Ask any expert selfie taker what’s most important to posting perfect pictures, and you’ll likely hear all about the merits of good lighting.
Unfortunately, professional lighting is seldom available when we’re snapping cellphone photos — especially in dimly lit places like bars and restaurants — which is why the term ‘selfie’ often translates to ‘unflattering photo.’ Until now, that is, with the invention of the LuMee phone case ($49.95-$59.95, lumeecase.com).
Created by professional photographer, Allan Shoemake, and available in a variety of trendy colors (including my favorite, rose gold), the LuMee is touted as the first phone case for the selfie generation. With the help of LEDs, it illuminates a phone’s front-facing camera, allowing users to FaceTime, Skype or take pictures even in the darkest places and, reportedly, still look fabulous.
With a list of celebrity fans that includes Oprah Winfrey and Kim Kardashian, the LuMee caught my eye as a logical choice to sample for any selfie-obsessed readers.
Available for Android (Samsung Galaxy S5 and S6) and iPhone (5/5S, 6/6S and 6 Plus/6S Plus), the LuMee is made from a tough, impact-resistant plastic with tiny LEDs running along each side. Much like the durable OtterBox cases, it is bulkier than most phone cases, but can still be slipped into the back pocket of a pair of skinny jeans without any trouble.
Running on an internal battery that works independently from the phone, the case is recharged via a Micro USB (a charging cord is provided). Depending on how often it’s used, the battery can last from two hours at full brightness to 36 hours on the lowest setting — and for those who are more sparing with their selfies, this timeline should lengthen.
To turn the LuMee on, you simply press a button on the back of the phone case. The lights dim or light up again each time you press and hold the button.
Make no mistake, the lights are bright. The first time I turned on the LuMee, I was almost blinded by the intensity of those tiny LEDs. Once I adjusted my vision and could look into my phone’s front-facing camera, however, I could instantly tell a difference in how I looked.
At full power, the LuMee cast a nice warm glow on my face — and this was in broad daylight. My skin looked brighter and almost seemed to have a Photoshop-like quality to it. Thinking that was a fluke, I tried the LuMee out in a darkened bathroom (with lights completely off) and was shocked to discover very similar results.
The lights still gave my face a nice glow, and when I snapped a picture in complete darkness, my selfie actually looked good.
IS IT WORTH IT
Is the LuMee case worth the $50 price tag? Thanks to the LuMee phone case, you can take fabulous selfies anywhere at anytime.
Providing much needed lighting in poorly lit spaces and at night, the easy-to-use LuMee casts a perfect glow every time you take a picture. Even in the daytime, I found that the LuMee softly illuminated my face, producing pictures in which I looked less tired and more vibrant.
Beyond its original photographic purpose, the LuMee makes a great flashlight if you’re searching for something, and the extra light comes in handy if you use the front-facing camera on your iPhone as a mirror for makeup touch-ups.
The phone case is admittedly bulky, which might take some getting used to, but if that doesn’t sound like a big deal to you, and good selfies are a big priority, you might consider investing in a LuMee the next time you’re in the market for a new phone case.