My Filtered Face ~ How snapchat is harming our self-image

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Self-image, Self-love, and snapchat

A boudoir Photographer’s perspective of image manipulation in 2019

When is the last time you posted an unfiltered image of yourself?

At first it was fun and cute and just a novelty. Soon however, I found myself not liking the pictures I would take with the regular camera on my cell phone. They just weren’t as flattering, in my mind, as the one’s from the snapchat camera. Even without a filter, that camera just seemed to have a better angle than the regular one. Little did I know, there was a very distinct reason for that. Snapchat is a mirror image camera. Ever wonder why your selfie seems “weird” at times?   Don’t blame your face. Blame your brain instead. Selfies sometimes look strange to their subjects because of how we see ourselves in the mirror, how we perceive our own attractiveness, and the technical details of how we take them on camera phones.

Whether or not a selfie is reversed after being shot is a major factor. If you’ve used multiple mobile apps to take pictures of yourself, you’ve probably noticed that some, like Snapchat, record your likeness as it would appear in a mirror; others, like group-messaging app GroupMe, flip the image horizontally and save your selfie the way others would see you—and this version can be jarring to look at.” (1)


Ever wonder why that gorgeous woman hates pictures of herself? That’s why. We all look at ourselves in the mirror every day and that is the image we have created of ourselves in our brains. But, that is not the face the rest of the world sees! So it doesnt look right to us, and that tricks our brain into thinking we look less attractive even though to the world, that is our normal face.  

Here is my face for example, regular camera and snapchat camera side-by-side. See the difference? The snapchat camera is how I see my face, in the mirror and is what I think I look like. The regular camera is my face to the world. All I see is how crooked my nose is! To the degree that I even momentarily entertained the thought “I wonder how much that would cost to fix?” There is nothing wrong with my nose!  Snapchat, and all these pretty filter, mirror image, enhancement cameras are leading us to degrade our own image!


There are all kinds of filters for photos, but can altering images to show a better version of yourself have a negative impact? ...Gary Rotfus has been a clinical social worker for over two decades. He says lowered self esteem, depression, and eating disorders are all results of something he calls Snapchat dysmorphia.

"It's not encouraging them to deal with what their own defects are. It's not encouraging them to accept themselves as they are," Rotfus said.” (2)

“There are two very concrete problems with digitally manipulated images. First, seeing women who seem to be effortlessly perfect creates the impression that everyone but you just naturally looks that way. It's much more difficult to make your brain realize they've been edited. The same happens in live action on Snapchat, when your brain starts accepting that image as the norm.

Manipulating aside, it's tough to realize Snapchat's beauty filters immediately take pounds off your face, selling the all-too-popular idea that there's only one way to be attractive. The same social media that used to provide a way to send an unfiltered selfie to friends has now become a beauty pageant.

Why can't I send a picture that's just a picture? Why does everything have to be a competition for who can pretend to be the most effortlessly beautiful?” (3)


It’s gotten to the point that all the selfies I see in my feeds are filtered. Yes boo, you look gorgeous but that isnt really your face. Sitting on my couch, no makeup, in my pj’s its easy to slap a snapchat filter on and look like a glowing supermodel but I dont get to leave the house looking  like that. I wonder if a time will come when we have all grown so accustomed to seeing the filtered versions of one another that we no longer recognize each other in public?


“Social media can exacerbate our perceived flaws, especially when we see seemingly perfect pictures of our friends and celebrities all over our social media feeds.” (4) And can actually create more profound psychological issues like Body Dsymorphic Disorder.

"It’s like the perfection app." And over time, it’s easy to forget that you don't actually look that "perfect." A couple weeks ago, I took part in my first real photoshoot—an hour or so of awkward posing that the photographer coached me through. Afterward, I changed and we went through the portraits together. I was genuinely mortified. What I saw wasn’t at all what I'd expected. I hated them all: every single picture. I cried on my way home and wondered why nobody in my family, or any of my friends had ever told me I was ugly.”   (5) Fortunately, this is not the norm for most of us yet, but is an important thing to think about and monitor.

You might be wondering why you are finding this article on a boudoir website. A boudoir photoshoot is the perfect opportunity to take back your positive self-image. We are neither the perfected snapchat image nor the quick snap taken by a friend from a bad angle with terrible lighting. Working with a professional you can create images that will show you the way the world truly sees you, beautiful, glowing, vibrant. The best part is that this is the REAL you, not some filtered, falsely perfected version that doesn’t actually exist. So give yourself a chance to fall in love with who you really are.

I’d like to give a huge thanks to the gorgeous women from my Ladies Empowerment Group that contributed images for this article.

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