There’s this saying among photography enthusiasts: The best camera is the one that you have with you. It means that most of the time your best camera is your phone’s. Carrying a camera everywhere you go also means that you will take a lot of pictures – of yourself. That might be the reason selfies became popular only recently, after the general phone’s camera quality was good enough. Selfie has taken the world by storm; it became an official English word by 2013, and it still shows no sign of slowing down.
There are many iPhone applications that will help you take selfies, but the most unexpected one comes from one of the biggest tech giants – the long time rival of Apple: none other than Microsoft. The app is called Microsoft Selfie, and it’s available for free from iTunes App Store.
The Technology Behind the App
While the work of the app itself is pretty simple, the technology behind it is not. Microsoft uses machine learning technology – dubbed Project Oxford – to make sure that your selfies always look their best. The technology calculates age, gender, skin tone, lighting, and other factors to find the perfect image settings. Then it will automatically adjust color balance, skin tone, and lighting in the surroundings to enhance the result.
We already had a peek into this technology in May 2015 when Microsoft launched its How Old website that claimed to be able to detect the age of a person using his/her photograph.
The technology is also already able to read six basic emotional states: anger, fear, happiness, sadness, surprise, or neutral.
Taking Your Selfies
The basic premise of Microsoft Selfie is to eliminate the trouble of editing your photos. So the process of taking a selfie is reduced to almost nothing but clicking the Snap button.
When you start the app, you’ll have two options: Take Photo or Select Photo from your photo library. Microsoft is serious about reducing the clutter in the UI. Even the “Settings” (the gear icon at the bottom right of the screen) is very simple. There are only three on-off options here: Animation Sound Effect, Auto Denoise, and Dark Theme.
If you choose to take your photo, all you have to do is set your pose and press the blue camera button.
After you approve the shot, the app will give you several color filtering options at the bottom of the screen. Choose “Natural” if you don’t want to use any filter. Otherwise, pick the one that you like.
Saving and Sharing
That’s it. Your selfie is ready. But what is the use of taking a lot of photos if nobody knows about it? The Save/Share button is located at the top right of the screen. The button allows you to save your selfies to your photo library or share them with the world via applications that you have installed in your iPhone. Some of the available options on my phone are WhatsApp, Telegram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and Evernote.
Accessing Your Library
You can also use Microsoft Selfie to enhance photos that you’ve already taken. To do this, choose “Select Photo” at the beginning of the process and give the app permission to access your photo library.
Choose the photo that you want to enhance, and let Microsoft Selfie do its magic.
Unfortunately, you can only process one photo at a time. It would be very helpful if the app allowed us to beautify photos in bulk. Hopefully, this feature will be added in the next app upgrade.
Have you tried Microsoft Selfie? Or do you prefer to use another selfie app? Please share using the comments section below.
Image Credit: Andrew Currie