How I Took These Stunning Photos In Windows Phone 8.1 With Burst Mode

It’s almost two years old, but I’m still using my Nokia Lumia 920 Windows Phone 8 device, released in late 2012. It might be a centimetre thick and almost twice as heavy as my HTC One (M7), but it continues to be useful for many different tasks. Most importantly, it takes superb photographs.

We’ve looked at the optical prowess of this device in the past, most recently showcasing what it can do as a movie camera and how the Nokia Camera app brings pro-level tools to the platform. But if you don’t have the Nokia Camera app, you’ll be limited to the stock camera, which hasn’t been all that great – until now.

When you upgrade to Windows Phone 8.1, a new native camera app is introduced, which features a key new feature (albeit one that was previously available in third party apps). We’ll talk about it further down, but first here are some examples of how it can help you capture some stunning images.

Bouncy Castle

With a standard smartphone camera – or even with the old version of the Windows Phone camera software – it is incredibly difficult to capture this sort of action shot.


One way would be to attempt to move the camera along with the subject, but with something as random as jumping on an inflatable castle, this could prove very difficult, and anyway the background would be blurred. This might be desirable in some cases, but usually with a subject moving horizontally rather than vertically.

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The feature we’re discussing in this article came into play here, enabling me to snap two memorable photos with the minimum of effort and preparation.

Forever Blowing Bubbles


Just a couple of days ago this photo was taken and I was so pleased with it that I immediately uploaded it to Facebook.

Despite many years of trying I’ve never been able to successfully snap bubbles so much as floating, never mind actually being formed, and with strong sunlight and a couple of little faces looking on with wonder, this turned out to be another memorable snap.

The original above is perhaps the more realistic account of the event (although it could perhaps do with some desktop processing to blur the background somewhat), but the following Instagram version compresses that moment into something slightly different.



How? With Burst Mode!

None of these photos would have been possible without Burst Mode, a built in feature now available in Windows Phone 8.1.

One of the things I’ve most admired my Windows Phone 8 device for, is its ability to snap amazing photos in high resolution using the 12 MP camera and Carl Zeiss lens. What Burst Mode manages to do is capture a fast sequence of images in low resolution, yet keep them looking rather amazing.


You can select Burst Mode from the camera view screen, on the right-hand group of buttons. This will initiate a quick burst of photographic snaps, usually 12. Only one tap of the button is required, so you can focus on getting the image lined up correctly – you don’t need to hold it.


With your burst of photos captured, you can then open them up in the Photos screen and tap the burst button to review them. Not all will be perfect, but those that are can be tapped to select them, and with the save button stored to your phone permanently.

Burst mode images are retained by default for seven days before being auto-deleted, if they haven’t been manually saved.


However, you can adjust this by opening the Photo settings in the camera app and choosing an alternative from the Keep unsaved burst photos for menu.

I’m No David Bailey, But…

Using Burst Mode on a Windows Phone device with such a good lens and camera seems to make what was once a tricky job far easier. Smartphones often have a problem with snapping the exact same image you’re seeing in the viewfinder, often due to delays in the software.

The Nokia Lumia 920 isn’t too bad, but the effect is often disappointing, especially in low light, which makes the presence of Burst Mode such a great bonus.

Of course, that’s only my opinion. How has Burst Mode worked for you? Do you have any great images to share? Use the comments!

Image Credits: K?rlis Dambr?ns Via Flickr

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