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Use Your Back Camera for Selfies with This App That Tells You Where to Point

Daniel Bean
Assistant Editor
Yahoo Tech
Girl taking selfie

(Smart Selfie)

You probably know that your smartphone has two cameras. And you might know that, on most smartphones, the camera on the back is a ton better than the one on the front.

The front camera, offering lower-quality shots, has unfortunately always been the best to use for selfies. You can see the shot you’re taking on the screen, which is key when — well, snapping a photo. If you’ve ever tried taking a selfie with your rear camera, you know that you often end up out of frame, and that it’s difficult to hit the shutter when you can’t see the screen.

Trying to rectify these difficulties, a new Android app called Smart Selfie helps make it easy to flip your device around and snap vanity shots with your better lens.

Smart Selfie speaks out audible directions to frame your selfie: It tracks where your head is located in the shot and then says “right,” “left,” “closer,” and so on. The app will tell you to say “cheese” when it detects that your face is centered and in focus, and then take the selfie automatically, no button push required.

Selfie magic.

Selfies of Yahoo Tech staff

Some of Yahoo Tech’s finest. (Yahoo Tech)

Naturally I had to try Smart Selfie myself(ie), and so did my colleagues. (As you can see, our editor Jason (left) is by far the best on staff at taking a selfie.)

Some drawbacks: I found it’s impossible to take a covert selfie with your phone yelling instructions at you. So that rules out libraries, church services, bathroom stalls, — you know, places you shouldn’t be taking selfies anyhow. It takes a bit longer to grab a selfie with this app, so you have to be OK looking like “a doof taking a picture of himself” for longer than you normally would.

Also, if you’re in a loud area where you can’t hear Smart Selfie’s spoken directions, then it’s basically useless. Rock concerts, political rallies — I even had trouble hearing when I tried to get a shot on the sidewalk, thus resulting in a fairly bad and fuzzy picture (below, left). And even in the best environments for Smart Selfie use (below, right), I did experience some weirdly framed shots from time to time. Of course there’s no harm in going back to crop a high-quality pic.

Selfies of Daniel Bean

All by my selfie on the street (left) and in a quiet, indoor place (right). (Daniel Bean/Yahoo Tech)

All and all, since your pictures with Smart Selfie will, more often than not, end up looking better than what you can get with your plain camera app and phone’s front cam, I say try using it when you can. Taking selfies is already about as embarrassing as it gets, so why not take it a step further and download an app that shouts, “Say cheese” at you?

Grab it from the Play store for free now.

Have questions, comments, or just want to tell me something funny? Email me at danbean@yahoo-inc.com.