If you haven't heard, sharing photos on social networking is now apparently very much the in thing. But forget carefully composed landscapes and worrying about apertures and focus – now all you need to do to be the next David Bailey is stretch out your arm as far as you can reach, pull a silly face and hope you don't end up with someone gurning behind you when you click the shutter.
Yes, like it or not, the selfie will undoubtedly go down as one of the biggest trends of the last few years. In fact, it's become such a phenomenon the Oxford English Dictionary even named it their word of the year in 2013, with everyone from pop stars to presidents getting in on the trend.
Getting the perfect selfie can be the holy grail for many people – but it's not as easy as it sounds. A bad one can not only make you look like an idiot in front of your friends, as tools like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter let your most embarrassing images wing their way around the world in seconds. So looking good needs some serious thought.
Choose the right spot
Unless you're Paris Hilton, no-one's really that interested in a selfie where 95 per cent of the photo is taken up by your face, so a good backdrop is essential.
A recent survey by Suggestme found London is the most popular location for selfies among both tourists and locals, while the most commonly-snapped landmarks around the world include Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower and the Colosseum. Nice, but a bit obvious – so something a bit more creative could help you stand out from the crowd.
Oh, and it should also go without saying, but sombre occasions like funerals are definitely out – something Barack Obama and David Cameron should have remembered before their grinning selfie at Nelson Mandela's memorial service hit front pages around the world.
Show off your best features
The trickiest part of any selfie -as with anything else in life – is making sure you look your best. But it's sometimes not easy to tell how it'll turn out when your screen's held at arms length away from you, so what can you do to avoid creating a cautionary tale to be shared by others for all eternity?
It can't be emphasised enough that the 'duckface' look is a big no – really, it can't, no matter who you are. Not only has it been done to death by everyone, huge pouting lips have yet to make anyone look good.
You also need to think about the angle of your photo – a downward shot, or one where you tilt your head back, can give the impression of a double-chin – definitely unflattering. Keep the camera as level as possible makes sense, while also make sure you're not staring directly down the lens like a serial killer's arrest photo – a slight turn of the head is the most natural look.
Watch your surroundings
Even if you've found the perfect spot to get your snap, it can still be ruined by that idiot in the background who thinks photobombing is still cool, so make sure you know what and who around you could pose a problem.
Also, there's a fine line between an exciting shot and getting too close, as this unfortunate chap found out to his cost when he tried to take a selfie with a train, and was taught a swift lesson in safety by the conductor.
And if you are taking the snap in your bedroom or bathroom mirror to show off your stylish new phone case, make sure the room is presentable. No-one wants to see your dirty laundry or a mirror smeared with toothpaste.
The right tools for the job
One of the biggest problems with selfies is that because they're often taken with the phone's lower-resolution front-facing camera, they can often end up being very poor-quality. However, some of the latest models – such as the HTC One – have recognised this problem and started to equip their phones with more powerful front cameras.
But if you don't have this yet, there are still a few things you can do. Turning your gadget around to use the bigger rear camera might mean you don't get to see exactly what you're shooting, but with a bit of luck, the results will turn out better.
Also, remember to switch the flash off, as at close range, all it will do is white out your face so you look like you're remaking The Blair Witch Project. A bit of fiddling about with lighting settings and filters can also transform a boring snap into one worthy of sharing, so don't assume leaving your phone in its default settings is the way to go.