How to use the hidden features of your smartphone camera

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What might be extra necessary to images at present than smartphone cameras? It is all the time there, prepared in moments, and the know-how behind it makes it simple to take nice photographs in most conditions. Nevertheless, I often meet people who find themselves unaware of the numerous primary capabilities of the built-in digicam app.

The fundamentals of a smartphone digicam lengthen far past merely “urgent the massive button”. Some instruments show you how to arrange the shot, and a few provide you with extra management over publicity. Just a few are simple and handy. Nevertheless, these options aren’t all the time simple to seek out. That is the place we come to.

[ Related: “Make the most out of your iPhone’s back tap feature” ]

iOS 16 vs Android 13

However first, for these examples, I am utilizing the 2 telephones I’ve: iPhone 13 Professional operating iOS 16 and Google Pixel 6 Professional operating Android 13. I additionally focus solely on the built-in digicam apps; For extra handbook management, you’ll find third-party apps within the app shops. Many digicam options overlap between iOS and Android, and it is potential that a few of them might not be accessible on older fashions, or may be accessed another way. In case you see one thing right here that does not match what you see, crack the information – I imply, search Google – and see if it is accessible to you.

Tips on how to shortly launch the digicam

Most individuals do the standard dance of unlocking the telephone, discovering the digicam app, and tapping to launch it. By then, the second you had been making an attempt to seize could also be over. There are sooner methods.

On the iPhone lock display screen, swipe from proper to left to go on to the digicam app with out ever unlocking the telephone. It’s also possible to faucet the digicam icon on the lock display screen. In your Pixel machine, double press the Energy button from any display screen.

When the telephone is unlocked, some further choices can be found. On each telephones, press and maintain the digicam app icon to deliver up a listing of taking pictures modes, similar to opening the app with the entrance dealing with digicam activated.

A smartphone camera has cool hidden features - here's how to find them
Press and maintain the digicam app icon to show some picture mode shortcuts (iPhone 13 Professional on the left, Pixel 6 Professional on the appropriate). Jeff Carlson

I additionally like the power to double-click a file Again From the telephone to activate the digicam. On the iPhone, go to Settings > Accessibility > Contact > faucet Again and select Digital camera for the double faucet (or triple faucet) choice. On Android, go to Settings > System > Gestures > Fast faucet > Open the app and select Digital camera.

Tips on how to use the amount buttons to function the shutter

In case you miss the haptic suggestions of urgent the precise shutter button, or if urgent this system button creates a variety of vibration, press the amount button as a substitute.

On each telephones, urgent both quantity button triggers the shutter. Urgent the button begins video recording, simply as in case you had been holding your finger on the digital shutter button.

A smartphone camera has cool hidden features - here's how to find them
Press the amount button to begin the shot to expertise the haptic digicam. Jeff Carlson

On iPhone, it’s also possible to set the Quantity Up button to launch a number of photographs in burst mode: Go to Settings > Digital camera > Use Quantity Up in Burst.

Tips on how to shortly modify publicity and focus

Digital camera apps do a fairly good job of figuring out the suitable publicity for any given scene — in case you neglect that “applicable” is a loaded time period. You’ve gotten extra management, although, even when the interfaces do not make it clear.

on iPhone

A smartphone camera has cool hidden features - here's how to find them
Press and maintain to lock publicity and deal with iPhone. Jeff Carlson

On an iPhone, faucet wherever within the preview to set focus and scale publicity primarily based on that time. Even higher (and it is a function that I discover many individuals do not learn about), contact and maintain on a spot a lock Focus and publicity (“AE/AF LOCK” badge seems). You may then transfer the telephone round to regulate the configuration and never danger the app resetting routinely.

A smartphone camera has cool hidden features - here's how to find them
Drag the solar icon to regulate publicity with out altering focus lock on iPhone. Jeff Carlson

When you modify or lock focus and publicity, elevate your finger off the display screen and drag the solar icon that seems to the appropriate of the goal field to manually improve or lower publicity. One click on elsewhere resets focus and publicity to automated mode.

on Pixel

On a Pixel, faucet some extent to regulate focus and publicity. This spot turns into a goal, and stays closed even whereas shifting the telephone to recreate the scene. Clicking additionally shows sliders that you need to use to regulate white stability, publicity, and distinction. Faucet the dot once more to take away the lock, or faucet some other place to deal with one other space.

A smartphone camera has cool hidden features - here's how to find them
The Pixel 6 Professional shows sliders for publicity, white stability, and distinction management if you faucet the meter and deal with an space. Jeff Carlson

Tips on how to zoom in with confidence

We consider the “digicam” on our telephones, however in actual fact, on most fashionable telephones, there are a number of cameras, every with its personal picture sensor behind the lens meeting. So if you faucet the “1x” or “3x” button to zoom in or out, you are switching between cameras.

Every time potential, persist with preset zoom ranges. Stage 1x makes use of the primary digicam (what Apple calls the “huge” digicam), Stage 3x makes use of the telephoto digicam, and many others. These are optical values, which implies you will get a clearer image as a result of the sensor information gentle immediately.

A smartphone camera has cool hidden features - here's how to find them
While you drag the digicam choice buttons, this zoom dial seems to extend the telephoto as much as 15x. However in case you’re not at 0.5x, 1x or 3x ranges, you are sacrificing picture high quality for digital zoom. Jeff Carlson

However wait, how about utilizing the two-finger pinch gesture to zoom in or out? Or you’ll be able to swipe left or proper on the zoom choose buttons to disclose a carousel management (iPhone) or a slider (Android) to allow you to configure your scene with out having to maneuver, and even learn how to zoom in to 15x or 20x.

It is extremely handy, however attempt to keep away from it if potential. All these between the values ​​are numerically calculated: the software program distorts what the scene will seem like at this zoom degree by artificially enlarging the pixels. Digital zoom know-how has improved tremendously through the years, however optical zoom remains to be the most suitable choice.

Tips on how to shortly swap digicam modes

Talking of switching, the digicam apps function many various taking pictures modes, similar to picture, video, and portrait. As a substitute of clicking or making an attempt to tug a row of mode names, on each iOS and Android, simply swipe left or proper in the midst of the display screen to change between modes.

A smartphone camera has cool hidden features - here's how to find them
Swipe wherever in the midst of the preview to change between taking pictures modes. Jeff Carlson

Tips on how to use grid and degree for stronger mixtures

Whether or not you subscribe to the Rule of Thirds or simply need some assist preserving your prospects degree, the built-in networking options come in useful.

On iOS, go to Settings > Digital camera > Community and activate the choice. On Android, you’ll be able to select from three forms of community by going to Settings within the Digital camera app, tapping Extra settings, and selecting a community sort (similar to 3×3).

The grid on the iPhone, and a associated setting referred to as Framing Hints on the Pixel, additionally allows the panorama aircraft. While you maintain the telephone parallel to the ground or desk, a + image seems in the midst of the display screen on each fashions. As you progress, the telephone’s accelerometer signifies you are not evenly horizontal by displaying a second + icon. Maneuver the telephone in order that each icons line up to make sure the digicam is within the horizontal aircraft.

A smartphone camera has cool hidden features - here's how to find them
When the telephone is parallel to the bottom, a pair of + symbols seems to point its degree. Line them as much as get the extent shot. (The iPhone is proven right here.) Jeff Carlson

Tips on how to management the flash and “night time” modes

Each digicam programs are nice at offering extra gentle in darkish conditions, whether or not that is turning on the built-in flash or activating Evening Mode (iOS) or Evening Sight (Android). Nevertheless, the interfaces to regulate it are minimal.

On an iPhone, faucet the flash (lightning bolt) icon to toggle between Off and Auto. For extra choices, faucet the karat (^) image, which replaces the digicam modes beneath the preview with buttons for extra options. Press the Flash button to decide on between Auto, On, and Off.

On a Pixel telephone, faucet the Settings button within the Digital camera app, and underneath Extra Lights faucet the flash icon (one other lightning bolt).

A smartphone camera has cool hidden features - here's how to find them
A crescent moon icon signifies that the Pixel 6 Professional is utilizing its personal Evening Sight mode. Jeff Carlson

The Pixel features a Evening Sight mode within the Extra Gentle class. When enabled, Evening Sight prompts routinely in darkish conditions – you will see a crescent moon icon on the shutter button. You may briefly deactivate this by tapping on the Evening Sight Auto button that seems to the appropriate of the digicam modes.

The iPhone’s night time mode is managed by a separate button, which seems to be like a crescent with vertical stripes indicating a darkish aspect of the moon. Faucet it to show night time mode on or off. Or faucet the carat image (^) and faucet the night time mode button to disclose a slider management that allows you to select an publicity time past simply automated (as much as 30 seconds in a darkish setting when the telephone is steady, for instance in a tripod).

A smartphone camera has cool hidden features - here's how to find them
The yellow night time mode button signifies that the present most gentle is about to 2 seconds. Jeff Carlson

Put the enjoyable into your smartphone fundamentals

As with each digicam – smartphone or conventional – there are many options that can assist you get the most effective shot. Be sure you discover the app’s settings and different buttons (like setting self-timers or altering the default side ratio) in order that when the time comes, you understand precisely which smartphone digicam function to change to.