How to use Live View Mode when taking Pictures

Michael • updated July 12, 2022 • 5 min read

How to use Live View Mode when taking Pictures

Many beginner photographers prefer to view the scene they are shooting on the LCD display instead of looking through the viewfinder. Thanks to Live View technology, this is now also possible with most digital DSLRs.

Does this method make any sense? Yes, because there are some good things about taking photos in Live View mode.

Live View mode may not be the most common way for advanced photographers to take pictures. The reason is that the display, electronics, and other things change the picture.

In this lesson, you will learn what is behind the technology and what advantages and disadvantages Live View offers.


 

What is camera live view, image shows the live view screen of a system camera

What is camera Live View?

When you take a picture in Live View, the camera’s screen shows you the subject in real-time. In Live View, the camera’s mirror is turned up so that light can hit the sensor directly. The live image is shown on the monitor. 

The Live View mode comes with all digital compact cameras. It has only been around since 2006 for DSLR cameras, and photographers can use it in some situations.

Shooting in Live View mode is a good idea when the photographer wants to take photos from different angles. This is especially true for cameras with displays that can be turned.

This means you no longer have to take random photos from above or crawl around on the ground to get a frog’s-eye view.

Advantages taking photos in Live View

With the Live View function, you no longer have to look through the viewfinder to take a picture. This lets you take pictures and stay focused even when things are hard.

  • The Live View mode is very useful, for example when you want to take pictures close to the ground or very high up.
    So, you won’t have to put yourself in awkward positions to look through the viewfinder. Instead, you turn on Live View on the camera to see everything.
  • Since you don’t have to keep pressing your eye on the viewfinder, you can also talk to the people in front of the camera better.
  • Depending on how your camera is set up, you might also be able to tap the screen to take a picture. You can also move the focus point by yourself with the touch of a finger.
  • With the magnifying glass feature in Live View mode, you can get a closer look at the preview image and get a better idea of how sharp it is. When you zoom in, you can put the focus down to the millimeter. This can be a great tool, for example, when shooting macros.
  • In Live View mode, you can see a full preview of your shot before you take it. This lets you change the angle and part of the image as you like.

    On the other hand, many cameras only show between 95% and 98% of the picture in the viewfinder.

  • You can also place your camera correctly with the help of guides and grids on the screen.
  • The live reproduction of the exposure is another great thing about the Live View mode. When you change the settings on your camera, the live image shows you right away what happens.
  • You can check the image’s exposure, depth of field, and color temperature before you take it. This way, you’ll be sure to avoid missing a lot of shots because the settings weren’t right. This mode is also a great way to try out your camera’s features and settings and see how they work.
  • But when judging the preview image, you should always take into account the quality and accuracy of the display.
  • Live View mode and a display that can be turned or swiveled is another benefit. For example, you can easily take self-portraits with the camera by opening the screen and turning it around.
  • You can see the preview image right away and choose the exact part of the image to focus on. A display that can be turned is very helpful, especially when the camera is in an unusual position.
  • Even though the Live View mode shows a slightly distorted image on the screen, it does have some benefits.
    For example, the display shows extra information that you wouldn’t have been able to see through the optical viewfinder.
  • Many cameras have different ways to show things on the screen, like a histogram or an exposure simulator. This information is very helpful because it lets you know if your image will look the same on the printout.
  • The Live View mode has been very helpful, especially when taking pictures of people or groups. Now that the photographer doesn’t have to “hide” behind the camera, he can talk to his models in person.
  • Many users find it advantageous that they can also use the camera close to the ground or above their heads to achieve special perspectives, for example, because of the Live View option.

Disadvantages taking photos in Live View

Live View mode has a lot of great benefits and options, but it also has a few bad things about it.

  • Using Live View to take pictures uses a lot more power. This means that the battery will die much more quickly. When working in Live View mode, you should always have a few extra batteries with you.
  • Using this camera feature causes the sensor to heat up over time because it is always being lit by the sun and is always sending data. This can make the noise in the image behave worse.
  • Taking pictures in Live View mode also makes it more likely that the camera will shake while taking the picture. If you look through the camera’s viewfinder as you normally would, your face also helps to steady the camera.
  • The autofocus isn’t as good in Live View mode as it is when using the viewfinder. This is because the camera usually only uses contrast metering to set the focus, which is a much slower method. But this mode is perfect for focusing by hand.
  • The disadvantages of live view lie in the fact that it has not yet been fully developed. For example, focusing – which is done via contrast metering in Live View, as opposed to phase comparison metering, which is used in DSLR cameras – still takes far too long.
  • Live View cannot be used for action shots at the moment. You may have also noticed that when you shoot in Live View mode, the shutter speed is very slow.
  • In this mode, most cameras have a longer time before the shutter opens. This means that Live View mode is not good for taking pictures of things that are moving
  • In bright ambient light outdoors, the monitor image is often difficult or even impossible to see.
  • But the live display on the screen also makes the phone use more battery.
  • The Live View mode should only be used for special subjects or video recordings, and the focus should be adjusted carefully. If not, you should just use the viewfinder, which is a safe way to control your shots.

Quick overview – pros and cons

Live View Pros:

  • 100 percent of the crop can be seen
  • Precise focusing
  • You can also take pictures from strange angles
  • To see a “live image.”
  • Perfect for learning how to use a camera

Live View Cons:

  • Higher battery consumption
  • Image noise gets worse when the sensor gets hot
  • Delay in recording
  • The camera is more likely to shake
  • Less sharp autofocus
  • Strong sunlight made it hard to see the picture
  • Not recommended for sport or action shots

Check out the Live View settings of your camera:

Conclusion

In the end, it has to be said that the Live View mode is a great feature that has both advantages and disadvantages. Whether you really want to shoot in this mode is of course a matter of taste and up to you.

The Live View function is very useful and and we recommend to us it in certain situations. Nevertheless, it is a function that one likes to have but does not necessarily have to have.

Whether a camera has this feature or not is not very important for most photographers when choosing a camera.

What is your take on how to use Live View mode? – Let us know in the comments. 

By Furoore team member Michael
Furoore Team is here to assist you in capturing the most significant moments in your life. To create exciting photographs, discover photography guides, find unique photo ideas, and limitless image inspiration.

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