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  • Cheryl Tan

Huawei P40 Pro Smartphone Photography – Tips and Tricks

Updated: Aug 19, 2021

The Huawei P40 Pro has one of the most powerful cameras in any smartphone to date, but some stuff here isn’t as intuitive to find as you’d expect. Here’s how to activate features like the all-new AI Golden Snap, and other photography tips.

With a 50MP main camera on the rear, you might think that your photos will be super big. Thankfully, Huawei pixel bins photos by default. Pixel binning is a process in which data from four pixels will be combined into one, resulting in a photo that can boast better low light performance while keeping file sizes small. But if you want that 50MP high-resolution photo, how do you get it? Well, you can activate it via the High-Res mode that’s available under the More tab all the way to the right. Another way to activate it is through the Pro Mode.

Pro Mode allows users to control every single aspect of the photo, from white balance to shutter speed and even focus distance. For quick snaps, the normal photo mode is fine, but if you want to have even more granular control over photos for special shots like light painting or long exposure shots, this is the mode you need to be in. 

The quad-camera array at the back features a telephoto lens that supports up to 5 times optical zoom and 50 times digital zoom, but it’s not always easy to pinch in and out to the precise amount that you’d like to zoom into. A simple method is to just tap on the left or right of the zoom indicator to zoom in or out respectively! This way, it swaps quickly between the main lens, ultra-wide-angle lens and telephoto lenses. 

Night mode is easily activated at the leftmost side of the mode bar, but don’t just use night mode during nighttime! Contrary to the name, you can actually use it during bright daylight as well to balance between overexposed and dark areas. The trade-off is that this mode requires a second or two more to capture a photo, so make sure you only use this for static images. 

Finally, we get to the AI Golden Snap feature. This feature has been touted by Huawei to be able to remove passers-by from photos, as well as human reflections from glass surfaces. This can be activated by tapping on the Moving Picture button on the top left, resulting in a burst of photos taken when the shutter button is tapped. Tap on edit once the image is captured and there’ll be an option to “remove passers-by”. By using an algorithm that checks which elements are static and which are moving, the phone will attempt to remove moving elements such as humans walking by. 

As for reflections in glass, it’s also activated the same way with the Moving Picture button, and then in the edit screen, there’s an option to “remove reflections”. We found that this worked quite well, but it’s again dependent on the angle that the person is standing and how bright the overall photo is. 

If you’re taking photos of human subjects, you’ll most likely want a blurred-out background. There are two options, Portrait mode and Aperture mode. In Portrait mode, you don’t get to choose between the different Leica colour settings, instead, you get options for beauty mode and effects, which adjust how the bokeh looks. There are some interesting effects like Swirl, Hearts and more.

For even stronger bokeh though, the Aperture mode is the one to go for. We tested it out and noticed that the separation between subject and background is really quite impressive. More than that, you get the option to choose between Leica Standard, Leica Vivid and Leica Smooth. There are a lot more options in the main photo mode, but at least there are some to choose from for Aperture mode. To get the most out of this mode, remember to tap to set the focus area on the subject, and then adjust the aperture setting at the bottom. It can go all the way to f/0.95, which is relatively shallow, so don’t forget to make sure your focus is locked in.

For landscape and cityscape photography, you might find the field of view on the main lens a bit limiting. Switch on over to the ultra-wide lens and squeeze more into that photo. The ultra-wide lens is an 18mm equivalent, which isn’t quite as wide as other ultra-wide lenses out there, but it does the job decently with almost no distortion visible at all. 

Of course, what’s a phone without being able to take selfies? The P40 Pro has a 32MP front camera in conjunction with a depth sensor. Once you swap from the rear to front cameras, the phone automatically jumps into portrait mode, which is a nice touch. We recommend turning down the beauty settings a little to prevent oversoftening on the skin. There’s also the same background effects available here for bokeh, which we recommend as well. Swirl does look quite nice. Don’t forget to hold your phone up at a higher angle to make your face seem smaller, you’re welcome.

There’s a lot of options and space to play around with the cameras on this phone, and honestly, I think it’s a pretty good tool for mobile photographers who are looking for an upgrade on what they have now.

This content was brought to you in partnership with Huawei.

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