In the age of the selfie, it’s hard not to think about your appearance and how you come across in a photograph. But have you thought about which side of your face looks the best? Those with distinguishing marks on one side of their face and not the other could end up favouring one side more. Maybe one side of your face is just more expressive and catches the light better?
Here we look at some of the science behind the question of ‘which side is better?’ along with some fun activities to do with portrait photography.
Left is best?
A scientific study that was conducted – published in the journal Experimental Brain Research – found that humans prefer the left side of their face, finding it more pleasant to look at. The study was conducted with 37 male and female college students who “overwhelmingly favoured” the left side, with many participants experiencing larger pupil size (which signifies looking at a positive image) when viewing photographs of the left hand side of a face.
Take some time to look at your face in a mirror. Could you pick a side that you favour the most?
Test it out
A great way to test out the theory of one side being better than the other is by taking some photographs. Firstly, you can start with yourself to see if you are naturally more photogenic on the left or the right side. Next, get your friends and family involved to see which side you think looks better on them, or whether, on some faces, there’s no difference at all!
Just like with the different sides of your body, you may find that one side of the face is more expressive than the other – meaning that it is more flexible in its movement when conveying an emotion.
Your opinion on your own face and how your friends faces appear in a photograph is only half the task. Now it’s time to see which side your friends and family favour in terms of your own face and of their own. Do they have a go-to photo pose that shows off their ‘best side’?
This could be a great photography project at your local camera club, seeing how a person’s personality comes across when photographed on each side. It might be obvious as to which side your subjects prefer when getting papped or maybe they are equally happy with both sides – it’s up to you to unearth the truth!