How to Use the Camera on a Google Chromebook

So, you’ve got yourself a new shiny Chromebook and find yourself wanting to learn the ins and outs of your new camera functions? Or maybe you’ve had your Chromebook for some time but never learned what your camera can do apart from being used as a webcam?

Not to worry, we’ll go over the functionalities of a Google Chromebook camera using the camera app that comes preinstalled. You can also install any camera app you might prefer from the Play Store.

The basic functions of your Chromebook camera are taking photos and video, allowing some immediate direct editing of these, and of course being used as a webcam for all your favorite social media and meeting apps such as Zoom, Skype, Facebook, and more.

We will go through all your options step by step with some basic headings so you can easily skip to the part you need if you want to find something in a rush.

Launching Your Camera App

There are two easy ways to open your Camera App, the first one is clicking the Launcher menu (denoted by a circle) in the left bottom-hand corner of your screen. From here you can either scroll through your apps until you find “Camera” or use the search function to find it.

Immediately when you launch the camera app, you are presented with a shutter icon and three options on the right-hand side of your screen. 

Picture – takes landscape photos. The shutter icon appears as such if you select it:

Video – starts recording video when you click the shutter icon which changes if video is selected to appear like this:

Square – is another photo option, however, the photo is automatically squared off i.e., has the same dimensions horizontally as vertically. The shutter icon is the same as for the picture.

If your Chromebook doubles as a tablet you can take pictures by pressing the volume keys (both up and down work) once you’ve launched your camera app.

You can also capture a video snapshot while recording a video by pressing the picture shutter icon.

Additional Functions

There are three or four additional icons on the left-hand side of your camera app that can help you in capturing the most suitable image for your needs. You will have four icons if you have two cameras on your Chromebook or if you have a built-in camera and an attached external camera as the fourth option is to switch between cameras. Below we explain each symbol and its meaning:

  • Mirroring icon: This changes the camera direction from left to right and can be especially useful for content creators making tutorials where distinctions between left and right are important for viewers
  • Grid icon: This allows the use of grid lines to help you align and straighten your photos
  • Timer icon: This allows you to add a timer before the shutter completes the photo action or starts recording video hence giving you time to get into position
  • Switch camera icon: Only appears if you have two cameras.

The Cogwheel settings icon in the top left-hand corner allows you to make changes to the size of the grid, the length of the timer, or the camera resolution. You can also change the aspect ratio of the aperture.

If you want to stop working on a video, you can simply pause recording. Your video will automatically be saved if you don’t delete it, and you can continue recording to the same file at a later time.

Saving and Viewing

A thumbnail of your latest photo or video is available immediately in the right-hand bottom corner. You can open it immediately from here. Alternatively, new photos and videos are available in your file library.

My files -> Camera

Older images and videos are available in your downloads folder.

You can do some basic photo editing such as rotating, cropping, rescaling, adjusting light filters in the google chrome gallery once you’ve opened your photo. There are also several apps available for more complex photo editing. Google Photos, Pixlr Editor, and Sumo Paint are recommended on google support so you could start with one of those to see if it meets your needs.

In your folders you can also rename and permanently delete files if you so wish.

We hope this introduction to your Chromebook camera helps you navigate and get the most out of your photo and video adventures.