What Is a Selfie?

By Kacey Kroh, Abshier House, Abshier House

The selfie is defined as a self-portrait taken with your cellphone. Although the concept of self-portraiture is not a new one, the term selfie has been added to the English dictionary as the official lingo to use when performing this action.

In fact, people have been painting themselves since before written language emerged. Not until digital photography went mainstream, however, has it been so easy to take multiple photos of yourself before deciding which one you favor and want to share with others.

What are selfies for?

The whole purpose behind taking a selfie is to show your mood or expression while you are doing or asked to do something. Here are five random examples of why and when you might want to take a selfie:

  • While you are working in your woodshop with your daughter, your wife sends you a text message and asks you to pick up some feminine hygiene products at the store.

    You would reply with a selfie similar to this one:

    [Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/svetikd]

    Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/svetikd
  • You just finished a scenic hike up a mountain and want to post your accomplishment to your Facebook wall.

    Here is the type of selfie you would post:

    [Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Nomadsoul1]

    Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Nomadsoul1
  • You’re having fun and being goofy with a group of friends and want to send it via Snapchat to even more friends.

    Perhaps this would be the style of selfie you decide to snap:

    [Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Aldo Murillo]

    Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Aldo Murillo
  • While you are visiting a famous landmark, you want to capture a memory and store it on your computer’s hard drive using the cloud.

    You would upload a selfie similar to this:

    [Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Paolo Cipriani]

    Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Paolo Cipriani
  • Or maybe you are just feeling glamorous with the gals.

    Here is an example of this type of selfie:

    [Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/gpointstudio]

    Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/gpointstudio

Really, the possibilities are endless — some even humorous.

When posting photos of yourself online, never post anything sexual or incriminating. After the digital imprint of the photo is on the web, there is no undoing it. Yes, you can delete the original, but there is a chance that someone, somewhere, has saved a copy. Share your selfies responsibly!

Why are selfies so popular?

Selfies are popular simply because camera-equipped cellphones have become so readily available to the masses at affordable prices, not to mention the world’s obsession with social media sharing. Because selfies have become popular in recent times, some cellphone accessories as well as a number of apps have been developed for smartphones and tablets that are based on the selfie concept.

Two such selfie accessories, the selfie stick and Bluetooth shutter, allow you to take selfies more easily. What the selfie stick essentially does is steadies the phone farther away from you so you can take a photo of your whole body and also allows more space in the photo for a group of friends or family to join you.

The purpose of the Bluetooth shutter is to be able to take the photo while the phone is out of reach. This allows you to take pictures without having to set the shutter-timer. Thus, it gives you more time to take the perfect selfie.

Keep in mind, pairing the Bluetooth shutter may be different depending on the model you purchase – you must follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer to successfully pair the device to your phone, tablet, or Bluetooth-enabled camera.

If you choose to “doctor up” your photos, many selfie apps can make you look more attractive — while others can make you fat, old, or even look like a zombie. The selection of apps that provide these types of services are endless, some free and some paid. A few of the more popular app examples are listed here:

  • Baldify — Shows different stages of hair loss.

  • FaceTune — Adjusts skin tone, hair and skin color, texture, and background/foreground focus.

  • Fatify — Distorts extra pounds to your cheeks and chin.

  • Fotor — Adds borders, effects, filters, frames, and text. (Available on all platforms including Android, iOS, Linux, Mac, and PC as well as online.)

  • Oldify — Will give you wrinkles, grey hair, eye bags, and age spots.

  • Photoshop Express — Adjusts lighting, removes redeye, applies filters, and crops photo size.

  • Zombify — Turns you into a brain-eating zombie… AGHH!

Simply perform a search in your device’s app store for the style of selfie you want to take and have fun.