How To Use the Camera on a Windows Phone

The camera on any phone can sometimes be difficult to under for a first time user. Windows phone is no exception. Here is all you need to know to use your camera like a pro.

I. Opening the Camera App

There are a few ways to open the camera app.

1. You can hold down the camera button for 3 seconds or so and the camera app will automatically launch. You can even do this when the screen is off and locked on a Windows Phone.

2. You can alternatively swipe to the left on the Start screen to reveal all of the apps and scroll down to Camera then select it.

II. Using the Camera

1. Using the movie projector icon will switch to video recording instead of regular still pictures. You can also tap the icon again to switch back to still photos.

2. On Windows Phones with a front facing camera, there will also be a “camera with a person in front of it” icon next to the video recording icon. Selecting this icon will switch from taking a picture with the rear camera to taking a picture with the front camera. Tapping it again will switch back.

3. Next to that you have the Zoom controls. The + button will zoom in and the – button will zoom out.

4. Tapping anywhere on the screen will focus the camera on that particular object. You can tap as many times as you need until it focuses the way you want.

5. Pushing down halfway on the camera button will focus the camera, pushing down the rest of the way down will take the picture.

6. You can view any pictures you’ve taken previously by just swiping from the left of the screen and this will bring up the last picture you took. Continuing to swipe will take you back further in your camera roll.

III. Adjusting the Camera’s Settings

1. Tapping on the gear icon will bring up the camera’s settings.

2. First you can choose a Scene, this allows you to choose from different scenes like Beach, Snow, Portrait, etc. and adjust the way the image looks. You can also set this to Auto to let the phone decide this on it’s own.

3. Next you have White Balance. For a good explanation on what White Balance and Color Balance are, head here. You can set the white balance to different settings to adjust the color temperature and try to get the image more like real life. You can also set this to Auto to let the phone decide this on it’s own.

4. Exposure Value is the next setting. For a good explanation on what Exposure Value is, head here. You can adjust this number up to essentially leave the shutter open longer or down to have it close faster. You can also set this to Auto to let the phone decide this on it’s own.

5. The next setting you can change the “film speed” called ISO. For a good explanation on what ISO is, head here. You should generally always leave this to the lowest setting possible. If you can’t get the shot because of low light you can adjust the ISO up to try and get the shot, it will be a bit more grainy but sometimes grainy is better than no shot at all. You can also set this to Auto to let the phone decide this on it’s own.

6. You can adjust the way the phone camera chooses to adjust settings by selecting different metering modes. Center Weighted uses the center of the viewfinder as about 70-80% of the information and then will grab the rest of the information feathered out from that center, Frame Average will take an average of information over the entire shot, and Center Spot will use the center of the camera view finder and base the settings on what it measures in the very center of the shot. For more information on Metering Mode, head here.

7. Under Effects, you can add fun effects like Black and White, Sepia, etc. to the shot before taking the picture.

8. You can change the Contrast up or down and make objects in the camera shot stand out more or less (contrast up and down respectively). To learn more about Contrast, head here.

9. You can adjust the Saturation up or down to increase or decrease the brightness of the colors in the image. To learn more about Saturation, head here.

10. If you need to take a picture of something close up (few inches away), set the Focus Mode to Marco, otherwise leave it on Normal. For more info on Macro photography, head here.

11. Resolution is how many pixels the image will take up. Generally the higher the resolution the better quality of the image. To learn more about resolution, head here.

12. Lastly, you can turn the flash on Auto by tapping the lightning bolt icon with the A next to it, change it to always off by tapping the lightning bolt with the line through it, and always on by tapping the last icon.

This is part of our Windows Phone Basics/Tips and Tricks series. Great for anyone new to Windows Phone, or anyone just looking to learn a few tips and tricks! For all our Windows Phone Basics, head here.

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  • Sharks1

    I can’t use Skype normaly,how to connect we can on wp7.thanks