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3 hidden Samsung Galaxy camera features you should be using

Samsung's kitchen sink approach to features carries over to its camera app, where the most useful tools are hidden in plain sight.
Written by June Wan, Technology Editor on
Reviewed by Alyson Windsor
Taking a photo with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 flex camera
June Wan/ZDNET

It's true, smartphone cameras have gotten so good over the past years that no matter which flagship (or even mid-range device) you buy, the output should be more than passable. Now, it's just a matter of how we can capture even better photos.

Also: How to use the Galaxy S23's new magical Photoshop-like trick

In this guide, I'll break down three hidden camera features found on Samsung Galaxy devices, because (1) Samsung smartphones make up a good chunk of the global market, and (2) they're often packed with a few too many features for a regular person to sufficiently explore -- many of which, sadly, are actually quite useful. Read on.

1. Shot suggestions for better framing

As weird as it sounds, I like to compare framing a photo to plating food. How the food (or, in a photo's case, the subject) is presented evokes a certain emotion and response, either positively or negatively. That's why Samsung's Shot suggestions is a feature I highly recommend turning on, even if you no longer consider yourself to be a beginner photographer.

Review: Samsung's Galaxy S23 Plus is the Goldilocks of its 2023 smartphone lineup

The feature, which is turned off by default, uses your phone's AI object detection to give you an indicator of where to best position the camera. With a bit of shifting and tilting, you can easily capture your subject without it looking off-centered. Here's a GIF demoing Shot suggestions.

June Wan/ZDNET

You can turn on the feature by opening the camera app, tapping the settings icon (gear), and then toggling on "Shot suggestions".

2. Floating shutter button

I feel like I say this year after year but smartphones are becoming increasingly unwieldy. The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra that I recently reviewed had a massive 6.8-inch display which, especially when encased by a case, made taking photos an ergonomic nightmare. 

Review: Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Best smartphone of the year (so far)

One feature that genuinely helps with capturing photos and videos in comfort is the floating shutter button. It's a setting that's existed in Galaxy phones for years now, but I'm always surprised by the number of people who don't know about it, and are delighted when they do. 

June Wan/ZDNET

You can activate the floating shutter button by opening the camera app, tapping the settings icon, then "Shooting methods", and toggling on "Floating Shutter button". 

Also: The 6 best Samsung phones   

Also: Google Pixel's magical camera feature is finally coming to iPhones (and other Android phones)

To use the feature, all you have to do is, from the main camera screen, swipe outward from the shutter button as if you're pulling it away from its default spot. A second shutter button should appear, which you can drag to anywhere on the screen that you'd like. I've found the upper right corner to be the most natural when the phone is held in landscape orientation.

3. Hands-free capturing

When it comes to taking family photos or really anything that involves setting the phone down, a countdown timer is often your best friend. But, to save someone from having to set a timer and quickly find an open spot to squeeze in, try using a voice command or palm gesture to trigger the photo capture.

Also: 5 hidden features on the new Galaxy S23 series

From the camera settings, tap on "Shooting methods", and then toggle on "Voice commands", "Show palm", or both. You can use them interchangeably. When activated, you can trigger your phone's shutter button when you say one of the keywords ("Smile", "Cheese", or even "Record video") or simply show your palm -- think waving your hand at the camera. 

The best part is, both methods automatically set a two-second timer so you have a moment to set your hand down and position yourself just right.

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