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Taking Selfies and Self-Videos on Your Samsung Galaxy Tab A

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Eric Butow, author of My Samsung Galaxy Tab A, shows how to use the Samsung Galaxy Tab A Camera app to take selfies and self-videos, change app settings to make your photos and videos shine, and share your selfies and self-videos with other people.
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With the pre-installed Camera app on the Samsung Galaxy Tab A, you can take pictures with the default camera on the back of the device, but you also can switch to the camera on the front of the device—that is, the camera that’s on the same side of the device as the screen. After you switch to the front camera, you see yourself on the screen so that you can take a photo or video.

The term for a photo of yourself is a selfie, and whatever you see on the screen is what will appear in your photo—including any other people, and everything behind you that’s in view of the camera. The same concept applies for any self-video you want to take—anyone and anything behind you that comes in view of the camera will be in your self-video. After you take one or more selfies or finish recording your self-video, you can share the results with other people, using a variety of methods.

Switching to the Front Camera

Open the Camera app by tapping the Camera icon on the main or second Home screen. (You can’t open the Camera app from the Flipboard Briefing Home screen.) On the Camera Viewer screen, tap the Switch Cameras button (see Figure 1).

Figure 1

Figure 1 The Switch Cameras button appears at the bottom of the screen, to the left of the white Camera button.

After you switch cameras, your face appears on the screen (see Figure 2). Of course, the images in this example show my face, not yours. (Now you know what I look like. I hope I haven’t scared you too much.)

Figure 2

Figure 2 A yellow circle appears around your face to show you that the Camera app has your face in focus.

Selecting the Photo Mode

Notice the default Beauty Face photo mode name at the top of the screen. You can change photo modes by tapping Mode in the lower-left corner of the screen. On the Mode screen (shown in Figure 3), you can choose from four photo modes:

  • Auto: The Camera app will adjust the exposure and color of photos automatically.
  • Beauty Face: This mode is selected by default (the icon circle is white instead of transparent). This mode takes your photo with an airbrushed effect; it doesn’t work on self-videos.
  • Interval Shot: This mode takes a series of four photos and lets you select the one you want to use. Start by pressing the Camera button; the Camera app will take another photo every four seconds until you have a selection of four photos.
  • Sound & Shot: You can record background sound for up to nine seconds after you tap the Camera button. After you select this mode, the Post-Shot icon appears in the upper-right corner of the Camera Viewer so you can add the audio before or after you take your photo.

If you don’t want to change the current mode, tap the Back touch button.

Figure 3

Figure 3 Tap Info in the upper-right corner of the screen to get a quick explanation about each mode.

Adjusting the Settings for the Front Camera

Before you take your selfie or self-video, you should check the Camera app’s settings to make sure that the app will work the way you want. Tap Settings in the upper-left corner of the Camera Viewer screen (refer to Figure 2).

The Camera Settings screen for the front camera (shown in Figure 4) has three options that are different from what you see when you change settings for the back camera:

  • Picture Size (Front): This option allows you to change the front camera’s picture size and resolution.
  • Gesture Control: If you don’t want to push the Camera button on the screen, tap this option so you can take a picture by holding your hand out with your palm facing the camera. After the Camera Viewer indicates that it has recognized your palm, the Camera app takes your selfie after two seconds—just enough time to move your hand out of the image.
  • Save as Horizontally Flipped: Tap this option if you want your selfie to appear as if you were looking at your reflection in a mirror.

You may notice that the Video Size option is missing. That’s because you can’t change the front camera’s video size. To change the picture size and front camera resolution, tap Picture Size (Front).

Because the front camera has fewer features, the Picture Size (Front) screen (shown in Figure 5) gives you fewer options for changing the picture size and camera resolution, compared to the available settings for the back camera. The following table shows the options for the front camera. The lower the resolution, the smaller the file size of the photo.

Picture Size

Screen Resolution (Pixels)

2.0M (default)

1600 × 1200 (default)


1280 × 960


640 × 480

Figure 4

Figure 4 The top three settings in the list are different when you change settings for the front camera.

Figure 5

Figure 5 The Back icon appears as a left-pointing arrow at the left side of the blue menu bar.

Return to the Camera Settings screen by tapping the Back icon at the left side of the blue menu bar at the top of the screen. On the Camera Settings screen (refer to Figure 4), return to the Camera Viewer screen by tapping the Back icon.

Setting the Timer

If you want to wait to take a selfie so you can position yourself, other people, or something in the background within the shot, tap Off in the upper-right corner of the Camera Viewer screen (refer to Figure 2). In the resulting Timer window (shown in Figure 6), tap the interval you want to elapse between when you tap the Camera button and when the Camera app takes the photo.

Figure 6

Figure 6 The window appears just below the Off icon on the Camera Viewer screen.

Close the Timer window by tapping the Back touch button.

Capturing Your Selfie or Self-Video

Now that you’ve checked your modes and all your settings, take a picture by tapping the Camera icon, or record a self-video by tapping the Video button (see Figure 7). After you record a self-video, you can view the video by tapping the Image Viewer icon in the lower-right corner of the Camera Viewer screen (see Figure 8).

Figure 7

Figure 7 The Video button is just to the right of the white Camera button.

Figure 8

Figure 8 Use the Image Viewer icon in the lower-right corner of the Camera Viewer screen to view your self-video.

The menu buttons appear at the top and bottom of the screen for four seconds. You can view the menu buttons and options again by tapping anywhere on the screen—except on the Play button, which appears in the center of the screen.

Sharing Your Selfies and Self-Videos

To share your video with other people, tap the Share button (see Figure 9).

Figure 9

Figure 9 The Share button appears at the bottom center of the screen.

The Share Via window shows the various sharing options (see Figure 10). If you have one or more social networking apps such as Facebook installed on your Galaxy Tab A, icons for those apps appear in the Share Via window (you might have to swipe up to see them). What happens after you tap an icon depends on the sharing option you select. To close the window, tap the Back touch button.

Figure 10

Figure 10 Sharing options also include mirroring your photo or video on another screen.

To view other selfies and self-videos you’ve taken, tap the Album option in the upper-right corner of the screen (refer to Figure 9). In the Camera screen shown in Figure 11, tap the tile with the photo or video you want to view on the screen. To return to the Camera Viewer screen, tap the Back icon (a left-pointing arrow) at the left side of the menu bar at the top of the screen.

Figure 11

Figure 11 Tap the tile with the photo or video you want to view.

When you want to return to using the back camera, tap the Switch Cameras icon again.

Final Thoughts

That concludes our tour of how to use the Camera app to switch to the front camera, change camera settings, take selfies and self-videos, and share your photos and videos with others. Enjoy using your camera to capture pictures and videos of yourself (and what’s behind you), no matter where you take your Galaxy Tab A.

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