The addition of a Camera on a Smartphone can be called one of the best innovations of our time. Smartphones give users the delightful opportunity to capture exciting moments of their life minus the requirement of carrying a Camera as an extra appendage, and with more powerful Smartphone Cameras turning up everyday, capable of taking better pictures.However, it only takes a blink of an eye for a normal moment to turn into one which you would want to capture a snap of, and back again. Losing such occasions could be very disheartening, especially if you couldn’t shoot that instant because of the time it took you to Grab your smartphone from your pocket, unlock the screen, open the camera app etc.
The fact is that a dedicated Camera button as available on some smartphones today will bring speedy access to the Camera app. But with access to the home screen protected by various locks, such as a PIN lock, pattern lock etc, this access isn’t guaranteed either. What will actually help the user is the ability to gain quick access right from the Lock Screen. Precious moments are scarce, and to help you preserve them forever through pictures, let us talk about a few ways to take better and faster pictures.
Fastest Access To Camera App From Lock Screen
Most manufacturers today understand our need to take photos in a heartbeat, and provide us with an option to do so in the current Android operating systems, with the help of Lock Screen Widgets and shortcuts. Using these widgets which are available from stock, users can access the Camera app directly without unlocking the lock screen. This saves us the precious time which would otherwise be spent in unlocking the phone.
For instance, Samsung devices allow users to place a Camera shortcut on the lock screen through the Lock Screen settings menu. Users can then choose ‘Shortcuts’ under ‘Lock screen options’, to customize shortcuts.
Using a small ‘+’ sign that is available on the ‘Set Shortcuts’ screen, the stock camera app or a third party camera app can be added, and would be accessible from the lock screen.
The Lock screen settings on some Samsung devices also have an option called ‘Camera Quick Access’ through which users can hold the lock screen while rotating the device to open the camera.
Similarly, the latest HTC devices, such as the recently launched HTC One M8, allow users to change the Lock screen shortcuts by changing the apps on the app dock of their BlinkFeed app, and thus introduce a camera shortcut on the lock screen.
Using Third Party Lock Screen Apps
Some devices might not come with a manufacturer-provided ability to add Widgets/Shortcuts to the lock screen. In case of these devices, users can download and install third party lock screen apps to add a camera Widget to the Lock Screen. Some of the popular apps which provide users with replacement Lock screens are Start, Go Locker , Lockscreen Shortcuts, Lockscreen Free, Quick launch etc.
These apps serve as lock screen replacements. Instead of the stock lock screen, the lock screen provided by these apps will open when user wake their devices up from sleep and users can directly launch apps from the lock screen using them. For example, with the Start app users merely have to slide a ring on the lock screen to the desired camera app, and the app will be launched.
Quick Launch provides a lock screen replacement for android devices where widgets can be added from amongst the existing widgets on the device. Users can add a Camera app Widget to access the camera app. The app also provides a shortcut to access the camera by default.
Using Hand Gestures
A recent advancement in the smartphone scene has been the introduction of hand and motion Gestures to perform tasks. Some manufacturers like Samsung incorporate a few hand gestures into their stock OS. Based on the same principle, some third party apps from the Play Store can provide users the ability to access Camera app using hand gestures and movement.
Shake is one such app, which can be used to access any app by shaking the device. It provides the option of choosing different apps to open for Horizontal and Vertical shakes, or to open one app for a simple shake. Users can use this app even when the device is locked. Tasker is another app which can use motion gestures to automate the task of opening the Camera app.
Using Screen Gestures
There are alternatives to skip the lock screen and jump to the Camera app when the Smartphone is in your pocket, but opening the Camera app while the user is accessing another app’s functions, such as say playing a game or listening to music, is also time-taking. Fortunately, there are some On-Screen Gesture apps which allow the user to access the Camera app from anywhere.
Swipe Panel is an add-on for the Go Locker app mentioned above which provides a panel to the user which can be swiped from the left edge of the screen. Users can keep a number of app shortcuts for Quick Access. The noteworthy thing about Swipe Panel is that it is also available on the lock screen, thus eliminating the need for a Lock screen shortcut or widget.
Similarly, Switchr allows the user to quickly access apps from its panel. Users have the option of choosing a flow, slide or arc panel and can place a Camera app shortcut here.
SwipePad provides virtual pads which can be dragged from various edges of the device, as per the users choice. These Pads can contain up to 12 customizable slots where app shortcuts can be placed, including the Camera app shortcut.
Taking Pictures without delays
While the user may be able to access his stock camera app quickly using one of the methods mentioned above, the rate at which his device takes pictures will be decided by his stock Camera app. Unfortunately, even big manufacturers sometimes have the tendency to supply crappy stock Camera apps with their good devices.
As a solution to this problem, many great Camera apps are present which not only snap photos quickly, but also provide users with additional option such as burst (continuous) mode which allows them to take a number of photos in a short duration.
Fast Burst Camera Lite allows users to take up to 30 Photos per second. Users can either click fast single shots or hold down the shoot button in the full burst mode. The app also allows users to choose the ‘best picture’ from amongst all the burst pictures taken. When taking burst shots, an indicator on the bottom left of the interface of this app increases as the number of images created in the burst shot increases.
Similarly, High Speed Camera takes up to 40 shots per second. All in all, a user can take up to 50 burst shots with the help of this app in one go and choose the best shot amongst them. Using burst shots from this app users can also capture motion.
When the user holds down the shoot button on this app, the complex interface of this app gives way to a simple interface with the number of burst shots that have been taken displayed in the center. This number keeps on increasing as the users keeps on holding the shoot button.
Taking Photos with a smartphone becomes a pleasurable experience for the user when the Camera app is quick and reliable. An app which is slow in taking pictures, crashes often, doesn’t have too many features etc. will end up forcing the user to look for other options. Luckily, presence of various third party apps provide users today with multiple alternatives.With manufacturers becoming more aware of the importance of the stock camera app, more features such as the burst mode are being included in the stock camera app today.
Moreover, realizing the significance of quick access to the Camera, manufacturers also include some device specific options for providing users easy accessibility to the Camera app, such as the Quick Camera access in some Samsung phones discussed earlier. Users should make sure that they enjoy the benefit of these apps and our other suggestions to get the most out of the Camera on their device. Not only will that make sure that users don’t miss capturing another interesting moment on their smartphone, but it will also make the whole Camera experience on their device a thoroughly enjoyable one.