For those who think they have a large nose as suggested by how they look in their selfies, researchers have shown that the possible culprit is distortion.


The advent of smartphones has made it possible to take selfies. Unfortunately, some people think they do not look good because of their photos that they took themselves. Findings of a new study, however, offer assurance that people may actually look better in person than in their selfies.

Study researcher Boris Paskhover, from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School's Department of Otolaryngology, said that one objective of the study is to show people that their images on their photos are not representative of how they look in real life.

"I want them to realize that when they take a selfie they are in essence looking into a portable funhouse mirror," Paskhover said.

Optical Effects Of Taking Photos At Close Range

Body parts that are taken closer to the camera look bigger in the picture, so how people take pictures of themselves can affect the resulting images. In the new research, Paskhover and colleagues created a mathematical model that reveals the nasal distortion produced by photos taken at close range.

The mathematical model determined the distortive effects of capturing photos at varying proximities by presenting the face as a collection of parallel planes that are perpendicular to the axis of the main camera.

The model calculated changes to the ratio between the nose's breadth and the width between the two cheekbones at different camera distances.

The results showed that taking selfies at a distance of about 12 inches from the face can increase the perceived size of the nose. Photos taken at this distance increased the perceived nose size by 30 percent in men and 29 percent in women.

"Despite the ease with which selfies are taken, the short distance from the camera causes a distortion of the face owing to projection, most notably an increase in nasal dimensions," the researchers said.

Paskhover and colleagues also found that photos taken at a distance of 5 feet from the subject did not significantly distort the nasal dimensions.

"At 5 feet, the distance between your nose and the camera and the distance between your facial plane and the camera is almost the same," Paskhover said. "Because the difference is very small, the nose doesn't get skewed."

The findings were published in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery on March 1.

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