iOS 8 Camera Features

While many of the iPhone’s same great picture snapping features remain the same, there are a few new additions with iOS 8 that help you take the best shot possible.

Binging on burst shooting

Even top-notch photographers need help sometimes getting that perfect action shot or sequence of shots. Burst mode provides that help on the iPhone 5s and later models. Shoot with confidence, knowing that you won’t miss Junior kicking in the game-winner in soccer. (Through software enhancements in iOS 8, Apple improved the slower burst mode capabilities on some older iPhone models.)

Capturing pictures rapid fire couldn’t be any easier. When you’re ready to shoot, press your finger against the camera button and keep it there until you’re satisfied that you have what you want. The A7 chip in the 5s and the A8 chip in the 6 and 6 Plus include an image signal processor that works with the iSight camera and the camera’s software to automatically focus the burst photos.

With the 6 and 6 Plus, Apple added this burst capability to the FaceTime HD camera. For the vainest selfies or group shots, the iPhone will capture each and every one. Burst mode bursts out 10 images per second on this front camera as well, and Apple says every burst sequence is analyzed in real time for sharpness and clarity.

Face detection has also been improved, and Apple even claims to better identify blinks and smiles.

Speaking of selfies, the FaceTime camera on the 6 and 6 Plus also has an f/2.2 aperture. With that aperture and a new sensor, Apple claims that the FaceTime camera can capture 81 percent more light.

The burst mode is a great feature. But Apple recognized that in most cases, you’re probably not going to want to keep each and every photo you take during your shooting binge. Fortunately, the software in the phone processes the images in real time and suggests the pictures it thinks you’ll like the most based on factors such as clarity, sharpness, and even whether a subject’s eyes are closed.

So how does Apple surface the best pictures? So glad you asked.

Tap the thumbnail preview of the last shot taken. You are transported to the iPhone’s Recently Added folder (or Camera Roll), where all the pictures you’ve shot on the phone (and haven’t subsequently deleted) hang out. You can get to the Recently Added folder (or Camera Roll) also from the Photos app.

You can tell whether a photo is part of a shooting binge in three ways. In the first way, the word Burst appears in the upper left of the image, with a numerical count of burst photos in parentheses. The second way is by visiting the premade Bursts album that Apple conveniently supplies for your bursts of expression. Still another way is exposed when you come to the Recently Added folder (or Camera Roll) from the Camera or Photos app.

The thumbnail that represents this sequence of shots will appear as though it’s sitting on a stack of photos. (You’ll see this thumbnail stack also when you come to moments view in the Photos app.) Tap the thumbnail now.

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You see a Select button at the bottom of the picture from a burst sequence. Tap Select. The selected image from your burst appears front and center, bordered by the edges of other photos from the sequence, which in this view you can barely see.

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At the bottom of the display is a strip of thumbnails, each representing a picture from this batch. Below one or more of these images, you may see a grey dot, indicating that the photo is one that Apple has determined is the best or among the best of the bunch. Scroll to the left or right to examine the other pictures in the grouping.

As you scroll, if you agree with Apple’s suggestions and want to keep a selected image, tap the circle in the lower-right corner of the image so that a check mark appears, which prepares the photo to be copied as a stand-alone image in the Recently Added album (or Camera Roll). Tap Done.

You are given the option at that point to keep all the photos that the iPhone captured as part of your burst sequence or just the one or more images that you’ve manually selected. Indeed, absolutely nothing is stopping you from checking off pictures that Apple has not elevated to chosen status so that they too become stand-alones in Recently Added.

If you’re not satisfied with any of the pictures, you can deep-six them all. Open Recently Added from the Photos app, tap the thumbnail for this particular burst, and tap the delete icon in the bottom-right corner. Apple will make doubly sure that you want to remove all the pictures in this sequence by making you tap a Delete x Photos button before completing the deed.

In Settings, under Photos & Camera, you can turn on a switch that will upload all your burst photos to Photo Stream. If this switch is off, only favorite burst photos will be uploaded to Photo Stream. You can designate a photo a favorite by tapping the heart icon below the image.

Using the self-timer

Many physical cameras have a self-timer that lets you be part of a picture, perhaps in a group setting with friends. The new self-timer built into the Camera app in iOS 8 adds this functionality to your iPhone, whether you’re using the front or rear camera. If anything, the addition of the self-timing feature might improve the quality of your selfies.

Tap the timer icon and choose the 3 seconds or 10 seconds as the time interval between when you press the shutter and when the picture is captured. You’ll see a countdown on the screen, and then the phone will capture a burst of 10 images.

To turn off the self-timer, tap the Off button. Couldn’t be easier than that.