We all love taking a great photo and the days are long gone where we all had a film camera lying around that we grabbed to take the occasional photo. Many of us used the camera sparingly since film development was expensive. Today, smartphone cameras are all the rage. Digital cameras are now standard fare and we often rate a smartphone model by the quality of camera and its specifications. Social media and instant replay has only accelerated the demand for a quality smartphone camera.
So you have that new Samsung, be it a Galaxy Note 4 or Galaxy S5 or S6. How can you use that phone to take amazing photos? Ones that you will be proud of and that you will want to share via social media or more conventional means?
I am going to use my phone to demonstrate many of the features that are available on your Samsung smartphone camera. I use a Galaxy Note 3, which was released in 2013. So some of the newer models will have updated features. Still, my model will amply demonstrate what is available to assist you to take some amazing shots.
Note 3 Specifications – Overview
So let’s focus on my phone, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Here are the official specifications:
Galaxy Note 3 Camera Specifications
Main Features: 13 Megapixel (Rear Camera), 4128 x 3096 pixels, auto focus, dual shot,
LED flash, simultaneous HD video and image recording, touch focus,
geo-tagging, face and smile detection, panorama, HDR (High Dynamic Range)
Secondary Camera: 2 MP (Front camera) 1080p@30fps
Video: 2160p@30fps (frames per second), 1080@60fps
Now most of us may not get our head around all the technical mumbo jumbo. Still, those numbers there are impressive. So rather than bore you with technical stuff, I have going to show you some screenshots of various features of the camera, and what that means you can do to take amazing photos.
The start screen looks like that when you open it. You will notice that it under the settings button is the icon you touch to switch between front and back cameras. Further commands can be found on the icons hidden behind the arrow. The side arrow as you hold the smartphone portrait style (bottom arrow if landscape) gives you the photo effect features (more later).
Selecting the mode button gives you a variety of options to use. As you notice on the accompanying screen shots, the features open up many different photo opportunities and results. I have only highlighted some of them here.
What are those Grid lines?
You may wonder why I have four lines vertically and horizontally on the camera. Gridlines allow you to improve your photos using the rule of thirds. What is the rule of thirds?
The photography how-to website, http://www.photographymad.com explains it this way:
“The rule of thirds involves mentally dividing up your image using 2 horizontal lines and 2 vertical lines, as shown below. You then position the important elements in your scene along those lines, or at the points where they meet. The idea is that an off-centre composition is more pleasing to the eye and looks more natural than one where the subject is placed right in the middle of the frame. It also encourages you to make creative use of negative space, the empty areas around your subject.”
These grid lines can be turned on or off in the settings button at the top of the camera’s home screen.
Mode Button Features
The Galaxy Note 3 has a smartphone camera that takes excellent photos. But by using the Mode button, you can create photos that you will be proud to show off. After you select the Mode button, simply swipe the screen to view the various options. I have included the following screenshots to highlight some of what can be done.
I obviously haven’t included all the features of my Galaxy Note 3 smartphone camera. Otherwise, it would be a technical manual. And Samsung has already published one of those. But I wanted to give you a concept of what you can achieve with today’s smartphone cameras. They are filled with all sorts of fabulous features. Amazing photos are no longer the domain of professional photographers. No, you too can capture great memories of that your next vacation, those lively children you have or some breathtaking landscape. Take time to learn how to use your device and then share the results with the world.
Don’t have a smartphone yet? Need some tips on how to buy one? Read my blog entitled, Buying a Smartphone – Five Tips You Need to Know.
Do you have any other advice regarding using a smartphone camera? Share your ideas in the box below….