Why does Portable Photo Booth take mirror images?

If you are talking about the Portable Photo Booth app that comes standard in Mac OS X and iOS, it can only be explained as a choice the development team made - whether knowingly or unknowingly. There is no technical hurdle that stood in the way of them flipping the image before it is saved. Look no further than Apple's built-in iOS Camera app: photos taken with the front facing camera DO flip the image after it is taken.

A little background, though, that might be helpful: the reason that the preview screen shows a mirror image is because people are so used to positioning in front of mirrors that it makes sense to reinforce the same paradigm. If you don't use a mirror image for the preview, subjects get very confused: they move their right arm, their digital image moves its opposite arm. They move right to center themselves in the photo, their digital self moves left. Big movements are easier to do, tiny movements (move your chin up and to the right) are confusing.

So, I think Apple made the right decision to mirror the image for the preview, but I wish they would have flipped the saved image. The biggest victim of their chosen approach is text which shows up backwards in the saved photos.

As to "why", only the team that created it can answer that for sure, and they might have had a good reason. But if I were to venture a guess, I think the Photo Booth app was meant as a proof-of-concept for the newly-introduced iSight camera to the iMac line of computers, and as such, didn't receive the level of scrutiny and love of a typical Mac application.

But who knows, the notoriously sweat-the-details Steve Jobs didn't seem to have a problem with it:

If you are talking about the Portable Photo Booth app that comes standard in Mac OS X and iOS, it can only be explained as a choice the development team made - whether knowingly or unknowingly. There is no technical hurdle that stood in the way of them flipping the image before it is saved. Look no further than Apple's built-in iOS Camera app: photos taken with the front facing camera DO flip the image after it is taken.

A little background, though, that might be helpful: the reason that the preview screen shows a mirror image is because people are so used to positioning in front of mirrors that it makes sense to reinforce the same paradigm. If you don't use a mirror image for the preview, subjects get very confused: they move their right arm, their digital image moves its opposite arm. They move right to center themselves in the photo, their digital self moves left. Big movements are easier to do, tiny movements (move your chin up and to the right) are confusing.

So, I think Apple made the right decision to mirror the image for the preview, but I wish they would have flipped the saved image. The biggest victim of their chosen approach is text which shows up backwards in the saved photos.

As to "why", only the team that created it can answer that for sure, and they might have had a good reason. But if I were to venture a guess, I think the Photo Booth app was meant as a proof-of-concept for the newly-introduced iSight camera to the iMac line of computers, and as such, didn't receive the level of scrutiny and love of a typical Mac application.

But who knows, the notoriously sweat-the-details Steve Jobs didn't seem to have a problem with it:

If you are talking about the Photo Booth app that comes standard in Mac OS X and iOS, it can only be explained as a choice the development team made - whether knowingly or unknowingly. There is no technical hurdle that stood in the way of them flipping the image before it is saved. Look no further than Apple's built-in iOS Camera app: photos taken with the front facing camera DO flip the image after it is taken.

A little background, though, that might be helpful: the reason that the preview screen shows a mirror image is because people are so used to positioning in front of mirrors that it makes sense to reinforce the same paradigm. If you don't use a mirror image for the preview, subjects get very confused: they move their right arm, their digital image moves its opposite arm. They move right to center themselves in the photo, their digital self moves left. Big movements are easier to do, tiny movements (move your chin up and to the right) are confusing.

So, I think Apple made the right decision to mirror the image for the preview, but I wish they would have flipped the saved image. The biggest victim of their chosen approach is text which shows up backwards in the saved photos.

As to "why", only the team that created it can answer that for sure, and they might have had a good reason. But if I were to venture a guess, I think the Photo Booth app was meant as a proof-of-concept for the newly-introduced iSight camera to the iMac line of computers, and as such, didn't receive the level of scrutiny and love of a typical Mac application.

But who knows, the notoriously sweat-the-details Steve Jobs didn't seem to have a problem with it: