How to use your smartphone camera’s hidden features

This article was initially featured on Popular Photography.

What may very well be extra basic to images as we speak than oursmartphone cameras? Theyre ever-present, prepared in moments, and the know-how behind them makes it straightforward to seize nice pictures in most conditions. And but, I frequently encounter people who find themselves unaware of most of the core capabilities of the built-in digital camera app.

Smartphone digital camera fundamentals prolong past simply push the large button. Some instruments assist you to arrange the shot, and a few provide you with extra management over the publicity. Just a few are simply plain handy or cool. However, these features arent all the time straightforward to discover. Thats the place we are available.

[ Related: Make the most out of your iPhones back tap feature ]

iOS 16 vs. Android 13

But first, for these examples, Im utilizing the 2 telephones I’ve at hand: aniPhone 13 Prooperating iOS 16 and aGoogle Pixel 6 Prorunning Android 13. Im additionally focusing simply on the built-in digital camera apps; for much more guide management,you can find third-party apps in the app stores. Many of the digital camera features overlap between iOS and Android working programs, and its doable that some will not be accessible on older fashions, or are accessible another way. If you see one thing right here that doesnt match with what you see, get away the manualI imply, search Googleand see if its accessible for yours.

How to quick-launch the digital camera

Most individuals carry out the standard dance of unlocking the telephone, discovering the digital camera app, and tapping to launch it. By that point, the second you had been making an attempt to seize is likely to be gone. There are sooner methods.

On the iPhones lock display screen, swipe right-to-left to leap straight to the digital camera app with out unlocking the telephone in any respect. You can even press the digital camera icon on the lock display screen. On the Pixel, double-press the ability button from any display screen.

When the telephone is unlocked, just a few extra choices can be found. On each telephones, press and maintain the digital camera app icon to carry up a menu of taking pictures modes, corresponding to opening the app with the front-facing selfie digital camera energetic.

Press and maintain the Camera app icon to show some photograph mode shortcuts (iPhone 13 Pro at left, Pixel 6 Pro at proper).Jeff Carlson

I additionally like the power to double-tap theagainof the telephone to launch the digital camera. On the iPhone, go to Settings > Accessibility > Touch > Back Tap and select Camera for the Double Tap (or Triple Tap) possibility. In Android, go to Settings > System > Gestures > Quick Tap > Open app and select Camera.

How to use the quantity buttons to set off the shutter

If you miss the tactile suggestions of urgent a bodily shutter button, or if hitting the software program button introduces an excessive amount of shake, press a quantity button as an alternative.

On each telephones, urgent both quantity button triggers the shutter. Holding a button begins recording video, simply as should you maintain your finger on the digital shutter button.

Your smartphone camera has great hidden featuresheres how to find them
Press a quantity button to set off the shot for that tactile-camera expertise.Jeff Carlson

On the iPhone, you may also set the quantity up button to fireplace off a number of photographs in burst mode: go to Settings > Camera > Use Volume Up for Burst.

How to regulate the publicity & focus rapidly

The digital camera apps do job of figuring out the right publicity for any given sceneif you overlook that correct is a loaded time period. You do have extra management, although, even when the interfaces dont make it apparent.

On the iPhone

Your smartphone camera has great hidden featuresheres how to find them
Press and maintain to lock publicity and give attention to the iPhone.Jeff Carlson

On the iPhone, faucet wherever within the preview to set the main target and meter the publicity degree based mostly on that time. Even higher (and this can be a characteristic I discover that many individuals dont learn about), contact and maintain a spot tolockthe main target and publicity (an AE/AF LOCK badge seems). You can then transfer the telephone to regulate the composition and never threat the app robotically resetting them.

Your smartphone camera has great hidden featuresheres how to find them
Drag the solar icon to regulate the publicity with out altering the main target lock on the iPhone.Jeff Carlson

Once the main target and publicity are set or locked, elevate your finger from the display screen after which drag the solar icon that seems to the precise of the goal field to manually improve or lower the publicity. A single faucet wherever else resets the main target and publicity again to automated.

On the Pixel

On the Pixel, faucet some extent to set the main target and publicity. That spot turns into a goal, which stays locked at the same time as you progress the telephone to recompose the scene. Tapping additionally shows sliders you may use to regulate white stability, publicity, and distinction. Tap the purpose once more to take away the lock, or faucet elsewhere to give attention to one other space.

Your smartphone camera has great hidden featuresheres how to find them
The Pixel 6 Pro shows sliders for publicity, white stability, and distinction management whenever you faucet to meter and give attention to an space.Jeff Carlson

How to zoom with confidence

We consider the digital camera on our telephones, however actually, on most trendy telephones, there are a number of cameras, every with its personal picture sensor behind the array of lenses. So when youre tapping the 1x or 3x button to zoom in or out, youre switching between cameras.

Whenever doable, stick to these preset zoom ranges. The 1x degree makes use of the principle digital camera (what Apple calls the vast digital camera), the 3x degree makes use of the telephoto digital camera, and so forth. Those are optical values, which suggests youll get a cleaner picture because the sensor data the sunshine immediately.

Your smartphone camera has great hidden featuresheres how to find them
When you drag the digital camera choice buttons, this zoom dial seems for an up to 15x telephoto improve. But if youre not on the 0.5x, 1x, or 3x ranges, youre sacrificing picture high quality for digital zoom.Jeff Carlson

But wait, what about utilizing the two-finger pinch gesture to zoom in or out? Or, you may drag left or proper on the zoom choice buttons to reveal a round management (iPhone) or slider (Android) to allow you to compose your scene without having to transfer, and even zoom means into 15x or 20x.

Its so handy, however strive to keep away from it if doable. All these in-between values are calculated digitally: the software program is interpolating what the scene would seem like at that zoom degree by artificially enlarging pixels. Digital zoom know-how has improved dramatically over time, however optical zoom continues to be the most suitable choice.

How to swap digital camera modes rapidly

Speaking of switching, the digital camera apps characteristic many alternative taking pictures modes, corresponding to Photo, Video, and Portrait. Instead of tapping or making an attempt to drag the row of mode names, on each iOS and Android, merely swipe left or proper in the midst of the display screen to swap modes.

Your smartphone camera has great hidden featuresheres how to find them
Drag wherever in the midst of the preview to swap between taking pictures modes.Jeff Carlson

How to use the grid & degree for stronger compositions

Whether you subscribe to the rule of thirds or simply need some assist holding your horizons degree, the built-in grid features are helpful.

In iOS, go to Settings > Camera > Grid and switch the choice on. In Android, you may select from three forms of grids by going to the settings within the digital camera app, tapping More Settings, and selecting a Grid Type (corresponding to 3 x 3).

The grid on the iPhone, and a associated setting known as Framing Hints on the Pixel, additionally allow a horizontal degree. When youre holding the telephone parallel to the bottom or a desk, a + icon seems in the midst of the display screen on each fashions. As you progress, the telephones accelerometer signifies when youre not evenly horizontal by displaying a second + icon. Maneuver the telephone in order that each icons line up to make sure the digital camera is horizontally degree.

Your smartphone camera has great hidden featuresheres how to find them
When the telephone is held parallel to the bottom, a pair of + icons seems to point out how degree it’s. Line them up for a degree shot. (iPhone proven right here.)Jeff Carlson

How to management the flash & Night modes

Both digital camera programs are nice about offering extra mild in darkish conditions, whether or not thats turning on the built-in flash or activating Night mode (iOS) or Night Sight (Android). The interfaces for controlling these are fairly minimal, although.

On the iPhone, faucet the flash icon (the lightning bolt) to toggle between Off and Auto. For extra choices faucet the carat (^) icon, which replaces the digital camera modes beneath the preview with buttons for extra features. Tap the Flash button to select between Auto, On, and Off.

On the Pixel, faucet the Settings button within the digital camera app and, beneath More Light, faucet the Flash icon (one other lightning bolt).

Your smartphone camera has great hidden featuresheres how to find them
The crescent moon icon signifies the Pixel 6 Pro is utilizing its Night Sight mode.Jeff Carlson

The Pixel contains its Night Sight mode within the More Light class. When its enabled, Night Sight robotically prompts in darkish situationsyoull see a crescent moon icon on the shutter button. You can quickly deactivate this by tapping the Night Sight Auto button that seems to the precise of the digital camera modes.

The iPhones Night mode is managed by a separate button, which appears to be like like a crescent moon with vertical stripes indicating a darkish aspect of the moon. Tap it to flip Night mode on or off. Or, faucet the carat (^) icon after which faucet the Night mode button to reveal a sliding management that allows you to select an publicity time past simply Auto (up to 30 seconds in a darkish surroundings when the telephone is stabilized, corresponding to on a tripod).

Your smartphone camera has great hidden featuresheres how to find them
The yellow Night mode button signifies that the present most publicity is ready for two seconds.Jeff Carlson

Put the enjoyable in smartphone fundamentals

As with each camerasmartphone or traditionalthere are loads of features to assist you to get the very best shot. Be positive to discover the app settings and the opposite buttons (corresponding to setting self-timers or altering the default facet ratio) in order that when the time comes, you recognize precisely which smartphone digital camera characteristic to flip to.


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