As long as we’ve had cameras, we’ve tried to take the perfect group photo. You set the camera on a stand, turn on the timer, run back to crowd, say “Cheese!” and hope no one blinked. Of course, someone often does, and you have to take the photo all over again—that is, unless you have a phone that can automatically snap the photo at the right time.
Google has a feature for its Pixel phones that allows you to take a perfect group shot, or at least have as many chances to get one as you like. Your Pixel will analyze the group and wait until it senses that everyone is looking forward and smiling. Then, and only then, will it snap the photo.
With this feature, you don’t need to worry about setting a long-enough timer to make it back in time for the photo; it only snaps when you’re all ready. That said, it might take a photo without you if everyone in the group smiles before you get there. However, you’ll have plenty of other chances to make it in the photo, too (more on that later).
The one potential downside to using this feature is that it only works with the selfie camera. Now, your Pixel’s front camera likely takes excellent photos, but a smartphone’s rear camera (or cameras) are almost always better. If you really want to use the rear camera for your group photo, you certainly can, but you won’t be able to take advantage of the auto timer feature.
Of course, you need the right phone for this to work. At this time, it appears the Pixel 3 and newer sport this feature. To set it up, open the Camera app on your Pixel, then switch to the front camera. Tap the down arrow at the top of the display, then tap the icon with an “A” next to Timer (the “A” is for “Auto” mode). Then, tap the shutter button, and your Pixel will automatically take a selfie when all subjects in the frame are smiling.
The auto timer won’t prevent blinking—the feature snaps a photo the moment it determines that all the subjects are smiling. It doesn’t seem to take into account how open your eyes are, so you might still end up with a dud. However, that’s where the other side to this great feature comes into play; the auto timer will continue taking pictures every two seconds or so, as long as it detects everyone is still smiling. So, just tell your group to hold the position for a bit, and you’ll have multiple options to work with.