Selfies are everywhere. The international space station (ISS) astronaut Steven Swanson recently uploaded the very first Instagram photo posted from space – and it’s a selfie, of course.

You might not have planet Earth as your backdrop, but taking better selfies is fast becoming a core photography skill. There are plenty of gadgets and apps to help, but first it’s worth defining what a selfie is. Obvious, right?

Selfie is short-hand for SELF-PORTRAIT, and was born with the advent of the front camera on smartphones and tablets.

Lets take a walk through 4 NEW APPS FOR GREAT SELFIES.
1. Facetune: professional-looking portraits
The two most important rules for taking better selfies are confidence and lighting. No awkward hovering – own that selfie! And make sure you keep some light in front of your face; think an even glow, not creepy shadows.

However, if you’ve followed those two rules and still look terrible, use a filter app. While VSCO Cam is handy for editing Instagram pictures, a great all-round choice is Facetune from Lightricks, which is now available for iPhone and iPad for 69p and £1.49 respectively.

Facetune guarantees high-end portraits from everyday photos. “The iPad is the ultimate device for photo-editing,” says Zeev Farbman, Lightricks’ CEO. “It doesn’t matter if you shoot with your iPad, or import photos from your phone or professional camera, Facetune for iPad lets you achieve results comparable only to what professionals can do with Photoshop. And it’s way more fun.”

Facetune uses filters and tweaks for skin, smiles, eyes, hair and even a mode that reshapes your facial structure.

2. Olloclip: wide-angle selfies
When taking a selfie it’s smart to be aware of what’s going on behind you – and make the most of it. Though it’s best to keep the focus on you, at least half of the beauty of a selfie is that it shows you’re somewhere interesting or amazing.

Selfies don’t have to be a close-up of your chin in an unrecognisable place. Add some decent optics to your phone and – when used in conjunction with the Selfie Stick or a tripod of some kind – you could capture something genuinely brilliant.

If you’re going to rely on the rear camera and you’re in a beautiful place try the Olloclip 4-in-1 lens (£59.95) for the iPhone 5/5S/5C.

Weighing just 23g and arriving in a small fabric drawstring bag, this tiny device clips on to the corner of an iPhone, covering – and therefore upgrading – the built-in optics. There are a couple of 10X and 15X macro lenses, but for selfies with a background it’s the wide-angle lens you want.

Once you’ve mastered that, turn the Olloclip back-to-front and try the fisheye lens. Olloclip lets your selfies become wider and much weirder.

3. Muku Shuttr: smartphone shutter release
Holding a phone in the correct position while simultaneously looking into the camera lens and pressing the touchscreen shutter isn’t easy. However, the days of awkward phone holding are gone if you streamline the selfie process with a remote control.

In a thankfully completely app-less concept, the Muku Shuttr (£49.95) selfie remote is about the size of a USB thumbdrive. A small, lightweight remote shutter release that connects easily to both Android and iOS devices via Bluetooth, it pairs up with a smartphone immediately and works right away. Just open the normal camera app on the smartphone, and instead of fumbling for the touchscreen shutter button, use the button on the Muku Shuttr.

Happily the Muku Shuttr includes a handy cut-out for hanging it to a keyring. Guaranteed to work with any iPhone, iPad, or iPod, Samsung S4, S3, Notes 3, Notes 2, Notes 10.1, Nexus 4, 5, 7 and LG G2, G PRO, G Flex, HTC New One and the Sony Xperia Z – and anything with Bluetooth.

4. ThumbsUp! Snap Remote: smartphone stand and shutter release
Much better value than the Muku Shuttr comes the Snap Remote (£8.99), which adds a crucial second feature that now seems so obvious – a kickstand for a smartphone.

Making selfie-taking an almost completely hands-free – and certainly a hassle-free – experience, the Snap Remote essentially does the same job as a bulky tripod by offering a tiny snap-off detachable phone stand.

Made by ThumbsUp! the Snap Remote is otherwise a simple wireless Bluetooth-connected camera shutter for smartphones and tablets, though it does require the use of its own app to work.

Powered by a standard CR2032 watch battery, the Snap Remote has a keyring cut-out, and works with all types of iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, and any Android device, too.



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