Smartphone camera tips that will make your life easier


Your phone’s camera is more than just a lens to capture memories. You probably already know it: it can deposit checks, import business cards, and look for constellations in the night sky. But with smart thinking or the right tools, he can do so much more.

Use your camera roll for quick notes

I use my camera to remember things more often than I use it for real photos. Not only do I store photos of my license plate, medical insurance card, and other information in Evernote“Thanks to my camera – but I also keep a lot of short-term stuff in the film. Taking a photo is often a quick way to take a note without spending five minutes typing. Need to remember where you parked in the structure of the mall? Take a photo of the sign as you get on the elevator. Need an easily accessible map of the mall while you shop? Take a photo of the booth (which never seems to be there when you need it). If you are tracking your calorie intake throughout the day, take pictures of the nutrition labels and consolidate them in the evening. When I take computers apart I often take pictures of each step so that if I get stuck putting it back together I have a visual guide to refer to. Never forget that you have an endless roll of film in your pocket.

Visualize the furniture in your home

It’s not just about taking pictures – modern phones are much more powerful than they used to be. With augmented reality, you can impose digital information over the real world as seen through your camera lens. For example, if you have your eye on some furniture, but want to see if it really fits into its surroundings, some applications including Amazon and Place IKEA– Allows you to take advantage of the augmented reality capabilities of your phone to digitally render this coffee table in your living room. It doesn’t necessarily work for all the furniture available in the store, and IKEA only offers this service to iOS users, but it’s pretty convenient for those who have access to it.

Find products from a photo

Let’s say you have the reverse problem: you see a cool piece of furniture, a piece of art, or something at a friend’s house, and they have no idea where they bought it. Some applications, like eBay and Wayfair, allow you to take a photo of something and search for it on their platform. You might not find an exact replica, but you might find something similar, or it might give you the right words to dig deeper into and find exactly what you’re looking for.

Try on glasses, clothes and makeup before buying

Other brands have started to integrate augmented reality, albeit a bit slowly. Warby parker, for example, allows you to virtually “try on” different frames so you can narrow down your selection before ordering a few pairs for a home trial. Google is now working with cosmetics companies to offer a virtual trial when looking for certain types of makeup, and L’Oreal allows you to do something similar on the desktop (it supports hair colors, too much). Other applications, like Zeekit, lets you try on clothes from a few popular brands, but we’re still waiting for this idea to really gain traction among the big clothing retailers.

Share your Wi-Fi with a QR code

It’s not exactly a trick for your camera, but rather for your friends’ cameras: if your home network long, complex and unique password, it’s boring to give it to friends and family who come. Instead of reciting your long passphrase, print it out as a QR code using a tool like QiFi. When they scan it with their phone, it connects automatically, without any typing. You can even buy fancy Wi-Fi QR badges and magnets on Etsy, designed for things like short-term vacation rentals.

Scan documents to PDF

Scanners are, quite simply, the worst. Running my printer / scanner is like trying to train a starfish to jump through hoops. These days, your phone’s camera can do a decent job. Just enter Adobe Scan and you can turn any document into a clean PDF to send to anyone. If you want to export it as an editable document, applications like Microsoft Office Goal and ABBYY FineScanner can give you much more control.

Get a better view of hard-to-reach places

I’m only slightly embarrassed to admit how often I use my camera to find an HDMI port on the back of a dark cabinet. Or to find out which wires correspond to which terminals on the back of that tall outdoor speaker. Or to find the serial number on my printer, stored in a cupboard. Instead of getting everything out to see what’s what, I can grab my camera, reach back and snap a few pictures, hoping for the best. (On a related note, I’ve seen people use it on fine print restaurant menus when they forget to bring their reading glasses.)

Translate signs and other texts in real time

Traveling to another country can be stressful if you don’t know the language, and while it helps to learn a bit before you go, apps like Google Translate can help you a ton. Not only can you type or say something to have it translated into your preferred language, but you can also point your camera at any real world sign, menu or other text and it will translate it on the fly.

Get help with your math homework (or Sudoku puzzle)

At some point in your math career, a calculator starts to feel limited. After all, how does knowing the answer help you if you can’t figure out how it got there? Photomath is an augmented reality app that lets you take a picture of a math problem and then see the steps that lead to the answer. It can handle simple problems as well as more complex functions such as logarithms, trigonometry, and even differential equations. Oh, and for your off-peak hours, there is even apps that can help you solve your Sudoku.

See if your TV remote control needs batteries

Finally, here is something decidedly low-tech. If your TV remote control doesn’t work, you can quickly open your phone’s camera, point the remote, and press the power button. If you see infrared light appearing in the camera app’s viewfinder, you know the remote is still sending signals (and your TV receiver may be blocked). If you can’t see the infrared light, your remote probably needs new batteries. Be sure to test using the power button, as some features may not use infrared on modern TVs, and if you’re having trouble with the rear camera, try the selfie camera – it may be more. sensitive to infrared light.


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