Take photos and videos using the Camera app on the iPad

Take photos & videos with the iPad Camera app

There are many features in the iOS 8 iPad and iPhone Camera app.  Here is an overview of some of the features of the camera as well as look at metadata and viewing your photos.


Accessing the Camera

How often have you seen a great moment unfold in front of your eyes, only to realize that it’s gone by the time you’re ready to take a picture? While that happens to all of us, you can improve your chances of taking the perfect shot if you know how to access the camera quickly.

Swipe Up For Quick Access

The fastest and most convenient way to access the camera is from lock screen. Do you see the camera icon at the bottom right corner in the screenshot below? Just swipe up from there and you’ll open the camera immediately  you don’t even need to enter your passcode if the iPhone is locked! With this trick you can literally start shooting in less than a second!


Use the Control Center

If you’re already using your iPad, you can swipe up from the bottom of the screen and open the Control Center. Tap the Camera icon.

Use the Camera App

The iPad comes pre-installed with the Camera app.

Turn On The Grid  Composing your photos

The grid  which consists of two horizontal and two vertical lines that divide the screen into three equal parts  is one of the most useful photography tools on the iPhone. It’s great for applying the rule of thirds, keeping the horizon straight, and it serves as a reminder to always think about composition when taking a photo. To turn on the grid in iOS 8, go to Settings, scroll down to Photos & Camera, and make sure that Grid slider is turned on.

Shoot in Burst mode

The burst mode is one of the most useful shooting features inside the iOS 8 Camera app. To activate burst mode simply hold down the shutter button for half a second or longer, and the iPhone will start taking photos one after another. On the iPad and iPhone 6, you can get as many as 10 photos per second.

The burst mode is useful whenever there’s any movement or unpredictability inside the scene. It’s nearly impossible to catch the perfect moment of a child playing or a flock of seagulls surrounding a person, which is why the burst mode is a great tool for getting the moment exactly right.

Burst mode can also be used to capture the movement of people. As humans walk they go through different stages, and the brief moment when the forward foot is about to hit the ground usually looks best in photos. Since your subjects move their feet rather quickly, burst mode can be a great tool for capturing that magical moment.

View the photos taken by burst mode in the Camera roll. Here you can select the photos you want to keep and delete the rest.


Set Focus and Exposure

One of the most essential features of the iPhone’s camera is the ability to set focus and exposure by tapping anywhere on the screen. If you don’t set focus and exposure, the iPad will do that for you, and most of the time it does a fairly good job. After all, that’s how most iPad users take all their photos.

However, there are times when autofocus fails and your photos end up blurred. For this reason you should always set focus and exposure manually to make sure that your photos are sharp

Manual Exposure Adjustment

This is a fantastic new tool which is going to make such a difference when trying to get the right exposure using thenative Camera app. Previously, you had to set focus and exposuretogether, which was often frustrating as you might want to set focus for one part of the scene and exposure for another. You could use other camera apps such as Camera+t o take photos with separate focus and exposure points, but now you can use the native Camera app to set the focus and then manually adjust the exposure before taking the photo.

Start by tapping (or tapping and holding) the part of the screen that you want to set focus for  this would normally be on the main subject of the photo to ensure that it is in sharp focus.

Adjust the Exposure

When you tap to set focus, a yellow square with a sun icon appears where you tapped toindicate the focus point. This is also the point that the camera has set exposure for.

However, oftenthe exposurethat the camera sets based on the focus point doesn’t look good. In the sunflowers photo above, the exposure of the image is a bit dark. If your photo looks too bright or too dark, you can now adjust the exposure without changing the focus point.

Simply swipe up or down anywhere on the screen  up to make the image brighter ordown to make it darker. As you swipe up or down you’ll see the sun icon move on the slider. Sometimes, when you set focus and exposure by tapping on the screen, the exposure doesn’t look quite right  the image may appear under-exposed (too dark) or over-exposed (too bright). In these cases you can manually adjust the exposure before taking the photo.

If you want to start again and focus/expose for a different partof the scene, simply tapona different area of the screen and start again.

Lock Focus And Exposure

Besides setting focus and exposure, the iPhone also allows you to lock them. Simply tap the screen where you want to set focus and exposure, but instead of releasing your finger hold it down for a couple of seconds. A larger square will appear where your finger is along with a yellow AE/AF LOCK sign. No matter what happens inside the frame or how you move the iPad, the focus and exposure will remain unchanged and autofocus will be effectively disabled. Here’s what happens as I move the iPad further from the subject.

This shot of a table tennis table has a very distinct foreground and background, and the foreground has significantly less light than the background.

In this case tap the screen where the table tennis ball is. This sets the focus and exposure on the ball. The background is now overexposed (too bright) and out of focus.


Why should you lock the exposure and focus?

Whenever there are significant changes inside the frame, the iPad will automatically adjust focus and exposure for you. If you’ve already set focus and exposure and a person walks through the scene, the iPad will automatically readjust, but this adjustment takes time and any photos you take during that time will likely be blurred.

Even worse, the way you set focus and exposure will be lost and you’ll have to start all over. If you are expecting movement in the scene, it is a good idea to lock focus and exposure. This is very useful in street photography, where you can set focus and exposure in advance and wait for a person to pass through the frame.

Take HDR Photos

HDR, which stands for High Dynamic Range, is another great photography tool that’s built into the camera of your iPad. While there’s a lot to say about HDR photography with the iPad, what you really need to know is that it combines three different exposures of the same photo in rapid succession. These three photos are taken in standard, over, and under exposed modes and the three images are combined to produce the best picture.

Without HDR, you get one of two things: either your subject is perfectly lit but the rest of the image is washed out, or the background of your photo is well-lit but the foreground is darker and slightly out of focus.


How to shoot an HDR photo

When getting ready to shoot an HDR photograph, you want to choose your subject as your focal point. This ensures that the main portion of your image will be properly exposed, and gives the iPad’s processor more to work with when creating your HDR picture. Test several focal points when you first start shooting HDR, so that you can create your ideal result.

As cool as it is, HDR is not a fix-all; it can’t create brightness where there is none, like in the very dim light of a restaurant or at dusk. Your device’s flash is disabled when using HDR, but you can use another device’s screen or flash to provide some ambient light; this gives your iPad more data to work with so that it can add more detail to the shadows.

Viewing HDR images in your Camera Roll

By default, when you shoot an image with HDR turned on, your device keeps both photosthe original unaltered image, and the merged HDR photo. If you’d prefer to not keep the original image, open up the Settings App and go to Photos & Camera > Keep Normal Photo. Disable the switch, and when you next take an HDR photo, only the altered version will appear in your Camera Roll. If you keep this enabled, you could compare both versions to decide if you should take a new shot.

To tell the difference between your normal and HDR images in your Camera Roll, look for the HDR image markerwhen you tap on an altered image, you’ll see a slightly opaque icon in the upper left corner of the image that says “HDR.”


The native Camera app now includes a self-timer that enables you to set a 3 second or 10 second delay when taking photos. This is great for when you want to be in the photo yourself, or if you’re taking photos in low light on a tripod where pressing the shutter button is likely to introduce camera shake.

  • Open the Camera app (Self-timer is availablefor Photo and Square mode only (not for video or Time-lapse))
  • Tap on the timer icon near the shutter. On the iPad, the timer icon is above the shutter, near the HDR option.
  • When you tap, you get three options: no timer, 3s timer, 10s timer.
  • Tap on the timer value to enable the self-timer.

Test the timer by tapping on the shutter. You should see a countdown on the screen before the shutter clicks.

Time Lapse video

In iOS 8 you can now also create time-lapse videos that enable you to film a scene over a period of time and then speed up the footage so that everything appears to move much more quickly.

To access time-lapse video mode, swipe through the list of shooting modes (video, photo, square, pano, etc.) next to the shutter button until Time-Lapse is selected. You can set focus and exposure in the same way as when you take a photo, then tap the shutter button to start recording.

Set your iOS device on a solid surface, free of any vibration or movement with the lens pointed towards whatever you want to record, and tap on the red record button. The device will then begin dynamically capturing photos at an interval of its choosing. When you're finished, tap the red button again and marvel at your masterpiece. Remember, the longer you record, the longer your time-lapse video will be.


With the recent launch of the new  Hyperlapse app by  Instagram, everyone is talking about time-lapse videos, so this might be a popular addition to the Camera app.

However, it doesn’t have the same choice of options as Hyperlapse, such as being able to choose the rate at which the footage issped up or the option to share on Instagram. So if you’re serious about time-lapse photography, the native Camera app may not offer you all youneed.

How to take a Panorama (Pano)

By taking a video-like stream of successive frames, the iPad can stitch together a single photo greater than the sum of its parts. You can take a "pano" from either left to right or right to left, and you can even rotate your iPad and take one from up to down or down to up.

  1. Launch the Camera app on your iPad or iPhone.
  2. Swipe to change modes from normal camera mode to panorama mode.
  3. The iPad defaults to portrait mode from panoramas so make sure you are holding your iPad that way and not in landscape mode.
  4. By default, panoramas always start on the left and want you to pan to the right. You can change this by tapping the arrow to change directions.
  5. Tap the capture button to start taking a panoramic photo.
  6. Keep your feet firmly planted and make sure the arrow stays on the line as you pan from right to left.
  7. Once you're done taking your pano, simply tap the capture button again.

To take a vertical panoramma with your iPad or iPhone, instead of panning left to right, pan up and down instead.

Geotagging photos

When you launch the Camera app on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad for the first time it'll ask you if it can use your location. That uses Wi-Fi router mapping, and, if available, cell-tower triangulation and GPS to determine where you are and record that information along with the photo. This is called geotagging.  It's great if you want to keep track of where you took your pictures, like on a photo walk or a vacation, but if you want to protect your privacy and keep your location undisclosed, it's not so good. Luckily, even if you allowed location the first time, you can change your mind at any time.

You can view the location of your photos on a map in the Photos app. In the Moments or collection view, tap the location and your photos open in Map view. If the photo does not appear on a map, then you have disabled your camera from accessing your location.

How to enable or disable GPS location tagging on your iPhone or iPad

  1. Launch the Settings app from your iPhone or iPad Home screen.
  2. Tap on Privacy.
  3. Tap on Location Services.
  4. Tap on Camera.
  5. Choose either While Using the App or Never.


View the metadata of your iPad’s photos

Every time you take a photo, whether it is with your iPad, iPhone or an actual camera, a bunch of data is automatically added to the file of that photo. Thismetadata,as it is called in photography, is the data about the data of your photos.

There are several types of metadata that can list various points of information about your photos. If some of this metadata can be input by the photographer himself, other metadata is written automatically by your iPhone as you shoot a photo. There is for example EXIF, GPS and TIFF metadata, which are automatically attached to the file of a photo you take with your iPad.

General metadata includes: the file size, file name, file size and more.

EXIF data includes: aperture value, brightness value, focal length, the lens model, shutter speed value, and more.



Access the meta data on your iPad or iPhone

To access the metadata of your iPhone pictures, we will need an app called Photo Investigator, which is a free download in the App Store. This isn’t the only app in the App Store that lets you see the metadata of your iPad or Phone photos, but it seems to be the best one I could find.  It is a free ad-supported app

1)Download Photo Investigatorfrom the App Store. Launch the app and allow it to access your photos.

2)Tap on the Photo library icon at the lower left corner of the screen. This will load all your photo albums.

3)Tap on a photo album and select the photo for which you want to see the metadata. You will notice that photos with a globe icon have GPS metadata, and photos with a clock icon have an EXIF timestamp.

4)After selecting a photo, you will automatically be taken to a list of metadata available. From there, you can see the photo EXIF, GPS data, and more.

Now it’s up to you to figure out what you want to do with the metadata of your photos. You can for example use it to find out where a photo that was emailed to you was taken. Or maybe you want to know what camera was used to take that photo. Quite frankly, there is so much information in a photo’s metadata that you probably won’t know what to do with it all.

At least now you know how to access this metadata.