You won’t believe this bride’s mind-bending iPhone photo


Tessa Coates wedding dress photo
Look at Coates' arms in the three places she appears in this otherwise-normal iPhone photo. Mind. Blown.
Photo: Tessa Coates

A bride in England recently snapped an iPhone photo of herself trying on a wedding dress in front of mirrors. She was shocked to find her reflection looked different in each one.

That may sound like a disturbance you’d see in dark sci-fi series Black Mirror, but it’s actually a rare but understandable result of a computational-photography error.

Computational photography error results in photo’s 3 different brides

UK actor and comedian Tessa Coates noticed her iPhone photo makes it look like three different versions of herself posed for it, PetaPixel reported.

Looking at the photo above, it may take a second or two to notice the weirdness. Pay attention to her arms. Though it was one regular iPhone photo snapped once, she’s holding her arms differently in each place she appears in the shot — standing in front of two large mirrors and reflected in each of them.

“The fabric of reality crumbled,” she said on Instagram. “Please enjoy this glitch in the matrix/photo that [made] me nearly vomit in the street.” Yikes.

Apple Store tech explains ‘1 in a million’ shot

Tessa Coates Instagram wedding dress photo
Coates was quick to tell the world about the bizarre photo, making a “Matrix” joke.
Photo: Tessa Coates@Instagram

Thoroughly freaked out, she went to an Apple Store for an explanation. And she got one.

A tech explained to her how this “one in a million” photo could result from a computational photography goof stemming from choices made by artificial intelligence.

After all, iPhone is really a computer, not just a camera. With each shot, it makes many little decisions very rapidly, selecting the best elements for each shot and making tiny corrections.

“It takes a series of burst images very quickly even though it’s not a panoramic or a burst,” Coates said.

Because she was in motion at the time of the shot, the iPhone snapped a series of images from left to right. Not accounting for the mirror — and what we expect from a mirror, namely a perfect reflection — AI chose different ideal images of Coates to show, resulting in the differences in the photograph. (Or it’s proof of The Matrix. You decide.)


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.