How to snap iPhone photos faster with iOS 5


How to snap iPhone photos faster with iOS 5
Mac Tip #526, 07 March 2012

Fumbling to get the camera app started up is annoying when a photo opportunity is right there in front of you. Learn how to get quick access to the camera on your iPhone with iOS 5, and where convenient extra shutter buttons are — including the ones to trigger the shutter remotely.

Quick Start

  1. Press the Home button twice from the Lock screen and then the camera icon to call up Camera.app.
  2. Use the Volume + button on the iPhone, the earbuds or a connected Bluetooth device to take the shot.

Want more detail? Read the full Tip below.

Get right to the Camera app from the Lock screen

If you take your iPhone out of a pocket and press the Home or Power button to wake it up the next thing you may see is the Lock screen.

Normally you might slide the arrow to the right to unlock the iPhone and then find the Camera app so you can take a photo.

With iOS 5 there’s a really useful shortcut.

The camera icon on the Lock screen.

The camera icon on the Lock screen.

  1. Press the Home or Power button to wake the iPhone.
  2. Press the Home button twice quickly. A small camera icon appears at the right-hand end of the Lock screen. [Update 07 March 2012: iOS 5.1 adds the camera icon permanently to the Lock screen, so you don't need to do this step.]
  3. Tap the camera icon to open the Camera app without unlocking your iPhone. On iOS 5.1 slide the screen up, rather than just tapping the icon. The camera app opens and you can take a photo.

3 ways to trigger the shutter

Once the Camera app is open you’ll want to capture the photo. The shutter button is fairly obvious in the Toolbar, but it’s not always convenient or easy to reach, depending on how you’re holding the phone.

The shutter button shows a camera icon and is located close to the Home button.

The shutter button shows a camera icon and is located close to the Home button. Depending how you’re holding the Phone though that shutter button may be at top, bottom, left or right of the screen.

Here are 3 ways to actually capture the photo.

  1. Tap the camera icon in the Toolbar beside the Home button. Depending on how you’re holding the phone this icon could be at bottom, top or on either side. Note: I just realised while writing this Tip that the icon swivels as you turn the phone so the icon is always the ‘right’ way up.
  2. Press the Volume + hardware button on the side of the iPhone. Note: unfortunately the Volume - hardware button doesn’t also operate the shutter.
  3. Press the Volume + hardware button on the earbuds cord.

Even more shutter release options

If you have a Bluetooth device paired with your iPhone and that device has a Volume + hardware button then you can use that too. An example may be a wireless keyboard.

Being able to use a Volume + hardware button on a device linked to your iPhone means you effectively have a remote shutter release, making it possible to eliminate camera shake if the iPhone’s propped up on something solid, rather than in your hand.

The iPhone 4S camera takes great pictures

The outward-facing camera on the back of an iPhone 4S has a stunning 8 megapixel resolution. I find it takes great pictures for me.

For example, one day recently after our dogs had been groomed I belted them in to the back seat of the car and quickly grabbed the shot below. To add the picture to the web site I had to resize it and reduce the quality, but it still looks pretty good. This photo hasn’t had any other editing applied.

Oshi and Sasha  in the car. February 2012.

Oshi and Sasha in the car. February 2012.

With a bit of cropping and exposure adjustment, of course, it looks even better.

I find I take more photos than ever now I have an iPhone 4S. And remember, you can snap photos of anything — the spot where you parked your car, the pricetag on an item you’re interested in while shopping, the washing instructions on a clothing label, an amusing sign on the street, a strange bug, the cute thing your dog / cat / baby / friend is doing.

Some people think all photos need to be important and carefully composed. Maybe. But I think the iPhone makes a wonderful tool for snapshots. Just take it out and get snapping. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the results.

Tell us in the Comments online how this Tip helped you.

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