We all know that Samsung has always improved the camera quality with each iteration of its Galaxy S lineup, so Galaxy S5 is among the best ones. The 16MP camera has ultra-fast focusing, plenty of shooting modes to choose from and it offers amazing photos despite of the fact it does not have as many megapixels as Nokia’s Lumia 1020 or the depth-sensing second camera of HTC’s One M8.
Samsung’s Galaxy S5 has one of the best cameras of any smartphone out there, being the every-day camera that you can always have with you to capture the moments that matter most, but if you want some quality photos, you need to learn how to effectively use it. And that is exactly why we are here for!
How to Use the Camera of your Samsung Galaxy S5:
1. Meet Samsung’s Galaxy S5 Camera App
Galaxy S5’s camera app is one part of the phone that hasn’t really been given that much of attention and we think that we know why. Despite of its major advantages (such as customizing the mode switches available to your left thumb or controlling the Galaxy S5’s HDR and Selective Focus modes with your left thumb only) there are also some problems that we cannot deny. Although we have some control over Settings, the limited manual control is most likely the biggest issue.
Unlike HTC One M8 for example, we don’t have the chance to control shutter speed, not to mention that white balance control is limited to just a few presets. And let’s not forget about the lack of a manual focus, but don’t forget that you can do much more with this 16MP camera and maybe the other advantages will make you forget about these problems!
2. Check your Defaults
We know that there are big chances to discover that Samsung’s default options are far from what you want, so don’t hesitate to go to your default settings and change them according to your preferences. If you don’t know how to access them, don’t worry as it is very simple: you just have to tap the little gear icon in the corner that appears on the camera’s viewfinder. After that, you must scroll though the menu and tap the settings you want to turn on or off or to adjust.
If there are any settings that you frequently change, you should keep shortcuts on the viewfinder’s dash in order to make things much easier. It is true that HDR and Selective Focus are already listed as shortcuts, but you can add more by long-tapping any of these settings and then dragging them to the dash.
3. Use Different Photo Effects
Do you know what photo effects is Samsung’s Galaxy S5 camera offering you? You can access some directly from the camera the settings menu and you can even preview what the filters will look like in real time. There are a number of effects to choose from: oil paste, cartoon, tint, and not only, but if you want even more than these ones, be sure that that the Korean company is offering them.
There are even more effects that can be applied after you click the shutter from the Photo manager. In order to do so, you must enter into your gallery, tap on the icon that has a Polaroid next to a pencil and then a new set of options will immediately appear. Tap on the Enhance button and your photo will be automatically edited and tweaked.
4. HDR Mode
The High Dynamic Range feature of this Samsung Galaxy S5 is great, just as you’d want from a high-end professional camera equipment as ensures that your pictures have vivid no matter of the lighting conditions. This smartphone is able to offer us this thanks to its clever image sensor which can take multiple shots at different exposure levels and then it combines them in order to create the perfect image.
Moreover, it is also very quick as long as shot-to-shot speeds with HDR are around 1.5 seconds and don’t forget that Galaxy S5’s HDR mode gives you a live preview of what your shot will look like on-screen before you shoot. So yes, Samsung doesn’t seem to have changed its HDR mode algorithm much in the Galaxy S5 than what we have seen on other previous handsets, but it wasn’t the case. It’s good like it is!
5. Use Selective Focus
For those of you who don’t know, Selective focus is a special Galaxy S5 feature that lets you change the focal point of your photo so that it could look more professional. In case of owning Nokia Lumia 1020 and the LG G Pro 2, then you are probably aware of what we are talking about. Here’s what you have to do:
- If you want to turn it on, you just have to tap the icon with the two human heads in the camera viewfinder;
- In order to get the best results, stand at most 1.5 feet away from the closest object, while the object itself should be at least 4.5 feet away from the background;
- Tap on the object you want in your foreground;
- Now, it’s time to click the shutter;
- Then, enter to your Gallery;
- Click on the heads icon again in order to initiate selective focus;
- With selective focus, you can choose to sharpen only a nearby object, the background, or the entire image. The options that we are talking about are: Near, Far, and Pan focus. Near will bring your closest object into focus and blur out everything behind it, while Far sharpens only the background and Pan puts absolutely everything in focus;
- When you have made all your choices, tap “Done” to save your changes and that was all!
6. Other Scene/Extra Modes to Choose from
We know that HDR and Selective focus are put right at the top of the camera app, so it is very convenient to find and use them, but don’t forget that there are more modes within the Mode ‘drawer’ accessed by your right thumb. Here’s what you can find there:
- Beauty Face – we have seen it in Galaxy S4‘s Beauty Face, so we know for sure that this mode can easily remove skin blemishes and wrinkles from people’s faces;
- Auto Mode – this is an automatic shooting mode which doubles as a low-light mode; just use it and you’ll a difference in Galaxy S5’s shooting performance;
- Shot & More – do you remember that burst-shot effects we saw in the Galaxy S4? That’s exactly what we have in this case as well. After you have taken the burst of shots, you can choose between Best Photo, Best Face, Drama Shot, Easer and Panning shot sub-modes, with the more dynamic of these giving you the possibility to remove objects from a photo;
- Dual Camera – thanks to this mode which takes a photo, with a ‘postage stamp’ of the footage from the front camera embedded into the frame, you can take an image of your whole family, without missing out the member taking the snap;
- Panorama – this mode gives you the possibility to take almost-360-degree panorama shots, either vertically or horizontally, but be careful: they cannot be taken at full resolution;
- Virtual Tour – this mode lets you walk around your house, school, work place and so on taking photos and making a rolling composite video of these photos. It could be ideal if you want to show someone where you work or if you are a real-estate agent, so don’t hesitate to give it a try!;
Other modes: At the end, you should also know that you can download from the Samsung Apps store several other modes such as:
- Animated Photo – it gives you the possibility to add movement to your photos by choosing which parts to freeze and which parts to show motion. Samsung’s Galaxy camera takes a five second clip then lets you highlight certain parts of the image to animate and when you save the clip, it will be as a GIF file that can be easy uploaded to your favorite social networks;
- Surround Shot – this is an alternative to Panorama shooting which lets you capture a 360 degree spherical panorama and not a static horizontal or a vertical one. It works like we are used too already: you stand in place and move the camera around, captures individual images that will be united in order to produce a spherical panorama;
- Sports Shot – this takes photos of moving subjects preserving details when tracking fast-moving objects;
- Sequence Shot – this mode is ideal when it comes to taking rapid burst of shots and then playing them back in slow motion for capturing movement. The final images are far from high resolution, but there is no better way for doing this than using the Sequence Shot mode;
- Sound & Shot – if you want a second audio clip along with your photo, just use this mode, but don’t forget that you’ll have to share the final image as a video file.
7. Easily Launch the Camera on the Galaxy S5
There is more than one way for launching the camera on the Galaxy S5, but here we want to tell you about the easiest ones. Have you ever used the lock screen shortcut or the camera icon on your home screen? When you turn on your Samsung Galaxy S5 but it’s locked, you can tap and hold on the camera icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen and simply swipe in any direction to launch the camera.
After that, just tap the camera icon from your home screen and you’ll be prepared to take photo with the shutter key on the right side of the interface. The left edge of the screen also lets you choose between different shooting modes features or to toggle settings.
8. Use Grid for Better Photos
Galaxy S5 offers gridlines that act as a compositional aid for your photos, so be sure that thanks to them, the results are much better. Tap the Settings option in the camera app and scroll down to the bottom of the pop-up menu.
There is where you can find a feature toggle called ‘grid lines’. Tap it and four lines will appear on the screen. Don’t worry, they won’t show up in your photos, but they make it much easier to take a professional looking picture.
9. Use the rule of thirds
The grid lines are also perfect when it comes to applying the rule of thirds. This says that you should split your field of view into three vertical and horizontal slots, and then fit your focal points where these lines intersect.
We know that the rule of thirds is meant to break from once in a while, but learning it is an important step on the road of getting better photos.
10. Use Effects
Samsung Galaxy S5 has effects built into the default camera app, not to mention that you even get a live preview before pressing the shutter in order to understand how your final images might look like. The selection of filters such as faded colour, vintage, vignette, tint and fisheye, greyscale, sepia and that’s not all.
You can download a variety of other filters and effects through the Samsung Apps store; and if you know that some effects will never be used, feel free to hide them from the list. In order to do so, just tap Effects then scroll down to the bottom of the list and tap Manage Effects.
11. Take Advantage of Samsung’s White Balance
If you enable HDR or the Picture Stabilisation mode, you won’t be able to manually change the Galaxy S5’s ISO metering or White Balance settings. If you want greater control, you should disable these modes and change settings manually and enjoy the included four white balance modes.
12. Share your Most Recent Photos
Steps that have to be followed:
- After taking a few pictures, you’ll notice previews photos in the bottom-right corner of the screen. If you tap the preview and you’ll be taken into the picture viewer;
- There you’ll see a picture-by-picture timeline of every shot you’ve taken. Tap the image to bring up the interface;
- Now, it’s time to look for the share button which looks like three dots connected by two lines in the top bar;
- Tap it and you’ll see a standard Android share menu that shows every single app installed on your Galaxy S5 that can handle pictures;
- After that, just choose the app you want to share to on Google+, Facebook, Gmail and more and you’ll be taken to that app with the picture attached where you can share it.
If you want to return and share a picture that you took previously, follow these steps:
- Enter into your app drawer;
- Open the “Gallery” app;
- Select the photo you wish to share;
- You’ll immediately see the same menu for sharing as you did previously, where you can share out one or more pictures to the app of your choice.
Have these tips been useful? Get creative, mix them and enjoy your photos! And if you have any other suggestions for how to use your Samsung’s Galaxy camera, feel free to reach us through the Contact us page or the comments area. We’d love to hear your thoughts!