Samsung Galaxy smartphones typically have great cameras. Pro Mode lets you move beyond the simple “point and shoot” features by unlocking advanced adjustments like ISO and aperture settings, and letting you tweak just about every aspect of the photography experience. Here’s how to access and use it.
How to Access Pro Mode
If you’re interested in checking out Pro Mode for yourself (or just following along), it’s pretty easy to get to.
Fire up the camera app on your Galaxy smartphone. Along the top of the viewfinder area, you’ll see several presets: Food, Panorama, Selective Focus, and more. Just slide over to the “Pro” preset—that’s all there is to it.
If you don’t see these settings along the top, you’re likely using a slightly older Galaxy phone. No worries—to find it on those phones, slide over to the leftmost panel in the viewfinder, and then click the “Pro” preset there.
Note: We’re using a Galaxy S9 for this tutorial, so things may be in a slightly different area compared to your phone.
What You Can do With Pro Mode
Much like with a DSLR camera, you can tweak settings that are important to you. If you’re already familiar with the settings found on these cameras, you’ll feel right at home in Pro Mode.
But if you’ve never messed with a DSLR camera before, Pro Mode can act as a great primer to get you ready for one—or even help you decide if that’s something you want try. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being content to just use Auto mode (or some other preset) on your smartphone. That’s why they’re there!
But if you’re looking to get more out of your phone’s camera, Pro mode is absolutely the way to do it. Here’s a look at each button and what it does.
Note: Most of the items below have links to deeper descriptions of the feature as it relates to photography. If you’re interested in learning more about each setting and what it does in pictures, this additional reading will help with that.
- ISO: ISO adjusts the light sensitivity of the image sensor. A lower setting makes it less sensitive to light, while a higher one will make it more sensitive. This controls how detailed or grainy an image ultimately is—the lower the ISO you can get away with in a given situation, the better.
- Aperture: This changes the size of the hole in the lens that allows light in. It goes hand-in-hand with ISO, and is used to achieve the shallow depth of field you see in portrait photography.
- Filter: Preset filters, like on Instagram…but before you take the picture.
- Focus Mode: Auto Focus or Manual Focus.
- White Balance: Allows you to adjust for the lighting in your situation. This is primarily controlled with presets, like Daylight, Cloudy, Florescent, and the like.
- Exposure: In short, this settings controls how bright or dark your photo is.
Below this row, there is a second row:
- Settings: Access basic camera settings.
- View Mode: Toggle full view mode, which uses the entire screen and overlays the controls.
- Flash: Turn the flash on or off, or to automatic.
- Metering: Measure the amount of light in the shot. There are three modes here: Spot, Center, and Center-weighted.
- AutoFocus Area: Tells the camera whether to focus on the entire shot, or just the center.
- Camera Select: Flips between the front- and rear-facing camera.
Here’s the best part: most of these settings have an Auto mode, so you only have to tweak the ones you care about. This means you can leave the White Balance on auto mode, which will pick the best setting for your current lighting, while manually tweaking the ISO and Aperture.
So, while this is called “Pro” mode, it’s still a very beginner-friendly way to get more from your Galaxy phone’s camera. Leave the settings you don’t want to mess with on automatic, and just play with the settings that matter to you.
As you get more comfortable with these settings and learn how they all work together, your photos will get better as a result. If you plan on working your way up to a DSLR, using Pro Mode is a great start—by the time you’ve mastered it, you’ll really be able to unlock the potential of a “real” camera.