35mm-equivalent) 24mm lens, 35mm lens, 50mm lens, etc. The only difference is how wide the field of view will be.

I see you address this in later posts, but @pixelshifter’s suggestion that it’s the wide-angle nature of smartphone cameras—and not the arm’s length perspective—that makes selfies look weird is wrong.[quote=“jerwin, post:12, topic:26947, full:true”]
This guy is a bit of an ass, but he presents images that demonstrate why it’s the focal length that matters, not the crop.
The guy’s an idiot. By his reckoning, an 85mm lens can’t be a portrait lens, either, because on MF an 80mm lens is normal and 35mm is just a cropped format relative to MF. And then your 150mm MF lens isn’t really a portrait lens, either, because it’s a wide angle on an 8x10 LF camera, and MF is just a crop of that format.

The only thing that matters is perspective, which is how far away you are from the camera. Pick your preferred portrait perspective (working distance). Then pick a focal length that gets you the framing you want. That’s your portrait lens for the format you’re using. It could be 5mm on a cell phone, or 600mm for an 8x10 view camera.

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You’re right, he probably was talking in terms of wide angle lens distortion which you’d really need about a 15mm equivalent or shorter to see.

so the real problem is that arms length will produce a horrid picture on any device. OK.

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