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Galaxy S10: 8 tips and tricks to get the most out of the camera

Samsung's latest phones have some fancy new camera features -- here's how to use them.

Angela Lang/CNET

Samsung's Galaxy S10 lineup has some new camera features, including the ability to zoom out on before taking a photo with just a couple of taps. If you just unboxed and set up your shiny new Galaxy S10, here's what you need to know to work the camera app and get the best shots possible.

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Take ultra-wide photos

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Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

The Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus both come with a third camera on the back of the phone. The purpose of the new addition is to take ultra-wide-angle photos -- a feature that comes in incredibly helpful in certain situations.

To switch to the new camera, look for and tap on the icon with three trees, just above the shutter button and shooting modes.

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Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Or if you have the Galaxy S10 Plus, you can switch to the second front-facing camera, which serves as an ultra-wide camera by tapping on the icon with two trees.

Scene optimizer

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Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

With Scene Optimizer enabled, the S10 can take brighter photos in dark environments, double as a document scanner or add starburst flares to lights in the background.

Tap on the Settings icon in the viewfinder, then tap on Scene Optimizer. Toggle which of the available options you want to use, then go back to the camera and take photos as you normally would.

Shot suggestions

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Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

The S10's camera can suggest the best way to frame a shot, and if you want, it can even take the photo with it thinks everything is lined up properly.

For example, when shot suggestion determines the photo you should take, you will see a white circle and a white ball on the viewfinder. Line the ball up with the circle and hold still for a few seconds to allow the S10 to capture the shot.

To enable Shot Selection, tap on the Settings icon in the viewfinder, then turn the switch next to Shot selections to the On position.

Get more out of Live focus

The S10 can take portrait photos that add blur, or bokeh, to the background of the shot. However, now you can adjust the type and intensity of effect that's applied to the background of the shot.

The new effects are spin bokeh, zoom bokeh, color point and blur. When you switch to the Live Focus shooting mode, you'll notice the new options as well as a slider just above the shutter button. You can apply and preview the effects in real time.

If you change your mind after you captured the photo, don't worry -- you can edit it in the Gallery app and pick a different effect.

Edit available camera modes

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Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Just above the shutter button, you'll find a series of shooting modes for you to choose from. From photo or video to live focus or super slow-mo. You can switch between modes by swiping left or right across the various options.

If you're like me and find the list too long, you can remove shooting modes you just don't use. Select the Settings icon in the viewfinder, then scroll down and tap Camera modes.

Uncheck the modes you don't want to have as an option. You can also reorder the various modes based on your preferences.

Capture a GIF

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Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Instead of having to take a video and then fiddle with the Gallery app or some third-party app, turn this feature on to capture and create a GIF just by holding in the shutter button.

Go to the Camera settings then tap on Hold Camera button to > Create GIF. Instead of capturing a burst shot, or taking a single photo, the S10 will capture multiple shots and combine them into one animated image.

Bixby Vision

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Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Along the top of the viewfinder you'll notice some text reading "Bixby Vision." This feature will use the S10's camera to try and identify real-world objects, and depending on what it is, give you more information or links to purchase the item.

AR Emoji

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Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Located next to Bixby Vision is an option to launch AR Emoji. These cartoon characters are created by taking a selfie and then letting the phone come up with an animated character that is supposed to look like you. You can customize and change the AR Emoji to your liking, and then place the character in photos or send animated stickers in the Messages app.

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Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus (128GB, prism black)
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