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How to Take the ‘Perfect’ Selfie, According to Science

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Is it best to smile? Pout? Wink? Thanks to researchers we’re about to get a scientific masterclass in taking the prettiest selfie possible every time!

How to Take the ‘Perfect’ Selfie

Whether you get snap happy in your bedroom at home, on holiday or out and about with your friends, we’re all guilty of the odd selfie, right?

But the art of turning the camera on yourself can sometimes be a tricky one, so we were pretty pleased when Andrej Karpathy, a Stanford computer science graduate student decided to explore the selfie phenomenon.

A computer science graduate student at Stanford University found the secret to the perfect selfie. He“trained a Convolutional Neural Network, a type of data mining network capable of processing 140 million different specifications, to judge whether a selfie was successful or not.”

How to Take the ‘Perfect’ Selfie

To save you the nitty gritty bits of how he went about gathering this data (which you can read about on his blog), here’s a breakdown.

The experiment started by running a script to collect web images tagged with #selfie. Karpathy then narrowed that initial 5-million-image sample into 2 million photographs that contained at least one face. To determine which ones were deemed good versus bad, Karpathy ranked the number of positive responses—i.e., likes—based on their audience size—i.e. number of followers. Working with a sample of 100 images, he labeled 50 as positive selfies (the ones that proportionally got the most likes) and 50 as negative selfies (the ones that received the lowest number of likes proportionally).

“I gave a small bonus for each additional tag on the image, assuming that extra tags bring more eyes. Then I marched down this sorted list in groups of 100, and sorted those 100 selfies based on their number of likes. I only used selfies that were online for more than a month to ensure a near-stable like count,” he said on his blog.

This is what he found, and it can help you create the perfect selfie:

1. Be a woman. 

He found no men in the top 100 photos.

How to Take the ‘Perfect’ Selfie

2. Use the rule of thirds.

“The face always occupies about one-third of the image, is slightly tilted, and is positioned in the center and at the top,” he noticed.

3. Have long hair.

How to Take the ‘Perfect’ Selfie

4. Use filters.

How to Take the ‘Perfect’ Selfie

5. Add a border.

May see that Kim Kardashian has finished special selfies courses taught by  Karpathy as her selfies are always perfect.

Take a lesson from Kim Kardashian, for example:

How to Take the ‘Perfect’ Selfie Kim How to Take the ‘Perfect’ Selfie Kim How to Take the ‘Perfect’ Selfie Kim

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