With a few quick adjustments to your settings, you can take smartphone photos and videos to the next level. (Photo: GaudiLab, Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Your phone is chock-full of hidden features you’re not taking advantage of.
Use an iPhone? Tap or click for 10 clever tricks you’ll use all the time. Android lovers, did you know you can now easily schedule texts down to the minute?
The fun doesn’t stop there. Let’s go beyond the standard camera settings. Grab your phone and jump into five settings to take your photos and videos to the next level:
1. Shoot video in 4K
Remember how lousy smartphone videos used to be? Now the iPhone in your hand is good enough to shoot an actual feature film if you use the right setting.
Turn on 4K video, a resolution measurement equivalent to about 4,000 pixels across a display. Capture your subject in much greater detail. This option is especially helpful if you’re displaying a video on a bigger screen, like your TV.
To turn on 4K recording on your iPhone, go to Settings > Camera > Record Video and select from the list of options. It’s available on the iPhone 8 and later models.
Most Samsung models produced after 2018 – starting with the Note 9, S9, and S9+ – offer 4K video at 60fps. Google Pixel users can only take 4K video at 30fps. Other Android users can shoot 4K videos with Sony’s Xperia and just about every phone from OnePlus. To turn it on, open your camera’s settings.
Note: Shooting in 4K can eat up a ton of space. Remember to switch back to standard video settings when you’re done.
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Use your phone's camera to its fullest potential by scanning and searching images.
2. Don’t wait for the perfect moment
Capturing movement can be a struggle. Dog owners, you know what I mean. Burst mode can help. This feature enables your camera to take pictures faster than humanly possible. You get multiple photos for each second and can select your favorites.
On just about every smartphone that supports it, you can activate burst mode by holding down the shutter button. To see all your shots, go to your gallery and choose the photoset.
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3. Go slow
If you’ve never shot in slow motion, you’re missing out. It can make for some seriously cool or hilarious videos. To use it, swipe through the options in your phone’s camera app.
To capture the best possible video, use a tripod to steady your phone. Here’s a small, affordable model you can take anywhere.
4. Use a shortcut
Picture this: It’s winter, and you want to snap a photo of the snowy landscape, but you’re wearing gloves. You can remove one and expose yourself to the elements or use the volume up button. This also helps with stability and focus.
The feature is standard on most iOS and Android phones. You can change the volume button’s functionality to take burst photos, zoom, and more in your camera settings.
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5. Take quality to the next level
Your smartphone takes JPEG photos by default, which are fine for everyday use and social media. If you want to get the most out of your photos, however, try shooting in RAW.
RAW is an image format that retains all the information when you shoot a digital photo, such as contrast, exposure, and saturation. It also retains all your settings such as ISO, shutter speed, and aperture to view later. This all comes into play when editing photos.
Apple’s iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max let you take photos using Apple’s ProRAW format. Go to Settings > Camera > Formats, then toggle Apple ProRAW on. A RAW icon will now be available when taking a photo.
Most flagship phones from Samsung, LG, and Google produced after 2016 have this feature, too. You can usually find it in the settings under the camera app. Simply change the format from .jpeg”>
Like shooting in 4K, RAW photos are much larger files and can quickly fill up your storage. Keep that in mind when playing with your camera settings.
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