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The science behind taking the perfect selfie (if you must)

Taking a good selfie matters to many, and there is science behind conveying the best you. If you must.


Selfies are everywhere, friends

You may not understand why selfies are all the rage, but the fact remains that selfies stand out on your social media sites. If you’re going to use them to promote your brand, you should be taking good selfies that look great.

Andrej Karpathy, a PhD student at Stanford, collected two million selfies and used computer technology to determine if they were good or bad. He trained a program to identify which selfies were most popular. What can we learn from the findings?

How to take the best selfie

The top ranked selfies tended be those that were female. Borders were also a component in those selfies, with either a horizontal or vertical white border.

In addition, here are some dos:

  • Make sure your face fills about one-third of the image.
  • Tilt your face and position it at the top center of the frame.
  • Don’t be afraid to cut off your forehead.
  • Use oversaturated lighting, which makes your face look better in a selfie.
  • Filter your selfie, like using black and white or sepia filters. This decreases the contrast of the image.
  • Use the tools on your phone to enhance your photo.

The top selfies for men are broader shots with a full head and shoulders visible in the picture.

What not to do when taking a selfie

When taking selfies, don’t:

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  • Put lots of people in the shot. Group selfies do not work as well.
  • Think you need to show a lot of skin.
  • Take pictures in low lighting.
  • Get too close to your face.

To test your image against Karpathy’s research, attach the image to a tweet, and mention the bot @deepselfie in the tweet. The bot examines your image and sends you back a score. Use a square image for best results.

And now you know how to take a good selfie. If you must.


Dawn Brotherton is a Sr. Staff Writer at The American Genius with an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Oklahoma. She is an experienced business writer with over 10 years of experience in SEO and content creation. Since 2017, she has earned $60K+ in grant writing for a local community center, which assists disadvantaged adults in the area.

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  1. Pingback: Exploring the evolution of "like" (confession time: I like, like "like") - The American Genius

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