Camera app and webcams help

If your PC has a built-in camera or a connected webcam, you can use the Camera app to take photos and videos.

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Open the Camera app

There are a few different ways to open the Camera app. If you're on Start, you can use the tile. If you're using other apps or are in the desktop, you can search for the app and open it from the search results. You can also open the Camera app right from the lock screen when you want to take a quick picture without signing in first.

If you're on Start

Tap or click the Camera tile.

Camera tile on Start
Camera tile on Start

If you're using another app or the desktop

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, and then click Search.)

  2. Enter Camera in the search box, and then tap or click Camera in the results.

If your PC is locked

If you've signed into your PC and then locked it, you can open the Camera app by swiping down on the lock screen or clicking and dragging down.

If the camera doesn't open, you'll need to turn on using the camera from the lock screen. Go to PC settings, tap or click PC and devices, and then set Swipe down on the lock screen to use the camera to On.

Take a photo or video

To take a photo

  1. In the Camera app, tap or click the Photo button Photo button.
  2. If you want to see the photo, drag the screen to the right or click the left arrow.

To take a video

  1. In the Camera app, tap or click the Video button Video button to start recording. Tap or click it again to stop recording.
  2. If you want to see the video, drag the screen to the right or click the left arrow.

If you want to adjust the camera settings, see Change settings, like the flash or timer. All photos and videos you take with the Camera app are saved to your camera roll. For info on getting to your camera roll, go to See the photos and videos you've taken with the Camera app.

About panoramas

A panoramic photo is a series of images that are combined into a single photo. Panoramas are great for capturing landscapes and city skylines, as well as creating a 360-degree image of a space. If your PC has a built-in, rear-facing camera and certain sensors and drivers, you can take panoramic photos with the Camera app. If your PC can take panoramas, you'll see the Panorama button Panorama button in the viewfinder. To look at a panorama taken with the Camera app, open it in the Camera, Photos, or the OneDrive app. You can also put it on OneDrive.com to open and share it.

To take a panorama

  1. Open the Camera app.

  2. Determine what you want to be the starting point for your image and aim the camera at it.

  3. Tap or click the Panorama button Panorama button. This captures the first image.
  4. Slowly tilt the camera in any direction to line up the next image.

  5. Watch the borders in the viewfinder as you tilt the camera. When those borders fill in, the camera automatically takes the next image.

  6. Repeat the previous two steps until you've completed your panorama.

  7. Tap or click the check mark.

The Camera app stitches together the images and saves the panorama in the camera roll.

Tips for improving panoramas

For best results when taking a panorama:

  • Keep the camera at the same spot as you tilt and rotate it, as if it's on a tripod. Use small, steady movements.

  • Keep an eye on the borders around the viewfinder. At the moment the borders fill in, pause. This helps keep the image clear and in focus.

  • Experiment with tilting the camera in lots of directions, including up and down.

  • To get all 360 degrees in one panorama, walk in a circle while keeping the camera at the same spot.

To open or share a panorama

To see a panorama taken with the Camera app, you'll need to open it using the Camera, Photos, or OneDrive app or post it to OneDrive.com. To share a panorama, put it on OneDrive and send people a link to the file.

Get the best shot with photo loop

On certain tablets, the Camera app automatically takes several photos in a row (called a photo loop) every time you take a photo. This loop includes images that are captured right before and after you take a photo. If your PC can take photo loops, after you take a photo you’ll see a preview in the lower-left corner that shows the default image. You can then review the images and save your favorite one. If you choose not to review them, the default image is automatically saved to your camera roll.

Preview in the viewfinder
The preview appears in the lower-left corner

To review the images and save the one you want:

  1. Open the Camera app.

  2. Take a photo.

  3. Tap or click the preview image in the lower-left corner.

  4. Turn the dial to review the images.

  5. When looking at the one you want, tap or click the Save button in the dial. The other images aren't saved.

Change settings, like the flash or timer

You can make some adjustments before you take a photo or video, like turn on the flash or timer. Other options you’ll need to change in Settings, like showing grid lines and including location info in your photos and panoramas.

Note

  • This page lists all the possible options. In the Camera app, you'll only see the options that are available on your PC. For example, you'll only see the button for flash settings if your device has a flash.

When taking a photo

  1. Swipe in from the bottom edge to see the app commands.
    (If you're using a mouse, right-click within the app.)

  2. Tap or click what you want to change. Your options might include:

    • Change to a different camera.

    • Set the self-timer. You can chose a 3 second or 10 second delay, and the countdown will appear on the screen.

    • Change the exposure (adjust how light or dark the image is).

    • Turn the flash on, off, or to auto.

    • Use Spot adjust to change what area gets emphasized.

From Settings

  1. Open the Camera app.

  2. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Settings.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, and then click Settings.)

  3. Tap or click Options.

  4. Adjust the settings for each option. These might include:

Switch to a different camera

If your PC has more than one camera (like a front-facing and a rear-facing camera), you can switch cameras before taking a photo or video.

  1. Open the Camera app.

  2. Swipe in from the bottom edge to see the app commands.
    (If you're using a mouse, right-click within the app.)

  3. Tap or click the Change camera button.

Note

Crop to zoom in

The Camera app doesn't include digital zoom. However, you can get the same effect as zooming in if you take a photo and then crop it.

  1. Swipe to the right or click the left arrow to see your recent photos and videos. Keep swiping or clicking the left arrow until you find the photo you want to crop.

  2. Swipe in from the bottom edge to see the app commands.
    (If you're using a mouse, right-click within the app.)

  3. Tap or click Crop.

  4. Tap or click Aspect ratio and pick from the preset options or drag the borders where you want them.

  5. Tap or click Apply.

  6. Save the cropped photo. You can update the original photo or save a copy with your changes.

Change what happens when you tap the screen

By default, tapping anywhere on the screen emphasizes an area of the photo. This is called spot adjust. You can try different areas until the shot is emphasized the way you want, and then tap the Photo button Photo button to take the photo. You can change this setting so that tapping the screen either emphasizes the area and takes the photo at the same time or just takes the photo without adding emphasis.
  1. Open the Camera app.

  2. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Settings.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, and then click Settings.)

  3. Tap or click Options.

  4. Under Spot adjust, select one of these options:

    • Tap to spot adjust (default)

    • Tap to spot adjust and take photo

    • Tap to take photo

Note

Automatically save your photos and videos online

You can set it so that the photos and videos you take with the Camera app automatically upload to OneDrive. You can choose what quality to use when uploading photos, too.

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)

  2. Go to OneDrive, and then Camera roll.

  3. Select the settings to use for your photo and video uploads.

Include info about where a photo was taken

If your tablet or camera supports including location info and can connect to the Internet or a mobile network when you take the photo, the Camera app can include location info with your photos.

  1. Open the Camera app.

  2. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Settings.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, and then click Settings.)

  3. Tap or click Options.

  4. Set Location info to On.

See the photos and videos you've taken with the Camera app

All pictures, videos, and panoramas you take with the Camera app are saved to your camera roll. There are different ways you can look at your camera roll.

  • Camera app: Swipe to the right or click the arrow on the left side of the screen. You can also swipe up from the bottom edge or right-click to see the app commands, and then tap or click Camera roll.

  • Photos app: Go to the Pictures library, and then to the Camera roll folder.

  • File Explorer: Go to the Pictures folder, and then to the Camera roll folder.

  • OneDrive app : Go to the Camera roll folder. Your camera roll only appears on OneDrive if you automatically upload photos or videos to there. For more info, see Automatically save my photos and videos online.

  • From the lock screen: Tap or click Camera roll to see the photos and videos you just took. To see all of the photos and videos in your camera roll, tap or click the Unlock button, sign in to your PC, and then use any of the apps listed here.

Edit or delete photos and videos

Here's how to edit and delete photos and videos in the Camera app, the Photos app, and the OneDrive app.

To edit a photo

  1. Swipe to the right or click the left arrow to see your recent photos and videos. Keep swiping or clicking the left arrow until you find the photo you want to edit.

  2. Swipe in from the bottom edge to see the app commands.
    (If you're using a mouse, right-click within the app.)

  3. Tap or click Edit.

  4. Tap or click a category on the left, like Auto fix or Light. That category's editing options appear on the right side of the photo.

  5. Tap or click an option on the right. For more info on each option, see Edit photos and videos.

  6. Keep selecting categories and options until you’re done editing.

  7. Swipe in from the bottom edge to see the app commands.
    (If you're using a mouse, right-click within the app.)

  8. Save the edited photo. You can update the original photo or save a copy with your changes.

To trim a video

  1. Swipe to the right or click the arrow on the left side of the screen to look through your recent photos and videos. Keep swiping or clicking the arrows until you find the video you want.

  2. Swipe in from the bottom edge to see the app commands.
    (If you're using a mouse, right-click within the app.)

  3. Tap or click Trim, and then move the handles at the left and right ends of the timeline to new start and end points.

  4. Tap or click Save a copy.

To delete a photo or video

  1. Swipe to the right or click the arrow on the left side of the screen to look through your recent photos and videos. Keep swiping or clicking the arrows until you find the photo or video you want.

  2. Swipe in from the bottom edge to see the app commands.
    (If you're using a mouse, right-click within the app.)

  3. Tap or click Delete.

Note

  • When you use the Photos app, the OneDrive app, or File Explorer, you can select multiple photos and videos before tapping or clicking delete.

Turn off the camera

You can choose to turn off the camera for specific apps while allowing other apps to use it or you can turn the camera off completely.

To turn the camera off for a specific app

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)

  2. Tap or click Privacy, and then tap or click Webcam.

  3. Set Let apps use my webcam to Off or turn it off for specific apps.

Note

  • To keep the Camera app from using the camera, you’ll need to turn off the camera completely.

  • If you have problems with the Camera app after changing privacy settings, drag the app to the bottom of the screen and hold it there until the app flips over, and then try again.

To turn the camera off completely

You can turn off the camera so that no app, including the Camera app, can use it.

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, and then click Search.)

  2. Enter Device Manager in the search box, and then tap or click Device Manager in the results.

  3. Expand Imaging Devices.

  4. Right-click the camera, and then click Disable.

To turn the camera off so it can’t be used when your PC is locked

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)

  2. Tap or click PC and devices, and then tap or click Lock screen.

  3. Set Swipe down on the lock screen to use the camera to Off.

If you have problems with your webcam

With so many brands of webcams and cameras available, there are many reasons why something might not work. Each brand is different, so it's a good idea to check the manufacture's website for user guides and troubleshooting help.

For cameras that plug into your PC, the problem can often be fixed by disconnecting and reconnecting the camera.

Another common solution is to close the app that's having problems in a way that stops all the app's processes. To do this, drag the app to the bottom of the screen and hold it there until the app flips over.

If it’s still not working, there might be a problem with the camera’s drivers. You can install driver updates from your camera's manufacturer, or you can use your PC’s default drivers. If the suggestions here don't solve your problem, check out the in the Windows forum for solutions that other people have found for specific devices.

To install updates from the manufacturer

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, and then click Search.)

  2. Enter Device Manager in the search box, tap or click Settings, and then tap or click Device Manager in the results.

  3. Expand Imaging devices.

  4. Right-click the camera that's having problems and tap or click Update Driver Software.

  5. Tap or click Search automatically for updated driver software, and then follow the on-screen instructions. This might include restarting your PC.

To install your PC's default drivers

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, and then click Search.)

  2. Enter Device Manager in the search box, tap or click Settings, and then tap or click Device Manager in the results.

  3. Expand Imaging devices.

  4. Right-click the camera that's having problems and tap or click Update Driver Software.

  5. Tap or click Browse my computer for driver software.

  6. Tap or click Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer.

  7. Select USB Video Device, click Next, and then follow the on-screen instructions. This might include restarting your PC.

If your webcam isn't working with Skype

If you're using Skype and having audio or video quality problems, see How can I solve problems with video calling in Skype for Windows desktop? These troubleshooting steps are helpful for both versions of Skype on Windows.

Check for answers in the Microsoft community

If the suggestions here don't solve your problem, check out the Music, Photos, and Video community page or the Hardware and Drivers community page in the Windows forum for solutions that other people have found for specific problems. This can be particularly helpful when you're experiencing hardware problems or error messages.

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