1. To get the best possible shot out of a smartphone, use the higher resolution back-facing camera. If you are using the front camera, handy for getting the exact framing you want, make sure you tear your eyes off yourself long enough to look into the lens for the photo. If you hold the camera too close to your head you might experience some lens distortion, making your face and features look wider than they really are. Hold the camera far away from your face for the most flattering look, but be aware of that outstretched arm. If you change your posture to extend it too much, it can cause you to face the camera at a bad angle or make a straining face.
2. Distance is also necessary if you have to use the flash. Too close and you can blow out your features, take on a sickly yellow hue, or temporarily blind yourself. Make sure you are lit from the front or the side. If you're standing in front of a bright light source, your face might be completely in the dark. If you focus on your face, the background can end up a bright white blur.
3. Turn around and check out your backdrop. Be aware of potentially odd intersections, like a beam or tree that would appear to be sticking out of your head. Look for potential photo bombers or a scene that would accidentally be a bad match for your cheerful, smiling face, like a funeral procession or house fire. Choose a neutral, empty background like a wall, or fill the frame with your visage.
4. The setting is the reason for the photo. Offset your face so there's room in the frame to capture the scenery. It's still a selfie if you use a tripod and timer to take the picture, which would let you to blend in more with your surroundings.
5. If you find yourself sitting next to someone famous, ask if he's game to take a group selfie you can show your friends. When taking group shots with strangers, always use the front-facing camera. Even though the back camera on smartphones is higher quality, it's harder to compose an image without seeing the preview on the screen. You don't want to accidentally cut someone out or have to re-take the picture.
6. Make sure your head is tilted down enough that you are not getting a selfie of the inside of your nose, and not turning your head more than 30 degrees in any direction, which can cause foreshortening. Focusing too much on looking attractive can get in the way. Don't be afraid to put aside vanity and mix up your expressions to show different emotions, angles and crops.