Beginners Section

August 6, 2013

Taking & Browsing Photos Plus Videos



The camera on every Android phone, even by manufacturer is different in its capabilities, and the software that powers that camera is usually a bit different, too. We’ll walk through three examples of:

  1. How the camera software can function,
  2. How to get photos out of your camera,
  3. How to get photos onto your computer, into email, or onto the web for your friends and relatives to see.

Most Android phones have a dedicated “camera” button, usually on the lower-right side of the phone as you would normally hold it but not always. When you hold the camera sideways, therefore, the button is right where your right finger is used to feeling for a shutter button on a traditional phone.
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When your camera is activated, the screen becomes a combination of viewfinder and control panel. On the HTC One running the standard Android (4.3) Camera software, pictured above, the shot preview takes up the left side of the screen, and the controls are spread around the screen.

In most cases, for most shots, you don’t need to touch anything—your camera will automatically focus in the center and adjust all the levels it can to compensate for differences in lighting and color tone.

On the HTC One, they have a UltraPixel camera – an advanced imaging technology that offers a great leap in the quality of point-and-shoot photos and video  offers up a handful of settings you can change from shot to shot.

On the HTC One running along the top you will see something like this:


At the very top, starting from the left is the three dot option menu, Zoe mode and Flash options. AT the bottom are the Video, Camera and preview buttons.
Starting with the three dot options you will see something like this

Allows you to choose Photo Capture Mode. HDR – High Dynamic Range The Fungi picture at the top was taken using HDR.

Zoe is specific to the HTC ONE.

Flash options are just that Always Flash, Auto Flash and Flash Off. Tapping the icon changes the option.

Camera_portrait_Zoom Slider_WM
And finally we have the Zoom Option, by pressing and sliding the small white dot allows you to zoom in or out which I did with the Fungi shot.

Shooting Video

Shooting video isn’t all that different from grabbing pictures on an Android camera. On my HTC One with the stock Android interface, in fact, it’s exactly the same app—just a tap on the  video icon, and we’re recording.
On other phones, there’s a separate “Camcorder” app shortcut, but it’s almost always the same as opening the Camera and changing the mode to video. If you have the HTC One check out the video here.

Reviewing Your Shots and Clips in the Gallery

Just nabbed the perfect shot? It’s easy to share it with friends, whether they’re right next to you or thousands of miles away. On most cameras, right after you capture an image, you’ll see it on your phone’s screen for a few seconds. While it’s up there, you can tap one of the on-screen buttons to keep it there, or quickly share it through the web or one of your apps:

In the case of an HTC One, the fungi picture above, you tap the preview icon options, from left: Bring the image up in the full “Gallery” display (more on that in just a bit); Share the image through email, SMS, or other means; Delete it, because you’re not a fan; or quickly head back to the regular shooting Camera mode.

But if a few seconds go by, or you take quite a few pictures and want to review them all, you can press the thumbnail in the corner of your Camera mode to get a bigger, more functional view of your photos and videos. This is the Gallery, which you can also get to through the shortcut in your app tray:

Like the Camera mode, the Gallery has been customized in different ways on most Android phones. Among all the galleries, though, there’s a basic operation. You can “flick” through your photos by swiping left and right on most any modern Android phone. Tap an image for a closer look, and hit the Menu button to get a menu of options like those you saw above: Share, Delete, go back to Camera, etc.

With the latest Google updates you can now upload your pictures automatically. If you have Google + ticked (in your Google email account settings) then you will be notified that the pictures are ready to be shared. Gone are the days of laborious clicks and ticking pictures that seemed to take forever to do. Various apps now upload your pictures instantly, once you have set them up.

When you click an individual photo to view it, you’ll often have the option to make a few adjustments right there on your phone before sharing it or stashing it away. On the stock Android Gallery, for example, you can hit the “More” menu on a photo, then select “Crop” to trim a shot down to its essentials. Use your fingers to expand the margins of the cropping area:

Cropping and rotating are helpful, but you can also use the “Set As” function found on most phones to set an image as a contact icon, a wallpaper, or as some other photo background on your phone. You’ll use the same finger controls to set the margins of your wallpaper, which varies depending on your phone resolution and screen size.

Desktop Apps for Managing Photos

Some Android models come with software for your Windows or Mac computer that help manage your phone’s files, including pictures. When you plug in the HTC One for instance, The HTC Sync Manager if you have downloaded it will sync all you files, music, docs etc. as well as pictures.

If you already know and use a great photo management software, go ahead and keep using it.

One last point here is the use of cloud apps. Several manufacturers now give you free space. HTC give you for example 25GB of Dropbox for two years. I’ve gotten into the habit of uploading my pictures to my Box account  and Picturelife which automatically uploads my pictures. Then I delete those I don’t want to keep on my phone, knowing that are ready for me to download when I want to.

Have fun

There are plenty of guides to come,  like Google Play Store and Apps,and that’s precisely what we’re covering next.Checkout the Guides in the Beginners Section.


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Dave Thornton

Senior Editor

Senior Editor
Been involved in technology for many years, more than I care to remember. Live in Dundee, Scotland. I like Android, Windows Phone OS, BlackBerry OS and iOS, and love writing about all things techie. Currently have a Honor 6+, Elephone P6000, Nexus 5, Chrombook C720, HTC One M7, Nokia Lumina 625, Microsoft Lumia 435, Blackberry Q10, HTC Hero and iPad mini