10 Top Photography Tips for the GALAXY S4 Zoom

via Tech Radar |

The Samsung GALAXY S4 zoom opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for superb picture-taking on the go.

Whether you want to shoot great photos while you are talking to friends on the phone or get the most out of the powerful 16MP camera and its customisable settings, you need to check out our top 10 photography tips to get the most out of your GALAXY S4 zoom.

1. Using the Zoom Ring

It’s impossible to miss the Samsung GALAXY S4 zoom’s crowning feature: the Zoom Ring. Mounted on the back of the handset just like a traditional compact camera, the Zoom Ring does more than just zoom. It also acts as a trigger for the Quick Launch and Shortcut features so you can open the camera to exactly the shooting mode you need.

As seasoned photographers will know, timing is everything: so one second you spot that perfect once-in-a-lifetime shot, the next you can be snapping it with the perfect camera set-up. Even if you’re on a call, you can take and share photos with nothing more than a twist of the Zoom Ring. Of course, it lives up to its name too, with the 10x optical zoom ensuring you can get as up close and personal to your subject as you want for that perfectly-framed photo.

GALAXY S4 zoom
Simple on-screen commands mask powerful customisable settings

2. Custom set-up

Unlike most cameraphones, the GALAXY S4 zoom allows you complete control over the 16MP camera and its functions.

Professionals will relish the opportunity to control the shutter speed to get the most out of fast-moving sporty shots and super-low-light subjects, as well as tweaking the white balance and focal lengths.

This means that you won’t have to rely on post-production to make the most of your shots – and it allows you to be more adventurous in the field, too.

Samsung GALAXY S4 zoom

3. Smart Mode

Of course, if you’re not that confident tweaking the settings yourself, you can let the GALAXY S4 zoom do it all for you.

Smart Mode handles the nitty-gritty camera adjustments for you so that you can concentrate on getting your shot. Samsung’s Smart Mode Suggest intelligently assesses the scene, giving you the best options based on the light level, focal length and face detection.

If you’re trying to get a shot of something moving, you’ll want to try out Action Freeze, which does just that – freezes the action on screen. Meanwhile, Drama Shot can capture a burst of photos and merge them into one perfect image.

GALAXY S4 zoom
The Xenon Flash on the S4 zoom is a real rarity on smartphones

4. Xenon Flash

The GALAXY S4 zoom comes with a high-end Xenon Flash, giving a shorter, brighter flash of light than the more common LEDs. While most compact cameras now have a Xenon Flash, they are still relatively rare on phones.

Since the Xenon Flash provides a lot more light than the LED flash you usually get on a cameraphone, you’ll get a much better ‘strobe’ of light as you capture your shot.

This has the effect of freezing motion as you snap and reduces the possibility of a blurry photo. Like the rest of the camera options, you can choose to have as little or as much control over the GALAXY S4 zoom’s flash as you like – either opt for the auto setting to have the device decide if the shot requires it, or toggle it on and off yourself.

GALAXY S4 zoom
The S4 zoom has tons of extra effects up its sleeve

5. Effects

As well as intelligently assessing scenes and detecting faces, the camera on the GALAXY S4 zoom has a number of nifty effects up its sleeve.

You can choose settings that optimise the S4 zoom for landscape, dawn and snow scenes, as well as opt for the Macro setting for super-close-up images.

To add a bit of magic you can try an Animated Photo, which allows you to capture a scene and create a cinemagraph-style photo containing both moving and static objects.

GALAXY S4 zoom
When you’ve lined up that perfect shot, the last thing you want to do is disturb it with the shutter button

6. Voice control

Buttons are so passé! And inconvenient too, when you’re trying to take a professional-grade selfie. Happily, the GALAXY S4 zoom comes complete with futuristic voice control.

This means you can mount the camera on a tripod, set up your shot and step in front of the camera yourself.

All you have to do is call out “Shoot” or the more traditional “Cheese!” and the shutter will click into action. Not only does this give you more freedom, it also means you’re less likely to blur the shot by moving even slightly as you reach to hit the shutter button. Plus, you’ll look pretty cool.

Photo Suggest would probably tell him to turn around and get a shot of those camels
Photo Suggest would probably tell him to turn around and get a shot of those camels

7. Photo Suggest

Photo Suggest is a nifty addition to the GALAXY S4 zoom, and should prove a confidence booster to beginners. It instantly gives you access to a library of images taken by other photographers, providing inspiration and helping you to frame your shots perfectly.

Inspiration is provided based on your location, making use of the S4 zoom’s GPS sensor. Photo Suggest can even live up to its name by suggesting locations nearby that could be worth a few snaps, based on what other users have experienced.

Who knows what could be lurking round that next corner? The shot of a lifetime, perhaps.

Samsung GALAXY S4
Even when fully zoomed-in, your photos will be sharp and clear thanks to OIS

8. Image stabilisation

Of course, blur shouldn’t be a problem given the professional-grade image stabilisation on board the GALAXY S4 zoom. Built into the handset is an Optical Image Stabilisation system (OIS) that helps keep the camera perfectly still to help you get that perfect shot.

This will prove particularly essential when you’re zoomed in 10x and every tiny breath you take has the potential to ruin your shot. If you still don’t quite trust yourself, a tripod could be the answer; the GALAXY S4 zoom comes with a tripod mount – and when coupled with voice control, there should be nothing getting in the way of those perfect pin-sharp shots.

GALAXY S4 zoom
Photos too good to keep to yourself

9. Sharing

There’s no point taking all these excellent pictures if no one ever gets to see them. First arrange them into an event-themed timeline to share with friends and family using Story Album.

You could then order prints of your favourites direct from the handset thanks to Samsung’s partnership with Blurb, or just quickly and easily save them to your laptop or a tablet via Samsung Link.

Pros can enjoy the freedom of choosing image formats from JPEG, PNG, GIF, WBMP, BMP and AGIF, while amateurs can rest happy in the knowledge that their images are being automatically taken in the best format for them.

The GALAXY S4 zoom also comes with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC for wirelessly sharing photos to other phones or via email and social networks. There’s no excuse for keeping them to yourself!

GALAXY S4 zoom
A powerful smartphone as well as a serious bit of camera kit

10. Apps

Because the GALAXY S4 zoom is a powerful Android 4.2 smartphone as well as a pro-grade camera, you can make use of the wealth of photography apps available.

From simple cropping to professional level image editing, you can always tweak your photos if they’re not exactly as you imagined them.

For olde time fun and a social bent, try an Instagram filter and share your photos to your Instagram network.

With photos this high quality, though, you might want to try and reach a more professional community, in which case a network like Flickr might be more up your street – or to try and make some cash from your hard work using an app like GloPho, which allows you to sell them as stock images.