How to Take Photos or Videos on Your Surface - dummies

How to Take Photos or Videos on Your Surface

By Andy Rathbone

Your Surface displays photos much better than it can capture them. Most Surface models include a miserly 1.2-megapixel cameras. Only the Surface 2 ups the game slightly to a 5-megapixel rear camera. By comparison, the Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone offers a whopping 13-megapixel rear camera.

But if you’re struck with a Kodak moment and your Surface is the only camera you have handy, follow these steps to snap a quick photo or movie:


  1. From the Start menu, tap the Camera app’s tile.

    The Camera app appears, immediately filling the screen with what it sees before its lens. (Your Surface remembers whether you last shot with the front or rear camera, and it uses that camera accordingly.)

    Note how a light begins glowing next to the lens currently in use, letting you and your subject know what’s being filmed.

    Folding back your Surface’s Touch or Type Cover blocks the bottom half of the rear camera’s lens. Remove the keyboard cover before snapping a photo.


  2. Change the camera’s controls, if desired.

    The Camera app always displays the first three controls in the following list; you see the other four only when you open the App bar by sliding your finger up from the screen’s bottom edge:

    • Take video: Tap this to begin shooting video rather than snapping a still photo.

    • Take photo: Tap this to snap a photo. (Or, if you’re already in Photo mode rather than Video mode, you can take a photo by tapping anywhere on the screen.)

    • Take panorama: An oddity, this feature stitches together a 360-degree panoramic photo of your surroundings — front, sides, rear, up, and down — as you slowly move your Surface in all directions.

    • Camera Roll: Found on the App bar, this lets you view previously snapped photos.

    • Change Camera: Tap this App bar icon to toggle between your Surface’s front- and rear-facing cameras.

    • Timer: Tap this App bar icon to toggle between a three- or ten-second delay. (That delay gives you time to jump in front of the lens and smile.) Tap the icon a third time to turn off the shutter delay.

    • Exposure: This App bar icon brings a sliding bar to the screen to manually adjust the light levels.

  3. To snap a photo or begin shooting a movie, touch the screen.

    When you’re shooting a photo, the Camera app emits a mechanical shutter click sound and then quickly saves the snapshot. Your newly saved snapshot quickly scoots out of sight to the screen’s left edge, letting you snap another photo.

    When you’re shooting videos, a timer appears in the screen’s lower-left corner to show your movie’s current length. To stop shooting the movie, tap the Stop Video icon along the screen’s right edge.

Your photos and videos both live in your Picture library’s Camera Roll folder, where they can be viewed with the Photos app.

These tips help you explore the Camera app for the first time:

  • To view your newly shot photo or movie, slide your finger across the screen from left to right to drag your last-shot photo (or the first frame of your movie) back into view. To return to shooting, slide your finger in the other direction, and the live view reappears.

  • Need to take a picture in a hurry? Turn on your Surface, and at the Lock screen, slide your finger downward on the screen rather than upward. If you’re already signed in, the Camera app quickly appears, letting you snap your photo without stopping to unlock the screen and type your password.

  • When shooting in Panorama mode, pretend your Surface is mounted on a tripod. As you hold it, keep it level and then slowly rotate and tilt it, moving so it eventually points in all directions. If the Camera app says you’ve moved too far or too fast, slow down, and point the Surface back to the previous location.