selfies

Make your selfies pop using this TikTok-proven formula

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Editing a selfie using TikTok’s recommended filters
There’s a lot of filters to brighten your pictures, but sorry, there’s not a filter that makes you look like you’re in your 20s.
Image: Levi Clancy/Wikimedia Commons/D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Viral clips on TikTok show you how to edit your selfies for a more stunning, popping image on your iPhone. I live in a part of Ohio that’s perpetually overcast, but you would think I’m on my way to the beach with the warm hues this method gives your pictures.

Read on for detailed instructions on how to use TikTok’s winning selfie formula, apply the same filters in bulk on all the pictures from a photo shoot, and my recommended selfie stick for taking great group shots and landscapes.

How to take stunning selfies with the Apple Watch Camera Remote app

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The Camera Remote app with raise your selfie game
The Camera Remote app will take your selfies to a whole new level.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Everyone knows Apple Watch is an excellent health and fitness companion. But did you know it’s also handy for taking selfies? That’s thanks to Apple Watch’s best kept secret: the Camera Remote app.

This indispensable watch app will raise your selfie game, enabling you to take more flattering shots, with better compositions, more interesting poses and much, much more.

I use it all the time to take photos for Cult of Mac, and I’ve learned a few tricks along the way. So here’s my definitive guide to taking better selfies with Apple Watch.

Would you buy a drone just to take selfies? Now you can.

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The Pixy drone can be your flying camera.
The Pixy drone can be your flying camera.
Photo: Pixy

If you take selfie photos constantly, maybe you’re ready to move beyond smartphone camera timers and selfie sticks for your pics. Is it time to start dabbling in aerial photography?

Sure, why not. Especially if Snapchat’s second-ever piece of hardware finds an audience when it goes on sale.

Snapchat’s parent company, Snap, unveiled a drone called “Pixy” last week. It said the little flying camera is designed for taking selfies.

Apple dreams up tech for a social distance group selfie

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iPhone X Portrait selfies
Social distancing and group selfies don’t mix. But Apple might have a solution: the synthetic group selfie.
Photo: Apple

Even in the age of social distancing, the group selfie doesn’t have to be an endangered species. For several years, Apple has been investigating automatically merging multiple images into a group selfie.

And now that the company has a patent on the idea, it could be part of iOS 14 or a later version.

Apple acts fast to trademark ‘slofie’

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scene from video for slofie
It sounded fun when we heard it, but Apple is all business about the word "slofie."
Photo: Apple

Apple thought itself cheeky when it used the word “slofie” to introduce the slow-motion feature on the iPhone 11’s selfie camera.

Now that the chuckles have subsided, Apple wants to trademark the name.

Meet the new head of testing for selfie cameras

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mannequin for selfie camera tests
Sienna never blinks.
Photo: DxOMark/YouTube

The automotive industry has crash test dummies. The lab testing virtually every kind of digital camera made has Sienna, a lifelike mannequin created to measure the quality of a smartphone’s selfie camera.

DxOMark has been an independent tester of conventional digital and smartphone cameras since 2008. Sienna is the newest addition to the team because the French lab only started testing front-facing cameras this year.

How to send selfies with stickers

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Who wouldn’t want to receive this totally non-creepy stickered-up selfie?
Who wouldn’t want to receive this totally non-creepy stickered-up selfie?
Photo: Cult of Mac

You already know how to take a selfie. It’s probably the first thing you did when you got your iPhone up and running. But did you know you can take a selfie and add stickers? Right there in the Messages app?

Your friends are already hungry for another one of your awesome selfies. Imagine how fired up they’re going to be when they see those stickers.

iPhone XS Max gets so-so score in selfies test

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iPhone XS selfies
Tim Cook gets ready to unleash the iPhone XS during the Gather Round keynote in 2018.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s iPhone XS Max has one of the best cameras in a smartphone – as long as you’re not pointing it at yourself.

The flagship handset tied the Samsung Galaxy X9 Plus for fourth place in a new set of test protocols from DxOMark Labs, which has tested and ranked digital cameras for 10 years.

Beautygate: Top camera developer debunks iPhone XS beauty filter

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Beautygate
Some people get better looking with age and some get better looking with the iPhone XS.
Screenshot: Unboxing Therapy/YouTube

Turns out the entire “Beautygate” controversy has been much ado about nothing.

Corners of the internet have been up in arms over a perceived flaw in the iPhone XS camera that makes people in selfies look better than they should. Apple is supposedly looking to “fix” the undisclosed beauty filter, but developers behind one of the best iOS camera apps revealed today that such a filter does not exist.

iPhone XS selfie cam is so beautiful it spawned an ugly conspiracy theory

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iPhone XS beautygate
"Beautygate" – Does the front-facing camera of the iPhone XS smooth too many blemishes?
Photo: chemicalsam/Reddit

The iPhone XS and its front-facing camera are supposed to help its owners make better self-portraits. However, some think their iPhone selfies look better than they should.

Users are taking to internet forums like Reddit to question whether Apple added an undisclosed beauty filter to the front-facing camera on the iPhone XS and XS Max. Some are even posting side-by-side selfies taken with an XS and an older handset to make a case that the newest iPhone has more than deeper pixels and an improved portrait mode going for it.

‘Snapchat dysmorphia’ fuels insane selfie surgery requests

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Snapchat dysmorphia
Snapchat selfie filters are supposed to be fun and are not meant for users to pursue cosmetic surgery.
Photo: Pokemon/Snapchat

Some Snapchat users are requesting to go under the knife to get a face that resembles their filtered selfies, according to a cosmetic surgeon who calls the new phenomena “Snapchat dysmorphia.”

These patients are seeking bigger eyes and fuller lips that often come with some of the filters in social media apps, like Snapchat and Facetune, creating a fresh warping of already unrealistic standards of beauty.

Clips gets iPhone X-powered update with 360-degree selfies

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Clips
Clips 2.0 is available now.
Photo: Apple

Apple is coming out with a big update to its video-making app Clips today that will be sure to delight users if you’re lucky enough to have an iPhone X.

Clips 2.0 is launching with an all-new feature called “Selfie Scenes” that takes advantage of the iPhone X’s TrueDepth camera to create augmented-reality scenes and stages behind the user.

Upgrades for your email, mobile photography, and more [Week’s Best Deals]

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This week's best deals include a powerful email platform, a waterproof all-purpose camera, and lots more.
This week's best deals include a powerful email platform, a waterproof all-purpose camera, and lots more.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Every week here at the Cult of Mac Store, we’re busy finding great deals on tech tools, gadgets, and courses. This round, we’ve got an email app contender for Outlook and Gmail, and an all-purpose, waterproof HD camera. Also check out the comprehensive course in the Microsoft Office suite, and a video editor packed with 60 video assets. So there’s something here for everybody, read on for more details:

How the iPhone revolutionized photography

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iPhone photo shoot
Fashion photographer Georges Antoni uses the iPhone 7 Plus on Portrait mode to photograph Margaret Zhang for the June cover story of Elle Australia.
Photo: Bauer Media Australia/YouTube

iPhone turns 10When Apple launched the iPhone in 2007, no one imagined that in 10 short years it would become the world’s most popular camera and herald a new era of visual communication.

Yet we are witnessing the death of point-and-shoots, the explosion of massive social networks devoted to pics and videos, and the rise of perhaps the most popular photo style of all time — the selfie.

Just consider that we are expected to take 1 trillion pictures this year alone. That’s a million million photos.

Here’s a brief overview of some of the ways the iPhone was transformed photography forever.

How to use Instagram Face Filters, and post them to your public feed

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instagram-face-filters
The new Instagram Face Filters are pretty rad. Here's how to use them.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Instagram just added Face Filters, letting you add things like spectacles, bunny ears, and princess’ tiaras to your video selfies. Right now, you can only share these clips to your Instagram Stories, or send them directly to other users. But there’s a workaround that lets you post them like regular Instagram videos, putting them in your feed for all your followers to “enjoy.” Let’s find out how.

This tiny drone doubles as a thick iPhone case

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A drone you can take anywhere.
A drone you can take anywhere.
Photo: Selfly

Pocket-sized drones like the Mavic Pro seem poised to be the photography of the future, but one company is taking things to the next level by slapping a tiny drone inside an iPhone case.

It’s called the Selfly and while the little drone is not as powerful as its larger rivals, it packs a ton of incredible features that fit in your pocket and won’t hurt your wallet.

Flashing the peace sign is now a security risk

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fingerprints from selfies
Your fingerprints can now be snatched straight from your selfies.
Photo: Ryuta Ishimoto/Flickr CC

Next time someone poses for a selfie with their fingers held up in a peace sign, maybe tell them to leave it at a smile.

An ordinary photo of the universal sign of goodwill might be enough for a thief to copy a fingerprint, thanks to the high quality of digital photos these days. And since Touch ID and similar technologies turn fingerprints into keys that unlock our devices and the data we keep in them, that’s cause for concern.

Prank iPhone selfie prompts terrified mom to scream for ambulance

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SUNGLA_allergic_pr_2705445a
That's a pretty nasty reaction!
Photo: Twitter / @Clairey1x

Everyone likely remembers the first time they saw Apple’s Photo Booth app, and chuckled to their friends while contorting their features to resemble a chipmunk or big-eyed cartoon character.

An amusing new story reveals what can go wrong when sending such pictures, however: A mom in Edinburgh, Scotland, became convinced her daughter had suffered a terrifying allergic reaction after being shown one such image.

Tiny ring light does more than make your selfies shine

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The SELFLASH is essential for selfies plus a whole lot more.
The SELFLASH is essential for selfies plus a whole lot more.
Photo: SELFLASH

Tech accessories tend to solve a single problem really well. The SELFLASH, a small ring light you attach to your smartphone for selfies, is not just around to make you look pretty.

In offering a flattering wink of light in a variety of colors and intensities, the SELFLASH also provides up to 128 GB of storage for file transfers, can serve as a backup battery for your phone and has a Bluetooth tracker. Not satisfied with your smartphone’s camera? A pro model of the SELFLASH also comes with a 15.1-megapixel camera.

These trailblazers took selfies before selfies were a thing

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Robert Cornelius made photography history with the first known self-portrait taken in 1839.
Robert Cornelius made photography history with the first known self-portrait taken in 1839.
Photo: Library of Congress

There was no selfie stick, no hashtags and no sharing with his BFF. In fact, when Robert Cornelius took his historic selfie, he sat still as a stone for 15 minutes, then watched the photo slowly appear on a silver-plated sheet of copper as he breathed in dangerous mercury fumes.

That was instant gratification in 1839.

Cornelius, using a wooden box fitted with an opera glass, likely deserves credit for taking the world’s first selfie. He didn’t make the picture out of vanity, but as an experiment to test a silver-plating method for the daguerreotype photographic process, which had been introduced worldwide just three months before Cornelius’ self-portrait.