Let’s get one thing straight: taking pictures of your own face is not a selfish pastime, as some would ignorantly claim. It is an art as important and influential as a Picasso or Jackson Pollock painting (minus the twisty faces and chaos, respectively)… why else would the Oxford English Dictionary have named selfie the word of 2013?? The following are the most important aspects to consider when keeping the selfie spirit alive into the new year and beyond:

Nobody knows your best angle better than you. Why leave it to chance? Look up and to the left contemplatively, or down and to the right wistfully. You may have to take 25-50 photos before finding your ideal position, but think of this as important research for a lifetime of cherished up close photos of your head.

Facial expressions
As Shakespeare once wrote, “To smize or not to smize, that is the question.” The perfect selfie is an imperceptible combination of pout and mischief–as though you’re letting out a quiet fart in a room full of people. Raise an eyebrow, hold your cheeks in, purse your lips and let the magic unfold. Poot.

This is a bold move, but it is HELLA RAD. A selfie without makeup says: IDGAF. Why conform to society’s expectations regarding makeup when you’re already buying into certain superficial ideals by taking pictures of your own face? Right? Makes perfect sense to me. Remember: “I woke up like this.” [NB: #nomakeup does not necessarily mean #nofilter. I won’t tell on ya.]

Taglines are an essential part of selfie-taking, as they are a glimpse into the soul of the taker. While some opt for flowery poetry or depressing lyrics (Jar of Hearts, anyone?), I enjoy a good humblebrag. “Dis lady sooooo tired” coupled with a selfie of my eyes (best feature) is juxtaposition enough to distract the viewer from the fact that I’ve been alone in my bathroom taking pictures of myself for 10-20 minutes. Maybe.

Never Apologize
Do not feel guilty for wanting an, okaaay, somewhat narcissistic memento. You’ve only got one face, for God’s sake! You pretty much need to have at least 400 photos* of it on hand at any given time (*arbitrary number I picked based on the number of Facebook profile pics I have… shifty eyes), otherwise how will you ever remember that you were young once??

Armed with this knowledge, go forth and enjoy your beautiful visage! Don’t let the haters make you feel like taking pictures of your face somehow diminishes your intelligence! If you want to be an all-powerful Strong Woman, pursuing your goals in a pashmina that accentuates the colour of your eyes (Hot Tip: green looks great on most people), and if you want to take a picture of that, then click, click, filter, post. You’re nailing it!*

*Nail photography is also a fun alternative to the traditional selfie.