How to take a photo or video using Siri

Everything you need to know about using Siri for help in taking photos and filming video.

Siri User Guide
Siri User Guide

Taking a photo or shooting a video with your iPhone is easy enough as it is. Just fire up the camera app and go for it. But many users don’t know Siri can be used as a virtual assistant in this area too.

At this point, Siri can ask the Camera app to do almost everything for you except the final act of taking the photo or video. Your finger is still needed at that point – which is a shame. Commanding Siri to take shots when the iPhone is set up on a tripod a distance away would be very useful.

Another option is to take a photo using the “Hey Siri” voice command. You’ll need to set up a simple Siri Shortcut, though, for which we’ve helpfully written a step-by-step guide.

How to take a photo with Siri

Siri will let you open the Camera app with the three available photo options.

Activate Siri on an iPhone by using one of these options:

  1. Say “Hey Siri” followed by your request.
  2. Press and hold the Side button (iPhone X and newer) or Home button (iPhone 8 and older) on your iPhone.

(If this doesn't work, learn how to set up Siri on an iPhone).

Then say:

Hey Siri, take a photo
Hey Siri, take a square photo
Hey Siri, take a panoramic shot
Hey Siri, take a portrait photo

The Camera app will launch with the setting you requested, and you can press the capture button to take the photo.

Take a Photo

How to take a selfie with Siri

Hey Siri, take a selfie
Hey Siri, take selfie

The Camera app will launch with your preferred settings. Press the capture button to take the photo.

How to shoot video with Siri

You can ask Siri to open the Camera app to one of the three available video options.

Press and hold the side button on your iPhone to activate Siri or simply say “Hey Siri” if you’ve already enabled this feature. Then say:

Hey Siri, take a video
Hey Siri, shoot a slow-motion video
Hey Siri, take a time-lapse video

The Camera app will open to the setting you asked for, and you can start to record a video.

Use Siri to find your photos

Once you’ve taken a photo, you can use Siri to search your photo library without the need to tap, scroll, and swipe around until you discover the image you’re looking for.

What you can’t do, yet

There are a few other things that Siri isn’t yet able to do in the Camera app.

  • Trigger the flash.
  • Enable Live Photos.
  • Set a timer.
  • Turn on HDR photos.
  • Turn on Live Filters.
  • Lock AutoFocus.
  • Zoom.
  • Turn the viewfinder grid on or off.
  • Change video quality.

A few third-party apps are available that integrate with Siri (an Internet connection is always required) and allow voice-activated photography. Results appear to be mixed according to reviews.

Want to discover more about using Siri, Apple’s popular virtual assistant? We’ve written a helpful collection of tutorials full of techniques for using apps, dictation, using Siri Shortcuts, and a comprehensive beginner’s guide to activating and using Siri.