The word “selfie” first came into common usage in 2005, and was named the Oxford Dictionary’s “Word of the Year” in 2013. Simply put, a selfie is a picture you take of yourself, by yourself.
The practice has its detractors, who think that it’s vain to fill your social media feeds with portraits of yourself. Despite the naysayers, the selfie isn’t going away anytime soon.
The technology that really drives the selfie trend is the smartphone. As more and more people carry them, most eschewing the portable digital camera in favor of the convenience of a single purpose device, more people than ever before have cameras in their pocket. Phone manufacturers have taken heed of the trend, and have started to incorporate features into their phone that make for better selfies. Notable among them are the front-facing camera, which first became a thing with the 4th generation iPhone, and is now standard on almost all smartphones.
Social media also caters to the selfie – Facebook and Twitter are full of them, Instagram includes built-in filters for picture editing, and Snapchat allows users to specify the shelf life of their photos. Almost all smartphones are capable of running photo-editing software to “tweak” photos before they are shared.
If you are a solo traveler, or simply find yourself alone in an awesome place, here are some tips for taking better selfies:
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Use the Rear-facing Camera if Possible
Almost every smartphone allows you to take a photo with the screen facing you. The problem is that the front camera has a lower resolution, and more importantly a smaller lens. Also, if your camera has flash capabilities, they’ll only work with the rear camera. The rear-facing lens will provide better photos, but you can’t see to compose the picture. Take a whole bunch of practice pics at home, to learn how to shoot blindly, and you’ll get better results on the road.
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Put as Much of the Background as You Can in the Picture
Resist the urge to get too close to the subject, and therefore only show part of it.