Check your hair, find your light, and strike a post — National Selfie Day is June 21. Time to find the perfect angle, try out that new filter, and freshen up your socials! If you’re feeling yourself, you’re wearing a new favorite outfit, or even if you’re just bored, it’s time to pull out that camera phone and proclaim, “But first, let me take a selfie.”
History of National Selfie Day
Self portraiture is as timeless as art itself. Since the invention of the film camera in 1885, humans have been drawn to the allure of their own image in tangible form. The introduction of digital photography into the mainstream boosted the trend of self portrait work from the 1990s well into the early 2000s, as the instantaneous nature of picture development made it a more affordable and accessible way to photograph than earlier film photography. By the time the camera phone, digital cameras, and social media converged around 2005, “selfie” wasn’t just a new word in our lexicon, but a full blown world phenomenon.
The first selfie is widely credited to Robert Cornelius, an American chemist and founding father of photography. Cornelius had to sit still for 10-15 minutes to create the first intentional self portrait using the daguerreotype method of photography in 1839. The selfie game has evolved as quickly as the technology of photography itself, with many artists establishing and redefining the genre of self portraiture over the last 181 years. From lesser known, yet wildly talented artists like Vivian Maier to pop culture icons like Andy Warhol, following the roots of the modern day selfie is to go on an epic journey of world history.
But it wasn’t until the early 2000s that photography, and consequently, the selfie was available en masse to the public with the introduction of the first cell phone camera. Since then, the selfie has changed rapidly becoming both a casual means of communication and a perfected art form. Selfies have helped launch people’s careers in every field from entertainment and art to marketing and business.
National Selfie Day timeline
Pop Culture Takeover
“Selfie” song and video by Chainsmokers is released.
Phone Game Changers
The first camera phones on devices like Nokia 7650 and the Sanyo SCP-5300, debut.
- 1990s - 2000s
The Age of Likes and Follows
The first global social media websites, like MySpace and Facebook, debut.
- 1970s - 1980s
The Dawn of Digital
The PLATO system introduces technologies that will become the basis of future social media platforms and the first digital camera was invented in 1979.
The World’s First Selfie
The first selfie is taken by Robert Cornelius using the daguerreotype method, the earliest form of photography utilizing natural light and silver transfers.
National Selfie Day FAQs
What is a selfie?
A photograph someone takes of themselves typically using a camera, smartphone, or webcam, that is shared on social media.
What do you call someone who takes a lot of selfies?
The term “selfitis” arose in 2014 to describe someone who takes a lot of selfies and posts them to social media and since then, it has been adopted by psychologists and is considered a real mental condition.
How do I take the best selfie?
1: Look at the camera
2: Put space between your head and your neck.
3: Hold the camera on your best side instead of in front of you.
National Selfie Day Activities
Take a selfie!
Whether for personal use or for your many followers, taking selfies are fun and a great way to experiment with self expression. So find your light, remember to lift your chin a little, and snap away.
Have a photoshoot
You can do a photoshoot solo or with friends and family. Search online for some DIY backdrop ideas, pull out some of your favorite clothing pieces, put on some music and strike a pose.
Discover new locales
Break out of your routine and find one, or a few, new places that are selfie ready. A lot of public places from libraries to hotels and restaurants have updated their interiors with selfie culture in mind, offering clever and sometimes breathtaking backdrops for your photos. Get out there and see what your neighborhood has to offer.
5 FACTS ABOUT SELFIES THAT WILL BLOW YOUR MIND
Let someone else take your “selfie”.
“Posies”, a picture taken by someone else, are viewed as more likeable than selfies by most people on social media.
Taking time to get the shot
The first selfie took roughly 10 minutes to make during the pioneering years of photography.
Selfies aren’t popular...
The majority of photos on social media aren’t selfies, but are instead pictures of things like monuments, food, and social gatherings.
...But they do win awards
“Selfie” was 2013’s word of the year.
Forbidden Photo ops
Selfies, specifically selfie sticks, have been banned in many popular tourist destinations including Disneyland parks, certain music festivals and museums.
Why We Love National Selfie Day
Ring lights, selfie sticks, camera phone attachments, and filters. There are numerous products to help you level up your selfie game. Whether it’s a high quality lighting kit or a free app we love technology that makes taking selfies an art form.
Stroke of Confidence
A study conducted by computer scientists at The University of California, Irvine found that taking selfies may actually boost your confidence. Some of us are more comfortable putting ourselves out there than others, but you don’t have to post a selfie to get the potential mood boosting benefits that may come from taking one.
A New Skill
We love checking out videos and articles from our favorite YouTubers on how we can elevate our selfie game. Model Tess Holiday’s quick selfie cheat sheet gave us all the pro tips for our new profile pics!
National Selfie Day dates