Take photos and videos with Surface

Surface has two integrated cameras that you can use to make video calls, record videos and take pictures. The built-in Camera app can help you get even more out of your cameras.

Operating system:

Take photos and record videos

By default, the built-in Camera app is ready to take photos, but you can easily switch between photo and video mode. For info about how to open the Camera app and take a photo or record a video, see Camera app and webcams help.

Notes
  • A small privacy light appears near the active camera when you’re using it. The privacy light can’t be turned off.
  • Not sure where to find the cameras on your Surface? See Surface features.

Adjust the focus

The rear-facing camera Surface devices has an autofocus lens that can help improve the sharpness of your photos and videos. The lens automatically focuses on the main subject on the screen, but you can change the focus to a different area before taking a picture or while recording a video. (The front camera has a fixed-focus lens.)

To learn more about autofocus, see Using autofocus on Surface 3, Surface Pro 4, and Surface Book.

Note

This doesn’t apply to Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, and Surface Pro 3.

View photos and videos

By default, your photos and videos are saved to the Camera roll on your Surface. You can choose to save your pictures to OneDrive so you can access them from any web-connected device. For more info, see Using OneDrive on Surface.

You can also change where your pictures are saved on your Surface. For more info, see Change camera settings in Camera app and webcams help.

To change where your pictures are saved:

Edit photos and videos

You can edit your photos and videos in the Photos app. For more info, see Enhance and edit photos

Note
Another option for video editing is to use the Movie Moments app, which is available free from the Windows Store. For more info, see Movie Moments app help.

Change camera options

Set the timer

For info, see Use a camera timer Change camera settings

You can zoom in or out, switch between the front and back cameras, change the photo aspect ratio, show or hide framing grid lines, adjust video settings, and change what happens when you press and hold the camera button.To learn how,, see at Camera app and webcams help.

Note

By default, pressing and holding the camera button records a video, but you can change the setting so that holding the camera button takes a quick series of still photos instead.

Turn off the camera shutter sound

You can turn off the shutter sound the camera makes by muting the volume on your Surface.

  • In the task bar, select Volume Volume icon  and slide the slider all the way down to mute the sound.

Troubleshoot Surface cameras

Try these solutions to fix any issues you might be having with the cameras on your Surface.

Make sure apps can use the cameras

Step 1:

Go to Start Windows logo and select Settings > Privacy > Camera, and make sure Let apps use my camera is on.

Download the latest updates for your Surface and Windows

See Install Surface and Windows updates to learn how

Update the camera drivers

Step 2:

Enter Device Manager in the search box next to Start, and then select Device Manager in the results Expand Imaging devices.

Step 3:

Right-click the camera that’s having problems (look for Microsoft Camera Front, Microsoft Camera Rear, Microsoft LifeCam Front, or Microsoft LifeCam Rear) and select Update

Step 4:

Select Search automatically for updated driver software, and then follow the on-screen instructions.

Run the hardware and devices troubleshooter


Surface cameras

Surface has a front-facing camera and a rear-facing camera. You can use the front camera to video chat with a friend or the back camera to record meetings and events. You can also use either camera to take photos.

Rear camera angle when holding comfortably

When you hold your Surface at a comfortable angle, or rest it on its kickstand, you can see what the rear-facing camera is recording. The front camera points up at your face for optimal video calling.

Not sure where the cameras are located on your Surface? See Surface features.

Take photos and record videos

By default, the built-in Camera app is ready to take photos, but you can easily switch between photo and video mode. To take a photo or record a video:

  • Go to Start Start button, and select the Camera app, and select the on-screen Camera or Video button.
Note
If you don’t see the Camera app on the Start menu, select All Apps, and select Camera in the list. To pin the app to Start, select and hold (or right-click) Camera and select Pin to Start.

A small privacy light appears near the active camera when you’re using it. The privacy light can’t be turned off.

Take photos while recording a video

When you’re recording video, you can take a photo without stopping the recording. Here’s how:

  • While recording video, select anywhere on the screen to take a photo, or select the on-screen Camera button.

Take photos or videos from the lock screen

You can quickly take a photo or video from the lock screen. Here’s how:

Step 1: If the screen is off, press a key or turn your Surface on.
Step 2: Swipe down from the top edge of the lock screen.
Step 3: Select the Camera or Video button.

To turn the lock-screen camera feature on or off, follow these steps:

Step 1: Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and select Settings.
Step 2: Select Change PC settings.
Step 3: Select PC and devices, and select Lock screen.
Step 4: Under Camera, select Off or On.

For more info on the Camera app, see Camera app and webcams help.

View photos and videos

By default, copies of your photos and videos are synced to your Camera roll on OneDrive. You can access them from any web-connected device. For more info, see Using OneDrive on Surface.

There are a few ways to look through your photos and videos:

  • Camera app. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen to look through your recent photos and videos. You can also swipe down from the top edge of the screen, and select Camera roll.
  • Photos app, File Explorer, or OneDrive app. Go to your Pictures library and open your Camera roll.

To change your Camera roll settings:

Step 1: Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and select Settings.

(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and select Settings.)

Step 2: Select Change PC settings > OneDrive > Camera roll, and make any changes to the settings you want.

Edit photos and videos

To edit photos:

Step 1: Open a photo using the Camera app, Photos app, or the OneDrive app.
Step 2: Swipe down from the top edge of the screen.
Step 3: Select Edit.
Step 4: Choose from auto and basic fixes, light and color adjustments, and effects.
Step 5: Once the picture is how you like it, swipe down from the top edge to save your changes
(You can select Save a copy or Update original).

To delete or trim videos:

Step 1: Open a video using the Camera, Photos, or the OneDrive app.
Step 2: Swipe down from the top edge of the screen.
Step 3: Do one of the following:

  • Select Delete to delete the video.
  • Select Trim to make the video shorter. Move the handles at the left and right ends of the time line to the new start and stop points you want.
Note
Another option for video editing is to use the Movie Moments app—it’s a free download from the Windows Store. For more info, see Movie Moments app help.

Take a panorama

You can create unique, immersive panoramas by using the Camera app.

Step 1: Open the Camera app, and select Panorama Panorama button.
Step 2: Point the camera where you want your panorama to start, and tap the screen to begin taking shots.
Step 3: Slowly tilt or rotate the camera in any direction. When you align the new image with the existing images, the camera automatically takes the next image.
Step 4: If you want to retake the last image you took, select Undo. Otherwise, select Accept Panorama check mark when you’re done.
Step 5: To see your panorama, swipe down from the top, and select Camera roll.

To learn more about taking panoramas, see Camera app and webcams help.

Change camera options

Use the Camera app to switch between the front and back camera, or to manually set camera options, such as the timer and exposure. Here’s how:

Step 1: Go to Start Start button, and select the Camera app.
Step 2: Swipe down from the top edge of the screen, and at the bottom of the screen, do any of these steps.

  • Select Change camera Change camera icon to switch between the front and back cameras.
  • Select Timer to set how long the camera waits before it takes a photo: 0, 3, or 10 seconds.
  • Select Exposure and move the slider to adjust the brightness of the photo.
Camera app settings

You can also modify the photo aspect ratio, show or hide grid lines, adjust flicker, and turn location info on or off in the Camera app. Here’s how:

Step 1: Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and select Settings.
Step 2: Select Options, and choose the settings you want.

For more info on the Camera app, see Camera app and webcams help.

Turn off the camera shutter sound

You can turn off the shutter sound the camera makes by muting the volume on your Surface. This will turn off all Surface sounds.

Step 1: Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and select Settings.
Step 2: Select Volume Volume in settings., and adjust the volume slider all the way down to mute the sound.

Surface cameras

Surface has a front-facing camera and a rear-facing camera. You can use the front camera to video chat with a friend, or the back camera to record meetings and events. You can also use either camera to take photos.

Rear camera angle when holding comfortably

When you hold Surface at a comfortable angle, or rest it on its kickstand, you can see what the rear-facing camera is recording. The front camera points up at your face for optimal video calling.

Not sure where the cameras are located on your Surface? See Surface features.

Take photos and record videos

By default, the built-in Camera app is ready to take photos, but you can easily switch between photo and video mode. To take a photo or record a video:

  • From the Start screen, open the Camera app, and tap the on-screen Camera or Video button.

A small privacy light appears near the active camera when you’re using it. The privacy light can’t be turned off.

Take photos while recording a video

When you’re recording video, you can take a photo without stopping the recording. Here’s how:

  • Surface RT, Surface 2, and Surface Pro models: While you’re recording video, tap anywhere on the screen to take a photo, or tap the on-screen Camera button.
  • Surface 3: While you’re recording video, tap the on-screen Camera button.

By default, tapping the screen on Surface 3 during video recording adjusts the focus instead of taking a photo, but you can change this setting. To learn more, see Using autofocus on Surface 3.

Adjust the focus on Surface 3

The rear-facing camera on Surface 3 has an autofocus lens that can help improve the sharpness of your photos and videos. The lens automatically focuses on the main subject on the screen, but you can change the focus to a different area before taking a picture or while recording a video. (The front camera has a fixed-focus lens.)

To learn about autofocus on Surface 3, see Using autofocus on Surface 3.

Take photos or videos from the lock screen

You can quickly take a photo or video from the lock screen. Here’s how:

Step 1: If the screen is off, tap a key or turn Surface on.
Step 2: Swipe down from the top edge of the lock screen.
Step 3: Tap the Camera or Video button.

To turn the lock-screen camera feature on or off, follow these steps:

Step 1: On the Start screen, swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and tap Settings.
Step 2: Tap Change PC settings.
Step 3: Tap PC and devices, and tap Lock screen.
Step 4: Under Camera, tap Off or On.

For more info on the Camera app, see Camera app and webcams help.

View photos and videos

By default, copies of your photos and videos are synced to your Camera Roll on OneDrive. You can access them from any web-connected device. For more info, see Using OneDrive on Surface.

There are a few ways to look through your photos and videos:

  • Camera app. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen to look through your recent photos and videos. You can also swipe down from the top edge of the screen, and tap Camera roll.
  • Photos app, File Explorer, or OneDrive app. Go to your Pictures library and open your Camera Roll.

To change your Camera roll settings:

Step 1: On the Start screen, swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and tap Settings.

(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and click Settings.)

Step 2: Tap or click Change PC settings, and then tap or click OneDrive.
Step 3: Tap or click Camera roll, and make any changes to the settings you want.

Edit photos and videos

To edit photos:

Step 1: Open a photo using the Camera app, Photos app, or the OneDrive app.
Step 2: Swipe down from the top edge of the screen.
Step 3: Tap or click Edit.
Step 4: Choose from auto and basic fixes, light and color adjustments, and effects.
Step 5: Once the picture is how you like it, swipe down from the top edge to save your changes
(You can tap or click Save a copy or Update original).

To delete or trim videos:

Step 1: Open a video using the Camera, Photos, or the OneDrive app.
Step 2: Swipe down from the top edge of the screen.
Step 3: Do one of the following:
Step 4: Tap or click Delete to delete the video.
Step 5: Tap or click Trim to make the video shorter. Move the handles at the left and right ends of the time line to the new start and stop points you want.
Note
Another option for video editing is to use the Movie Moments app—it’s a free download from the Windows Store. For more info, see Movie Moments app help.

Take a panorama

You can create unique, immersive panoramas by using the Camera app.

Step 1: Open the Camera app, and tap Panorama Panorama button.
Step 2: Point the camera where you want your panorama to start, and tap the screen to begin taking shots.
Step 3: Slowly tilt or rotate the camera in any direction. When you align the new image with the existing images, the camera automatically takes the next image.
Step 4: If you want to retake the last image you took, tap or click Undo. Otherwise, tap or click Accept Panorama check mark when you’re done.
Step 5: To see your panorama, swipe down from the top, and tap or click Camera roll.

To learn more about taking panoramas, see Camera app and webcams help.

Change camera options

Use the Camera app to switch between the front and back camera, or manually set camera options, such as the timer and exposure. Here’s how:

Step 1: On the Start screen, tap or click the Camera app.
Step 2: Swipe down from the top edge of the screen, and at the bottom of the screen, do any of these steps.

  • Tap or click Change camera Change camera icon to switch between the front and back cameras.
  • Tap or click Timer to set how long the camera waits before it takes a photo: 0, 3, or 10 seconds.
  • Tap or click Exposure and move the slider to adjust the brightness of the photo.
Camera app settings

You can also modify the photo aspect ratio, show or hide grid lines, adjust flicker, and turn on or off location info in the Camera app. Here’s how:

Step 1: Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and tap or click Settings.
Step 2: Tap or click Options, and choose the settings you want.

For more info on the Camera app, see Camera app and webcams help.

Turn off the camera shutter sound

You can turn off the shutter sound the camera makes by muting the volume on Surface. This will turn off all Surface sounds.

Step 1: On the Start screen, swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and tap Settings.
Step 2: Tap Volume Volume in settings., and adjust the volume slider all the way down to mute the sound.

Surface cameras

Surface has a front-facing camera and a rear-facing camera. You can use the front camera to video chat with a friend, or the back camera to record meetings and events. You can also use either camera to take photos.

Rear camera angle when holding comfortably

When you hold Surface at a comfortable angle, or rest it on its kickstand, you can see what the rear-facing camera is recording. The front camera points up at your face for optimal video calling.

Not sure where the cameras are located on your Surface? See Surface features.

Take photos and record videos

By default, the built-in Camera app is ready to take photos, but you can easily switch between photo and video mode. To take a photo or record a video:

  • From the Start screen, open the Camera app, and tap the on-screen Camera or Video button.

A small privacy light appears near the active camera when you’re using it. The privacy light can’t be turned off.

Take photos while recording a video

When you’re recording video, you can take a photo without stopping the recording. Here’s how:

  • While you’re recording video, tap anywhere on the screen to take a photo, or tap the on-screen Camera button.

Take photos or videos from the lock screen

You can quickly take a photo or video from the lock screen. Here’s how:

Step 1: If the screen is off, tap a key or turn Surface on.
Step 2: Swipe down from the top edge of the lock screen.
Step 3: Tap the Camera or Video button.

To turn the lock-screen camera feature on or off, follow these steps:

Step 1: On the Start screen, swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and tap Settings.
Step 2: Tap Change PC settings.
Step 3: Tap PC and devices, and tap Lock screen.
Step 4: Under Camera, tap Off or On.

For more info on the Camera app, see Camera app and webcams help.

View photos and videos

By default, copies of your photos and videos are synced to your Camera Roll on OneDrive. You can access them from any web-connected device. For more info, see Using OneDrive on Surface.

There are a few ways to look through your photos and videos:

  • Camera app. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen to look through your recent photos and videos. You can also swipe down from the top edge of the screen, and tap Camera roll.
  • Photos app, File Explorer, or OneDrive app. Go to your Pictures library and open your Camera Roll.

To change your Camera roll settings:

Step 1: On the Start screen, swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and tap Settings.

(If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and click Settings.)

Step 2: Tap or click Change PC settings, and then tap or click OneDrive.
Step 3: Tap or click Camera roll, and make any changes to the settings you want.

Edit photos and videos

To edit photos:

Step 1: Open a photo using the Camera app, Photos app, or the OneDrive app.
Step 2: Swipe down from the top edge of the screen.
Step 3: Tap or click Edit.
Step 4: Choose from auto and basic fixes, light and color adjustments, and effects.
Step 5: Once the picture is how you like it, swipe down from the top edge to save your changes
(You can tap or click Save a copy or Update original).

To delete or trim videos:

Step 1: Open a video using the Camera, Photos, or the OneDrive app.
Step 2: Swipe down from the top edge of the screen.
Step 3: Do one of the following:
Step 4: Tap or click Delete to delete the video.
Step 5: Tap or click Trim to make the video shorter. Move the handles at the left and right ends of the time line to the new start and stop points you want.
Note
Another option for video editing is to use the Movie Moments app—it’s a free download from the Windows Store. For more info, see Movie Moments app help.

Take a panorama

You can create unique, immersive panoramas by using the Camera app.

Step 1: Open the Camera app, and tap Panorama Panorama button.
Step 2: Point the camera where you want your panorama to start, and tap the screen to begin taking shots.
Step 3: Slowly tilt or rotate the camera in any direction. When you align the new image with the existing images, the camera automatically takes the next image.
Step 4: If you want to retake the last image you took, tap or click Undo. Otherwise, tap or click Accept Panorama check mark when you’re done.
Step 5: To see your panorama, swipe down from the top, and tap or click Camera roll.

To learn more about taking panoramas, see Camera app and webcams help.

Change camera options

Use the Camera app to switch between the front and back camera, or manually set camera options, such as the timer and exposure. Here’s how:

Step 1: On the Start screen, tap or click the Camera app.
Step 2: Swipe down from the top edge of the screen, and at the bottom of the screen, do any of these steps.

  • Tap or click Change camera Change camera icon to switch between the front and back cameras.
  • Tap or click Timer to set how long the camera waits before it takes a photo: 0, 3, or 10 seconds.
  • Tap or click Exposure and move the slider to adjust the brightness of the photo.
Camera app settings

You can also modify the photo aspect ratio, show or hide grid lines, adjust flicker, and turn on or off location info in the Camera app. Here’s how:

Step 1: Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and tap or click Settings.
Step 2: Tap or click Options, and choose the settings you want.

For more info on the Camera app, see Camera app and webcams help.

Turn off the camera shutter sound

You can turn off the shutter sound the camera makes by muting the volume on Surface. This will turn off all Surface sounds.

Step 1: On the Start screen, swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and tap Settings.
Step 2: Tap Volume Volume in settings, and adjust the volume slider all the way down to mute the sound.

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