Wednesday, September 28, 2022


Phone Photography Tip #2: The secret shutter button

By Mike Gast
Welcome back to “Getting The Most From Your Smartphone Photos.” Each week, we’ll take a look at an easy-to-use tip that will take your “unshareable” cell phone pictures to shots you’d be proud to hang on the wall of your RV. This week we discuss the secret shutter button.

Tip #2: The secret shutter button

Cell phone cameras, just like high-end SLR cameras, can easily be held in a vertical position to get that special shot. But most photos are better composed and easier to view if they are shot horizontally. This is doubly true if you are using your cell phone to record video. I’m always mystified when I see a vertically shot video.

Can you imagine going to a movie theater to view a vertical movie?

You might say, “But it’s easier to use the big button at the bottom of my cell phone screen if I hold it vertically.” You’d be right, but Apple, at least, has a trick to make things easier.

If you hold your phone horizontally, you can trigger the shutter by pressing the “up volume” button on the left side of the phone. This will help you hold the phone steady with both hands while you shoot. It allows you to clearly see the entire screen as you compose your photo, instead of trying to peck at that big screen button. This “new” shutter release button will be right under your finger as you hold your phone in a horizontal position.

LAST WEEK’S TIP: Clean your lens
Better photo composition using the “Rule of Thirds”

Mike Gast was the Vice President of Communications for Kampgrounds of America, Inc.for the past 20 years. Now, he’s on to new adventures, helping others tell their stories through his freelance company, ‘Imi Ola Group. You can reach Mike at



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1 month ago

On my Samsung S21 (and earlier phones) touch the shutter button and drag it where you want on the screen for still photography. The volume UP button also functions as a shutter button for video and still.

1 year ago

With the new Samsung phones you can trigger the shutter or start and stop video with voice commands. I find this very helpful when trying to take pictures in awkward positions such as in tight compartments in the RV.

Toni Kaus
1 year ago

Great tip. Works on my Pixel 4 too.

Louise Mellon
1 year ago

I am a seasoned RVer but I learn so much from this publication. Every issue gets thoroughly read! Thanks so much for the best information! BTW, I am a contributor and I urge all of your subscribers to help keep this highly useful site going with a donation.

Tommy Molnar
1 year ago

I too am tired of seeing videos shot holding the camera vertically. You get that shaded area on both sides of the video, which ruins the video – in MY opinion anyway. And in THIS case, that’s what counts – ha.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
But wait, I just tried taking a vertically held phone video to make sure I was right – and I was WRONG. At least with my Samsung S-10 phone. I just took the test video holding the phone vertically and played it back. No shaded area. So, how does that happen with so many videos you see on the web?

Michael Gast
1 year ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Tommy, it happens after videos are loaded to a website, not on your camera. The website videos have to conform to a pre-programmed HTML window, hence the “fill in” blur on either side.

Tommy Molnar
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Gast

Thanks, Michael. Now I know . . .

David Telenko
1 year ago

Hey Mike, live & learn! Heck I was NOT taking pics horizontally because the button was just too hard to get to & hold the camera still enough to take a pic. Now thanks to your informative information, I can easily take the picture I want! I for sure will share that information with my children, Hmmm they probably know already, thats where I get my “how to do info from”
Thank You

Thomas D
1 year ago

Thanks fr the tip. Certainly easier than pressing the shutter button on an i phone
But i tried it and to took 2 pictures with one push. Really don’t care as its not film that needs to be developed and printed.( Remember those days?)

Robert Jensen
1 year ago

Works on my Samsung Android. Thanks for the info.

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