Front-facing cameras have come a long way since Sony Ericsson released the Z1010 in 2004 with its 0.3MP front camera. But believe it or not, the first front-facing camera wasn’t designed for selfies; it was invented to assist with video conferencing.
Today, a phone’s camera quality, and the long list of pro features that come with it, are a crucial selling point, leading to better phone cameras and a constant supply of new and innovative features.
Here’s how the Google Pixel can help you to take next-level selfies on both your front and rear-facing cameras.
1. Take Low Light Shots With the Selfie Illumination Feature
Low light levels can lead to disastrous selfies, but Pixel users have a nifty feature up their sleeves. With the front-facing camera on, simply tap the downwards facing arrow at the top of your screen to open up a hidden menu. Here, you’ll see the option for Selfie Illumination.
By changing your screen color from black to white, your Pixel phone can add a little extra brightness to your face, helping to reduce over-shadowing and create an overall brighter selfie appearance. When you press your shutter button, your entire phone screen will flash white for a second, acting like a flash.
2. Night Sight Works for Selfies
Sometimes, life’s best moments aren’t well lit, and even Selfie Illumination will struggle to add enough light to your pictures. In these cases, you can use Pixel’s Night Sight feature, which will help you capture vibrant images in low-light conditions.
Google Pixel’s Night Sight works by constantly monitoring your environment, working out how much natural hand-shake there is, and how much motion there is in the scene to adjust the exposure of your images. If your phone is still and stable, then Night Sight will allow more light to enter your camera; meanwhile, if there’s a lot of motion in the shot, then it will use a shorter exposure time to reduce blur.
If your camera is in Default or Portrait mode, then Night Sight will automatically display a prompt to you if your phone detects low-light conditions. You can also swipe right to access Night Sight from within your camera options, and you can even use Night Sight with the front-facing camera by tapping the little arrow at the top of your camera screen.
3. Blur the Background in Portrait Mode
Google’s Pixel 2 was the first Pixel phone to feature Portrait Mode. Using machine learning to estimate depth, Google improved its Portrait Mode on the Pixel 3, refining it further for the Pixel 4 to leverage its dual cameras and dual-pixel autofocus system.
To take epic portrait photos using your Google Pixel’s Portrait Mode, open your camera and swipe to Portrait. Try to allow space for your phone to establish depth and then have your subject step a little closer to the camera. Next, tap on your subject to ensure that the camera has focused on them, and then snap away.
Don’t be alarmed if the background blur doesn’t seem to show up right away; you’ll be able to adjust the blur of the background in your gallery editor and can also save multiple copies of the same photo with and without the effect added.
If you’ve got a bunch of old selfies laying around that weren’t taken using Portrait Mode, then with the Pixel 4 and Pixel 5, you can add background blur using Google Photos.
4. Retouch Your Selfies
On the Pixel 4a, 4a 5G, and Pixel 5, face retouching is no longer automatic. Instead, you will need to activate face retouching within your camera settings.
- To retouch a selfie or a photo in Portrait Mode, tap the down arrow on your camera screen and select Face Retouching.
- On the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a (5G), you’ll have the option of Subtle or Smooth.
- On the Pixel 4a and earlier, you’ll see Natural or Smooth.
While facial retouching remains a controversial feature, there’s no denying that it can help to improve the look of a photo. However, we think it’s fantastic that facial retouching is no longer an automatic feature on the Google Pixel, and stand behind the company’s decision to put the mental health and wellbeing of its users first.
5. Make Use of the Pixel’s Auto Timer
If you’re trying to take a full-body selfie using your rear camera or a great front-facing selfie with your hands in the photo, then the Google Pixel auto timer is going to be your best friend. Utilizing a timer is an easy way to take professional-looking pictures without your own personal photographer.
Using the auto timer couldn’t be easier. Set up your camera, tap the arrow at the top of your screen, and then choose a three-second or ten-second timer to give yourself the time to get into position. As soon as you tap the shutter button, your countdown will start, and you just need to get into position!
6. Choose the Front or Rear Camera
While selfies are traditionally taken using the front-facing camera, you’re likely to get better results using the rear camera with the right setup. Whatever camera you choose, Google is known to provide some of the best smartphone cameras on the market.
While the Pixel’s front-facing camera may only be 8MP, f/2.0; on the rear, Google’s Pixel 5 has a 12.2MP, f/1.7 primary shooter, accompanied by a 16MP, f/2.2 ultra-wide lens with a 107 degree field of view. Unless you know your camera specs, this information can be quite confusing, which is why most people tend to focus on megapixels as an indicator of quality.
The truth is, more megapixels don’t guarantee better camera quality, and there are many other factors to consider.
Taking Great Selfies With Your Phone
Even with the best phone camera in the world, taking great phone selfies is still somewhat of an art form. The way you hold your phone, the pose you choose, and the lighting you’re in can all make or break the perfect selfie opportunity.
When it comes to improving your selfie game, practice makes perfect, so snap away and experiment with your phone’s features, filters, and camera settings until you find the perfect combination.
These Face filter apps for iOS and Android phones will help you achieve that flawless, perfect selfie in no time!
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