Lonely Planet Writer

Will this new software finally get you the perfect selfie?

If you are selfie-addicted on your travels, you will be more than familiar with the unflattering side-effects of the photographic self-portrait.

Group of smiling teenage friends taking selfie with smartphone and monopod with Coliseum ruins in background.
Your selfies in front of the Colosseum can now be even more flattering.

Magically enlarged ears and noses, sloping foreheads, and other unwelcome intrusions on our perfection are all caused by the proximity of holding a camera at arm’s length. Now, scientists at the famous US university Princeton have come up with a new method for self-righting selfies to make them more flattering.

They can transform the close-up to make it seem as if the photograph was taken from the type of distance a professional photographer would chose to cast their subject in the best light. Their editing tool can also be used to alter someone’s pose, to make it seem as if the camera was placed higher, or lower, or at an angle.

Ohad Fried, who led the development of the software, said: “Although it is the age of the selfie, many people are unaware of how much these self-portraits do not really look like the person being photographed because the camera is way too close.

“Now that people can edit so many aspects of a photo right on their phones, we wanted to provide a quick way to edit faces that maintains realism.”
 

The creators are also hoping it could see the end of the scourge of the selfie stick, which apart from being an extra weight in luggage, also tend to look ridiculous. The new software will mean travellers can photograph themselves easily while sight-seeing or in front of famous places and still come out with perfect snaps.

The tool is not yet available alas, and is still being fine-tuned with one tricky challenge remaining for how best to deal with hair which can be complicated for photo-editing software. The team behind the project have developed an online demonstration of the software where you can play around with sample photos and upload your own.

You can visit it here and see how the tool can also be used for Harry Potter style portrait photos, which can be swivelled from side to side.