Ctrl-Alt-Del Episode 2: Taking Your Best Shot with Auto Mode


Ctrl-Alt-Del Episode 2: Taking Your Best Shot with Auto Mode

Software 2021-05-16
Male Model Holding a OnePlus Camera
Just a few years ago, the difference in quality between smartphone cameras and actual cameras was night and day. After all, phones were merely intended to be communication and entertainment devices, not professional-grade cameras. Luckily, the times have changed. With the launch of the OnePlus 9 series, OnePlus, in partnership with Hasselblad, has developed a camera system with prestige color calibration and aims to take your smartphone photography to the moon. For the second edition of the Ctrl-Alt-Del blog series, we’ve invited OnePlus Community photography expert, cdnfarmer, to go over the basics of the OnePlus camera app, starting with auto mode.

Opening your camera in style

Before you start snapping pictures and exploring your OnePlus camera, I’d like to teach you a couple of ways to open it (yes, there are multiple ways to open the camera app!).
  1. The most convenient way is by double pressing your power button. This can be done even when your phone is sleeping and locked, and ideal for when you’re needing to take a quick shot.
  2. From your lock screen, swipe up from the camera icon at the bottom right corner.
  3. Set up a Quick Gesture by going to Settings > Buttons & Gestures > Quick Gestures > picking your desired gesture > Open camera. Now, when your phone is sleeping, simply draw the gesture that you set to open the camera.

Taking your first shots with auto mode

There is a plethora of shooting modes and features on the OnePlus camera app, but there is no shame if auto mode is your weapon of choice! Auto mode is versatile and can be used for various conditions. It is particularly useful when you’re in those point-and-shoot situations and need a quick flick.

The most basic function is capturing a picture by tapping on the shutter button. If you’re on a OnePlus 9 Series device, you’ll experience a new orange shutter button that’s paired with Hasselblad’s classic leaf shutter sound when pressed. To take a burst shot, or multiple captures in a second, press and hold the shutter button.

While the camera mode is mostly automated, there are a few settings that you can manually control in auto mode, like the focal point, exposure intensity, and zoom, to improve your photos.

Focal Point

The focus point can be selected by tapping the screen where you want the camera to focus.

If you’re wanting to maintain a focus distance no matter where you move the camera, tap and hold until your focus frame turns orange. This is particularly useful if you’re capturing a still subject and don’t want to lose focus.

Exposure Intensity

Exposure intensity represents the amount of brightness in the picture. This is something you may want to adjust if your environment is too bright or dark.

In bright situations, tap on a light spot in the picture to darken it. In dimmer situations, tap on a dark spot to brighten the picture. You can also adjust the exposure with a tap and hold and dialing the sun icon up or down.

Switching Lenses

The best part of the OnePlus 9 cameras? Options! Whether you’re needing to take a picture of a close-up subject or something in the distance, the array of camera lenses on the OnePlus 9 series is your best friend.

In your camera app, tap on the three trees icon to switch to the ultra-wide lens, and the single tree for 3.3x zoom. Tap on the two trees in the middle to return to the main wide lens. Another way to switch lenses is to pinch in and out within your viewfinder.

Reaching into your toolbar settings

Lastly, there are a few tools at the top of your camera app that will come in handy when you’re taking pictures with your OnePlus device.

  1. The timer lets you set a countdown for when a picture is automatically taken. This is ideal for group photos when you’re wanting to squeeze everyone into the picture!
  2. The flash toggle triggers a bright flash when taking pictures, perfect for those low-light environments.
  3. At the center is the “Super Macro” toggle, which utilizes the zooming capabilities of your ultra-wide lens to take sharp and detailed close-distance shots. This is turned on by default and will turn on when you’re 1 to 1.5 inches away from a subject.
  4. To change the aspect ratio of your image, tap on the fourth toggle to the right and switch between the standard 4:3, 1:1 and 16:9.
  5. Tapping on the settings button on the right end will present you with a list of software options, like turning off the shutter sound, setting location tags and placing grid lines to help you frame your shots.


Knowing how to use these basic functions in the OnePlus 9 series auto mode will greatly improve your picture-taking. However, there are a slew of more functions tucked within the camera app that I’d recommend you play around with! We will explore my favorite part of the OnePlus camera app, pro mode, in the next episode of Ctrl-Alt-Del. Happy picture-taking!

Thank you to Julie (@cdnfarmer) for helping co-create this second episode of the Ctrl-Alt-Del series! If you missed the first episode, check out the fun and creative ways the OnePlus Community is setting up its home screens here!