iPhone Camera 30% Selfie Distortion: Everything you need to know

iPhone Camera 30% Selfie Distortion: Everything you need to know

Ever wonder why your nose looks weird in your selfie? Don’t wallow in self-pity yet and sing Beautiful by Christina Aguilera. You might have encountered the iPhone camera 30% selfie distortion. Read on to know more about it! 

girl takes a selfie on iPhone 11, wearing a fur coat in Fall season - 30% selfie distortion

iPhone Camera 30% selfie distortion

Did you know that some people have been affected by this distortion that they got nose jobs? This is not a joke—selfie distortion is real and it may have been messing with your self-image. But it’s not really you; it’s the iPhone camera 30% selfie distortion. Here’s everything you need to know about it: 

Why do iPhone selfies look distorted?

If you’re using an iPhone 6S or an older iPhone model, you might notice that your selfies in the native camera app look a bit off. However, when you’re using Snapchat, your selfies look comparatively okay. 

Do iPhone cameras purposely distort your selfies? In many ways, it does. 


First, the iPhone camera 30% selfie distortion is caused by the front camera reverse-mirroring your image. What does reverse-mirroring mean? It means that the image you see in the mirror, the iPhone front-facing camera shows and captures the opposite of that. 

Why does the resulting image look awkward, though? Apparently, we are so used to looking at ourselves in the mirror that we think it’s what everyone sees. Sadly, it isn’t. This is what the front iPhone cameras capture—how other people see our faces.  

Asymmetrical faces

Our brains love symmetry, which has been proven countless times by different studies. The one that makes the most sense in this context, however, is that we prefer symmetry because we need balance. Symmetrical objects are more beneficial to our sense of balance because they are easier to perceive. As a result, we have better coordination of movement. 

So, that is why iPhone camera selfies look awkward—not everyone is blessed with symmetrical faces. Our faces are typically asymmetrical, so looking at it from an opposite angle will naturally feel even more off. The lines and angles we were used to seeing are now shown in a different way. 

Wide-angle lens

Another reason why your selfies look distorted is that you might be using the wide-angle camera and a 4:3 ratio. Using the wide-angle camera for a selfie means you will capture the entire image your sensor sees. As a result, a wider field of view will be crammed into one photo and the edges will look distorted. 

This won’t look good in a selfie, of course. This is especially true if you don’t use a selfie stick and just your arms to hold up the camera. We’ll explain why in the next item. 

Short distance

Lastly, the iPhone camera 30% selfie distortion is caused by the short distance between your face and the camera. Holding up your iPhone camera in less than 12 inches will result in a photo that emulates the funhouse mirror effect. 

Apparently, taking a selfie from this distance will increase the size of your nose of up to 30% if you’re a guy and 29% if you’re a woman. So, your face will look distorted. The ideal distance is 1.5 meters or 5 feet, according to the journal, JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery.

Now, has the iPhone camera 30% selfie distortion improved in the later models? 

What models have the iPhone camera 30% selfie distortion?

Even in the latest iPhone models’ cameras, distortion is still present. Particularly, some users have reported that the iPhone 11 front-facing camera distorts a little on the left. Others have shared that the iPhone 11 Pro’s Ultra-Wide angle camera also has a distortion. This is not rare for long-time users, as a wide-angle camera will always have a little distortion. 

Now, if you’re taking selfies a lot, the key here is to avoid habits that lead to camera distortion. Continue reading for more tips. 

How to avoid the iPhone camera 30% selfie distortion

girl takes a selfie with a peace sign on her iPhone 11 - 30% selfie distortion

Just because the iPhone camera 30% selfie distortion is universal doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it. We suggest you do these steps to avoid distortion in your photos: 

Don’t use the wide-angle or ultra-wide cameras

The simplest solution is to avoid using the wide-angle and ultra wide-angle cameras. As we’ve mentioned, your wide-angle camera’s sensor crams in everything it sees into one photo. This causes distortion in the final photo, which won’t look appealing in a selfie. Besides, wide-angle camera lenses are originally designed for capturing landscape scenes and not portraits. 

On the other hand, we understand that there are situations where you want to take a selfie with the beautiful garden or classic architecture as your background. This is why we recommend you follow the next step. 

Use a selfie-stick or tripod when taking selfies. 

So, you still want to take a selfie with a gorgeous background but don’t want the iPhone Camera 30% selfie distortion? Use a selfie stick for your iPhone when you’re taking a photo using your front-facing cam. This will make sure there’s a considerable distance of more than 12 inches between you and your front cam. Anything less than that will result in a funhouse effect, take note. 

You can also use a tripod and just set your camera on a timer. For choosing a selfie stick or a tripod, we can recommend getting a selfie stick and a tripod in one for obvious practicality reasons. We can suggest getting the Fugetek selfie stick and tripod. If you like taking selfies in areas with a lot of trees, we recommend a flexible tripod like the Xenvo SquidGrip. You can wrap it around a tree branch and take selfies from interesting angles.  

Related: How to take hands-free selfies on iPhone camera

Know the right positions

Sometimes, all it takes is moving your face a few inches to the left. Take it from health and beauty vloggers. They know what’s up! A selfie hack they would recommend is holding your iPhone camera farther than usual. But to keep the focus on your face, all you have to do is zoom in. 

Don’t worry about losing quality by using the optical zoom (2x). Zoom in further and you will use your iPhone’s digital zoom, which might result in a pixelated selfie. 

Related: Which Image Format for iPhone Camera is the Best?

Install apps for correcting 30% selfie distortion

A distorted photo can be easy to fix using any camera app today. For example, on Instagram, you can fix a photo’s perspective using the Adjust button. However, we have our favorites when it comes to fixing distortions in photos, especially selfies. Check these out these iOS apps whenever you feel like your 24 selfies are all looking a bit off. 


We recommend using Snapchat not to fix your distorted photos but to avoid the distortion from your iPhone front camera. Snapchat is one of the most beloved camera apps of iOS users. We’re emphasizing camera apps because, apparently, they look better on it compared to the native front camera app of iPhone. Snapchat has tons of fun effects and filters you can also work with. 

Photoshop Express 

Distortion is a lens issue, so it’s nothing that Photoshop Express can’t fix. This app has a special feature called Lens Correction, which is available only on iOS devices in the UK, Singapore, Canada, South Africa, and Australia. It helps you adjust distortion and perspective. If you live in those regions, we suggest you give it a spin whenever you take a bad selfie. 

Adobe Lightroom Mobile

Lightroom Mobile is another reliable tool to correct lens issues such as distortion. On Lightroom, you can manually and automatically do this. Use the Optics and Geometry button to correct distorted angles in your selfie. Here’s a good tutorial by Julieanne Kost on how to edit the distortion of your photos using Lightroom Mobile. 


We also like using Snapseed to fix distorted proportions on photos. Snapseed has a wide range of editing tools you want to experiment with. Two good examples are the Face Pose and the Face Enhance. The former will improve your pose in portraits with the help of AI, while the latter will improve your skin’s appearance in the photos. 

Related: 20 Best Photo Editing Apps For iPhone, iPad, and Android

More tips for taking selfies on iPhone

woman in pink sweater takes a selfie on iPhone 11

Besides avoiding the iPhone Camera 30% Selfie Distortion, what should you do to take bomb selfies? Here are some tried-and-tested tips you might want to consider: 

Go higher. 

Photos taken from lower angles may imply the higher status of the subject in the photo, but this angle is not flattering for everyone. Unless you have a naturally sharp or chiseled jawline, go for higher angles when you are taking selfies. This will avoid a double-chin appearance and will make your jawline look sharper. So, use your handy selfie stick or extend your arms to take a high-angle selfie. 

Natural light. Always. 

One of the most notorious culprits of a bad selfie is bad lighting. When you have this on your selfie, your face will have those harsh shadows, which make your expression look grim. How can you avoid this? Make sure to take selfies in soft, natural light. Particularly, take selfies during the golden hours. 

The golden hours are periods of time in the day when the sun has that soft, warm brightness—the result is like a golden filter on your photos. So, if you want a selfie that has no harsh shadows, take it 30 minutes before the sun rises or 30 minutes before the sun sets.  

Invest in a secondary source of lighting. 

If you have a well-ventilated room, you’re lucky. You don’t need to invest in a secondary light source since you have an abundance of natural light coming in. However, if you have tiny windows, you will have no choice but to invest in secondary light sources. This is one of the keys to taking a great selfie on your iPhone. 

We would suggest buying artificial light sources such as a selfie ring light with a stand. This will secure your iPhone and let you take selfies where you can make sure there are more than 12 inches between you and the front camera. If you have a selfie stick, you can invest in a clip-on selfie ring light to make sure you’re well-exposed. Meanwhile, if you’re feeling creative, get colorful LED strip lights and wash your selfies with a different flavor. 

Related: 12 best selfie lights for iPhone – 2019 review

Get creative. 

We know what you’re thinking—do different poses or take selfies from different angles. Nope, we’re not suggesting either of those. Instead of taking a selfie, why not secure your iPhone on a tripod and record a video using your rear camera? Dance around. Laugh. Sing. Do silly things where you don’t force out a smile or worry about the distortion until your hair falls out. 

After recording the video, save it. Watch the whole thing. Look for moments where your smile is genuine that it shows in your eyes. Pause it. Take a screenshot of it. Crop the photo out. And there you have it. It’s an all-natural, out-of-the-ordinary selfie you can post on your feeds for variety. Take it up a notch by capturing different moments in your video and combining the photos in a grid!

Related: The Best iPhone Camera Settings for Selfies (And Why)


While being presentable matters today, never let the pressure of looking good affect your self-image. The iPhone may have a 30% selfie distortion, but don’t let it distort your self-esteem, too. Just remember that the iPhone camera is just a machine, which may or may not have been designed to flatter your looks. Don’t forget what’s real—you. 

Related questions 

Why is my iPhone front camera bad quality?

Front cameras will always be inferior in quality compared to the rear cameras. But besides that well-known fact, there are many possible reasons for this. It might be that you don’t have enough lighting, your front camera is busted, or your lens cover is smudged or dirty.

Why does my skin look worse on my iPhone camera?

If you have an older iPhone model, the front camera will have low-quality due to wear and tear or outdated features. So, naturally, your skin will not look appealing on the camera. Plus add that to the fact that the iPhone camera has sharpness effects that make your acne blemishes look more pronounced.