How to Take Great Panoramic Pics with Your New Galaxy S4

Panoramic Galaxy S4

Going on an adventure is a ton of fun, but the one thing you need is a phone that can document everything. You’ve decided on a Samsung Galaxy S4, the latest and greatest smartphone, but how do you go about taking a great panoramic shot? There are a number of factors that can impact your photo. Here are a few tips on how to take an amazing panoramic shot with your shiny new smartphone.

The Setup

Panoramic Galaxy S4
Image via Flickr by Kārlis Dambrāns

First things first, you have to know how to get to panorama mode. Open up the camera mode and tap the mode button. The mode button is found next to the shutter release button, and the icon looks like a camera inside of an oval. You’ll see many modes pop up — beauty face, best photo, best face, sound and shot, eraser, and more. Tap panorama.

How it Works

Taking a panorama shot is more than just clicking an image and rotating the camera around. Once you select the panorama mode, you’ll see a grid appear on the screen. At the bottom, you’ll see a long, thin box with a blue bar inside of it. The idea is to keep the blue bar in the middle as you slowly rotate the camera from left to right so you’ll end up with a completely balanced shot. Now that you understand the basics, let’s help you take an amazing shot.

Be Aware of Your Subject

Keep in mind that the camera, no matter how advanced, can’t work miracles. If you’re outside at night, there’s a good chance that your panoramic shot will come out as complete garbage. You’ll want to make sure that there’s adequate lighting for capturing the image. As much as you can, try to limit any movement in the environment. Any movement that the camera picks up will destroy the entire image.

Adjust Settings

Though the camera adjusts most of the settings for you, there are still a few settings that you’ll need to adjust. You’ll want to either adjust the brightness level or set it to automatic. You’ll want to see the image as you’re taking it, so having a bright screen is essential. You can adjust the ISO, which determines how sensitive the camera sensor is to light. If you’re in direct sunlight, the best ISO setting is 100, but if you’re in a low-light environment, raise it. The higher the ISO, though, the more noise that appears in the image.

You may also need to change the exposure levels. The higher the exposure, the brighter the shot, but it could wash out the shot. Washing out the image means losing those fine details in the image. If you have a low exposure, you’ll get a darker shot, but the photo will likely have richer detail. You may have to adjust this setting each time you go to take a shot.

Add Data

One of the coolest things about taking photos with the S4 is that you can add data to the picture. The S4 comes stock with a feature that allows your phone to use the GPS to determine where you are and labels the image for you. It lists the location, the weather at the time of capture, and the shooting mode that you used.

Don’t Freehand

The one thing that you should never do for a truly amazing panoramic shot is freehand the image. If you freehand the image, you’ll end up with an image that’s warped. For a truly perfect shot, you’ll want to get a tripod for your Galaxy S4. The tripods available for this phone are fairly inexpensive, and as long as it’s on a tripod, the shot will look perfect every time.

Displaying Your Work

There are a ton of options for displaying your work, from prints to canvas. If you want, you can print it off or send it with a friend. Since panoramic images are essentially three really high-quality pictures strung together, they’re really large in size. You’ll need a speedy connection to send your shots. The best mobile connection available is a 4G connection, so you’ll want to check the T-Mobile 4g coverage map to make sure that coverage will be available in the area that you want to take the image in. You can send the picture outside of coverage areas, of course, but it will be significantly slower.

Taking a great panoramic shot isn’t easy, but after getting a tripod and adjusting a few settings, you’ll be taking and sharing pictures in no time. Just be mindful of your data usage as sharing these pictures can take up to four times the amount of data as sending a normal picture, or even more than that, depending on how many pictures you stitch together.

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