What Is the Difference in a Convex & a Concave Mirror?

A mirror that is flat completely reflects light; however, if a mirror is curved, the light will reflect in a certain direction, depending on whether it is concave (curved in) or convex (curved out).


Both convex and concave mirrors are essentially bent mirrors similar to the curve of a ball.

Structural Differences

Concave mirrors are bent inward as if you are looking at the inside of a ball. Convex mirrors are bent outward as if you are looking at the outside of a ball.

Light Reflection

Convex mirrors reflect light outward and concave mirrors reflect light inward.

Practical Uses

Both types of these mirrors are employed in a variety of practical ways such as security mirrors, passenger-side car mirrors and within telescopes and cameras.


Convex mirrors make images appear smaller, while concave mirrors make images appear larger.

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About the Author

Based in Vancouver, Janet Veverka is a freelance writer and artist for Pink Olive Designs. She also blogs under the tag IMAGINATIONmama for Veverka received her Bachelor of Arts degree in arts management from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1999 before working in Europe for 5 years and then returning to North America.