Top 8 LG G3 camera tips and tricks

The G3 has a pretty great camera, but here are a few tips to make the most of it

The LG G3 has received plenty of credit for its fantastic camera. From general image quality to laser focusing and UHD video, this phone can do just about anything you want it to in the imaging department. When you first launch the camera not every feature will be immediately apparent to you, though — we're here to help with that.

Read along and see the top eight tips and tricks for making the most of your LG G3's camera.

1. Launch the camera with the volume button

LG G3 Camera

When something happens and you need to launch your camera quickly, the fastest way to do it may be to hold down the volume down button on the back of the G3. When the screen is off, just a two-second hold on the button and your phone will vibrate, then launch the camera. You'll up and shooting in short order.

2. Add a real shutter key

LG G3 Camera shutter key

When you first open up your LG G3's camera you may notice something — well, everything — missing from a standard viewfinder. By default, LG has hidden all non-essential controls in order to make it easy to open the camera and snap a picture, but sometimes you want more control.

Tap the overflow menu button (three vertical dots) in the corner of the interface, and it'll toggle in all of the extra interface elements for you to tinker with, including a proper shutter key and video record button on one side and a settings, mode, camera toggle and flash button on the other. Once you show the shutter key, a tap on the screen will simply lock focus on that spot rather than focus and capture.

3.The most important settings

LG G3 Camera settings

Hitting the settings gear will reveal a few quick settings that you should know about. In this menu you can toggle grid lines, the shot timer, voice-activated shutter and HDR modes, as well as select video and photo quality.

You'll likely want to select the highest possible resolution for your photos, but choose between W10M (wide) and 13M (standard) aspect ratios based on what you prefer. Video is 1080p by default, but you can bump that to UHD (3840 x 2160) if you want to show off crazy-high resolution videos.

As for HDR (High Dynamic Range), most people will want to just leave their G3 on "HDR Auto" mode, where the phone will choose whether it needs to use the multiple-exposure HDR more to brighten up the picture or not. In bright daylight scenes you'll get the fast capture times of non-HDR shots, and in lower light situations you'll get the punchy colors and reduced grain of full-on HDR.

4. Switch between shooting modes

LG G3 Magic Focus

The G3 offers a few different shooting modes to choose from, which you can find behind the "mode" button next to the settings gear. "Dual" gives you a picture-in-picture style shot with both cameras, Panorama lets you shoot ultra-wide sweeping shots, Magic Focus will let you choose where you want to sharpen a shot after the fact and of course Auto will do everything for you.

5. Quickly switch to the front-facing camera

LG G3 Camera switch

You may think it's simple to toggle between the front and rear cameras — just tap the overflow button to show the interface, then reach up and hit the camera toggle button. But there's an easier way: simply swipe across the viewfinder in any direction and the phone will switch to the other camera. Swipe again at any time, and you'll switch back again.

6. Manage the flash

LG G3 Camera flash

There are three flash modes on the LG G3's camera — auto, on and off — to choose from. Each works just like you'd expect, and most folks will opt to leave it on auto. You can toggle between the three modes with the flash button between the menu and camera switch buttons.

You'll also notice that the flash is not available when you're using HDR, which adds extra light on its own using multiple exposures. If it's particularly dark and you need to add extra light, switch to another shooting mode to turn the flash on.

7. Shoot in burst mode

LG G3 Camera burst mode

Sometimes when you're taking pictures of a fast-moving subject and just can't miss a single moment, you'll want to take advantage of burst mode. Whenever this situation arises, simply press and hold the shutter key and the phone will take as many shots as possible in succession until you release the key.

When you go to view burst mode photos, they'll be grouped together in the gallery — tap the group to view each frame, and when you find one (or five) that you like, hit the save button to separate it from the group. Be careful here — hitting "delete" from the gallery will delete every shot in that burst if you haven't saved the frames you want.

8. Save your photos and video to the SDcard

LG G3 SDcard

If you've chosen to take advantage of the G3's SDcard slot to expand your internal storage, you'll be able to force the phone to save pictures and video to that external card. After inserting an SDcard for the first time when you launch the camera you'll be given a dialogue box where you can choose to save to the SDcard, but if you happen to change your mind at any point you can quickly switch between internal and external storage.

Hit the gear icon, and tap the bottom (or left in portrait mode) icon to toggle between SD (SDcard) and IN (internal) storage.

For more, see our LG G3 help page, and swing by our G3 forums!

Andrew Martonik

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

  • My wife really wants the phone. Can I have a free one? Posted via the Android Central App on my Nexus 5
  • If you can afford to have a wife and a Nexus 5 you can afford to buy a G3.
  • Depends on now much you can trade the wife in for. You won't get much for the Nexus....
  • Depends how much mileage you got on her.
  • Lol.
  • lmao good one
  • +1 Posted via Android Central App
  • Best comment I read in a while :)
  • Is there something I have to do, change a setting or something? Volume down only turns the volume down, it doesn't open the camera
  • That's when the screen is off. You gotta hold it down for a couple seconds. Posted via Android Central App
  • The setting to have it launch the camera when you long press the volume button is on by default. If you happened to have turned it off, you can turn it back on in Settings > Shortcut key > turn to "on."
  • Thanks for the tip! I was looking for how to turn off the shortcut keys. The Flash came on once and burned my leg!
  • Thanks a bunch, if was the screen being off that was throwing me
  • Hold the button down with the screen off and the phone will buzz. Then the camera will open up.
  • Settings>General>Shortcut Key (on)
  • Only works when the phone is off and it isn't playing a song or something.
  • I did not know how to do the burst mode, glad I took a look. Can't wait to try it out on the dog, he has a knack for ruining photos Posted via my LG G3
  • I hope they add the option back to change the brightness and ISO in a future update. I miss having those options from my G2. Posted via Android Central App
  • I would love the G3's camera even more if the overly aggressive noise cancellation on the device didn't ruin the audio quality by muffling and garbling everything...
  • Here's a few other great tips.
    1) The "no-hands" selfie. With the front camera on, hold up your hand until the it's recognized on the screen, then make a fist. A 3 second timer counts down to photo.
    2) take a photo with your voice. Just enable sound from the settings icon, choose the icon that looks like a profiled face with ))), then say "smile" or "cheese".
  • I've got a question I have not been able to find an answer to. On the front camera, there is a slider control at the bottom of the screen. On the left is a head, and the right a head with stars. Does anyone know what this control does? I can't really see any difference on either extreme.
  • Try taking a selfie in normal light with the slider to the head, then the same selfie in low light with the slider towards the stars. I think it is a '' brightness '' control dependant on your situation Posted via Android Central App
  • Not it at all... Why comment if you don't know? It's to smooth out the skin and pretty much everything else in the picture from what I've seen... never really slide it all the way right or left, I usually keep it at around 4. Gets to be too noticeable if you go all the way to the right. Posted via Android Central App
  • How can I keep the slide to where I want it all the time instead of automatically set it to 4? I want it to show my true looks and not "smooth" things out....
  • It's a "beautify" slider. The more you slide it to the starry head, the more the app will "smooth" out skin and try to hide spots, blemishes and such.
  • Meh, I have the phone and am selling it. LG ruined the android experience as much as Samsung. And the auto brightness on this thing is awful.
  • Yeah the auto brightness isn't too good but I didn't think it was that great on getting S5 either. I don't understand how it's that difficult. Some manufacturers get it right while others stink. Posted via my LG G3
  • Camera crashes when I try to zoom while recording video. I have the AT&T D850 version. Anyone else having this issue?
  • I have the AT&T version and I had no problem zooming while taking video. That was the first time I've taken a video with this phone while trying to duplicate your issue. Posted via my LG G3
  • For me, not being able to adjust the exposure == fail. Too bad, because I _really_ like a lot of features in the camera app. Luckily there are 3rd party apps for when I need to get the photo right. :)
  • Am considering this phone but I heard a new nexus may be released soon. Or maybe the one plus one? Too many sweet phones out there. Decisions decisions.... Posted via Android Central App
  • The only way I can take a picture is with the lower volume rocker on the back. How can i change this Posted via Android Central App
  • Another helpful article! Thanks!
  • Hey Andrew! Thanks to you and Alex on all the G3 articles. You guys have been really helpful!! Just got 2 G3s on the 17th of July when they were released on Verizon. Love them a ton, best ever for us! Cheers and thanks again!
  • Not exactly camera related, but I accidentally discovered that pinching the screen when you're looking at the picture gallery will lock in a zoomed out view of the pictures that will let you delete by simply swiping up. Posted via Android Central App
  • Quick question. When I take photos with the back camera and zoom in they all look cartoonish in color.
    Is there a default blur filter on? I have tried to switch to a max image size to see if this helps. It was on default. Thank you in advance.
  • Try SliderCamera, that's perfect replacement camera app for G3
  • Just made the change from Apple to android last week. Just blown away by the many options here.
  • I HATE the LG 3 VIGOR!! What a P.O.S.!!!!!!!
    LG makes good TV'S and computer screens, but should STOP it at that!!! NEVER AGAIN WILL I BUY LG PHONE!!!
  • I've never had a phone that takes worse pictures and videos than the LG G3! I've missed spectacular moments for photos of my grandaughter, concerts, sunsets, etc. I'm extremely disappointed. Total waste of $.
  • How do date on my photographs?
    No such program?