Making your selfies the talk of Instagram

Making your selfies the talk of Instagram

Making your selfies the talk of Instagram
Miley Cyrus has done many things recently, but I think my favourite among them is elevating the “selfie” photo to something like a modern art form.

I love selfies. Be honest: I bet you, too, have held your smartphone at arm’s length, grinned awkwardly and snapped a self-portrait or two for Instagram, à la Miley.

Odds are that you’ve relied on your phone’s standard apps to snap these pictures. 

That’s a shame, because there are many other apps that can take selfies to the next level.

Frontback is my favourite selfie app because it’s unique. 

It takes two shots, one from the phone’s main camera and one from the camera that faces the user. 

Then it combines them into a single image. The result is a self-portrait in context, with a sense of the scene around you.

The app’s interface is simple, and there are only a few extra options. 

For example, before you snap your two images - one at a time - the screen shows you a preview and you can choose a self-timed option or use the flash. 

That’s all: No filters, no frames, no fuss.
Once you’ve taken the two images, you can save the final product to use in another app, like Twitter. 

Or you can share it through Frontback’s own social system. Using this option does mean you’re joining yet another social network, but it’s not required to use the app.
The free Frontback app won lots of praise when it was solely on iOS, and now it’s newly available on Android.

Selfie Cam, free on iOS, is more traditional. It offers a number of image options through an easy-to-use dial interface. 

You can dial up a square or rectangular photo, turn on the flash or choose an on-screen grid to help line up the shot, among other features.

When you’ve set up your selfie to your satisfaction, you either press the shutter button in the middle of the dial, select a timed shot or choose the so-called smile detection option. 

With that feature, the app won’t take a photo unless you smile; it’s great, and can help you create a nice image. But this feature took a little fiddling to get right.

CamMe is a similar app on iOS that helps create selfies without your outstretched phone-holding arm appearing in the photo. 

CamMe detects when you hold your hand up to start the photographing process, and waits for you to make a fist before it starts a countdown. 

So prop your phone up somewhere, step back and follow the on-screen prompts to take a selfie that looks a little more natural than others.

CamMe has an easy-to-use interface, and it is fairly good at detecting your gestures. It has some neat options, like funny photo frames to surround the images, but they cost about a dollar. 

The app itself is free, though, so it is definitely worth trying.

Facetune may be just a bit controversial for the same reasons Photoshopped photos of models in magazines are. 

The app lets you make small but important adjustments to pictures to improve how you look.

The interface is slick and easy to use. Each of the different effects has on-screen advice, and it’s easy to apply and undo effects. 

You can smooth out wrinkles, patch spots, whiten your teeth, narrow your cheeks and make many other small alterations, most of which are impressive.

The trick, I’d say, is not to get too vain and overrefine your photo so it looks weirdly artificial.

I prefer the warts-and-all natural look, but of course your mileage may vary. Facetune costs $3 (Rs 182) on iOS.

There’s no Android edition of Facetune yet, but for a great alternative, check out Perfect365. 

This app automatically detects your eyes, nose and mouth and uses the information to apply effects like adding color to your cheeks, tweaking your eyelashes or even applying fake lipstick.

Its interface isn’t quite as easy to use as Facetune, and I often had to adjust the app’s automatically identified data points to, for example, properly line up with the edges of my mouth. It’s fun to play with, though, and it’s free. 

There’s also an iOS version.

For a simple but effective app that’s all about special filters, look no further than Retrica. 
This $2 (Rs 121) iOS and Android app has a clean, minimalist interface and takes pictures as nicely as many rivals do. 

But it stands out because of its image effects.

There are 80-plus filters to choose from, as well as effects like blurring the background, adding borders and more. 

It’s fun to use, if sometimes a little confusing, and there’s a free edition that has embedded ads and more limited features, including a reduced number of filters.

Good luck using these apps: Stick your tongue out, and be proud of your selfies!

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