Living Images

Here's how to (mostly) enable Nokia's 'Living Images' on your PureView Lumia

Nokia's Living Images is a new feature coming to Windows Phone 8.1 and their Lumia Cyan firmware update for the high-end PureView devices, like the Lumia 1020, Lumia 1520, Icon and so forth. Living Images captures a few seconds before you snap a photo, so that when you're browsing through your Camera Roll or StoryTeller, your photos come alive. It's like Cinemagraph, but without having to think, as it just works automatically.

A Nokia Camera Beta update a few weeks ago introduced Living Images, but no one could use it without the Cyan firmware. Even those with a Lumia 630 can't use it as that device is not PureView. But I started getting tips from people who had Living Images enabled, though they didn't know how it happened. Finally, Jason in our comments explained a simple trick to get it working, at least mostly.

Partially enable 'Living Images'

Be forewarned, it's not yet clear how to disable this, once it's enabled. Having said that, there doesn't seem to be any downsides.

  • Open up Nokia Camera Beta or download from the Store here
  • Open the Menu (use the ellipsis '…')
  • Select Settings
  • Choose 'Use default settings'
  • Restart Nokia Camera Beta (may not be necessary)

The next time you snap a photo, you should see 'Saving Living Image' displayed in the upper left corner. When you scroll through your Camera Roll, you should see your Living Image photo, with a second of video before it.

Oddly, this Living Images trick doesn't work with Nokia's StoryTeller, so it appears to be a loophole in the Windows Phone 8.1 Camera Roll.

To see how it works make sure you watch the above video.

Living Image will be more

I should point out that Living Images will be more than what you see now. The Lumia Cyan firmware is needed to unlock the feature, including any advanced editing functions. In that sense, this is more or less a tease of the feature, rather than the function itself. Still, it should give you an idea of what to expect when Lumia Cyan lands on your PureView Lumia phone in the coming weeks.

I think Living Image will be an amazing addition. For one, you don't have to think about using it as it automatically happens when you take a photo. That solves the current problem of having to think out a scene, and then choose the right Lens, and then capture your moment. Living Image gives you a Cinemagraph like function, but with no delay in capturing and no thought. It's pretty brilliant, and I can't wait to see the real thing on my Lumia 1520.

Big thanks to Jason_tee for the tip!

Related Reading

QR: Nokia Camera Beta


Reader comments

Here's how to (mostly) enable Nokia's 'Living Images' on your PureView Lumia



If you dont know, dont say. :) 925 have pureview so its works, tested few sec ago. Nice, but not usefull thing :)

So based on comments it seems to be working on any device 820 (810, 822) and above in terms of camera, processor and ram specs.

You are wrong, Dan. Its working very well on my Lumia 820 with latest wp 8.1 DP.
Cool trick anyways..

That's weird then, as my Lumia 630 with Cyan can't do it. Unless it's the Cyan firmware that blocks it, which would make sense.

Are you running the latest version of Nokia camera beta and the latest update of wp8.1?

Yep works on my 820. My guess is because it has a carl zeiss 8.7 mp camera even though its not preview branded... Not sure about the camera spec on 720

920 is not real pureview. 920 have only image stabilization. Looks like low-end phones support live imaging too but with lower fps then 1020 or icon. 

It's the 2nd Pureview... The OIS is the mark of that (as 2nd Gen Pureview) NL 1020 and 1520 is the 3rd Gen which combines both OIS and oversampling.. (if you don't agree... Do you also say that 808 isn't one because of it only has oversampling ability??)

Does not matter about pureview. Pureview is not condition to satisfy ability to take low lag photos (live images). There is no connection with that brand feature named PureView.

In high-end phones there is additional software(drivers) to take low lag photos. On other lumia phones this feature looks like faked by taking pictures from preview stream which means lower quality and lower FPS. I`ve checked right now lumia 920 does not support new api to take low lag photos and low lag sequences but nokia camera beta can take live images on my photos 

I think you're new to this Nokia thing. The Lumia 920 was announced as a PureView device ages ago when it launched.

Maybe it's not the camera, but the other specs (I'm thinking 1gig of RAM).

It would explain why it works on 820 and 920, but not on 630 or 720.

In terms of lowlight performance, except for OIS I haven't been able to tell the difference between images from my L820 and my brother's L920. The L820 does surprisingly well in lowlight.. Too bad Nokia decided to not give it the 4s manual control (except in automatic). Pretty awesome either ways!

Strangely it's not working on my 1020 with 8.1 and Nokia Camera Beta. Even though it does indeed display the saving as living image info on the top left.

Same for me. I can't preview the image.
Edit: I just realized, you have to preview in the beta camera app.

I get

"Inquiring minds may find this error code helpful: c101a027"

When trying to install Nokia Camera Beta on my Icon. What am I doing wrong?

Where can I get Nokia Camera Beta? It seems to be hidden in the store and there is no link in the article.

You can turn it off. Its called don't select this app to take your pictures with. Choose Any other app to take your pictures and you've essentially turned it off. #CommonSenseIsntCommon

Definitely slows down the Lumia 1020.  It takes way too long to take pictures.  The 920 wasn't nearly so bad.

Really? I find the Beta app is much faster to take images and start up on 8.1 than the stable app - but comparing it to the 920 is a little unfair given it has 4 times less megapixels to worry about

Common sense isn't so common these days. 41MP vs 5MP....I wonder which uses more processing power :P

I've had living images on my NL 920 since I installed WP 8.1, and I didn't do anything! I had Nokia Camera beta as default before, didn't reset anything, it just happened. So I thought everybody had it!

I think changing the aspect ratio or messing with the settings could possibly get rid of the feature.


Works only in the initial preview. I wonder if you apply a filter to it will it break the effect?

Worked on my 925. So good. And why people asking how to disable it? If you share it.. Only final picture will come, not this living.

Even more interesting, after taking the image and viewing it, tap the image.  That brings up the menu as well as "reframe" and the beta icon on the lower left side of the image.

Your reframing becomes part of the live image sequence.  You can create a neat zoom effect doing this.  Filters don't work in this way, however.

And, nicely, anything you do with reframing can be undone.  The framing doesn't crop the image permanently.

That is pretty awesome.  It always annoyed me that you could only reframe an image once and you would lose the original image.

You never lose the original.. The high reds image always stays the same. The 5mp shot goes to the resize.

Nope. On my L920 reframing cuts the living picture preview permanently out. Even if You reframe it back moving preview is lost :/ I guess that when You hit save button (after reframing) it saves an image in normal format without the effect.

Seems like it only plays the first time you view it, and even then it looks like a bad fading effect rather than a second of video. Cyan when?

So what file type does it save as? I SMS'd it to a buddy with an iPhone and, of course, its just a static picture to him. Are these not meant to be shared, ever?

Similar to HTC Zoes Living Images will probably be exclusive to Nokia Windows Phones, but Nokia or Microsoft may put up dedicated servers where you can upload these Living Images.'

Now this confirms that 1 gig of ram is required rather than pure view lens... Change the topic wpcentral guys

Long live the 810! TMO may have left it for dead but I've got a cyan wireless charging back on it + 8.1 dev. preview. New lease on life!

Interesting it saves 2 additional files, mp4 video files. If you remove the .tnl and .thm extensions you can view them.

Got it to work on my 928 but the "living Image" will only be seen if you open the camera roll inside the Camera Beta App.  Also I looked though the files and it creates 3 files with one picture: .jpg, .mp4.thm, and .mp4.tnl.  This has added at least 1 MB more to each 2MB picture taken.  I guess this could be a downside with people taking 100 pictures a day of their pets and/or children. :)

It is the same on my 1020, only works in the beta gallery, except I have four files: high res, cropped low res, and the two mp4 files

Not a problem IF you have SD like my 1520. I love this phone. It keeps getting better and better and giving more all the while staying in front or on par with the newest features and phones to come.

If in the official release you are able to choose from the preview images similar to how smart sequence works now, but quicker and without fussing, that would be cool

On my L1520 I don't see the live image in my camera roll but do see it after taking the picture.

Same here...if I click on the camera roll button in Nokia Camera Beta, I get the last living image I took as a living image. If I try to go through the camera roll Start Screen tile, I can just see the static picture...even if I open it in Nokia Camera Beta.


Oh well...I was surprised to see it work on my 822 to begin with, so I'll take it :)

Try tapping the blank/black screen right before picture shows up, you will see a video status bar that you can pause,etc.

I didn't know this was for Lumia Cyan. I've had this feature on my Lumia 810 since the update for Nokia Camera Beta a few weeks ago, or whenever it was. By the way, I have the 8.1 Developers Preview.

I kinda wish nokiasoft would buy lytro and integrate those cameras in their phones. I love how scrolling through lytro images have subtle depth while browsing through them

The live image doesn't appear in the photos hub just the taken picture appears , the live image appear in the Nokia camera beta app

This would have been perfect for the butterfly museum on mothers day. Guess ill have to take her again.

And now they've updated it! I'm wondering if they took out that "bug"... Downloading right now.
EDIT: The feature is still there! Hooray!

If Nokia/Microsoft is phasing out feature support for older devices, at least it's nice of them to start with the low powered devices first.


It would be a true blow if all 1st wave devices would be left out.

This works on my Lumia 1020 and it's running WP8.0/GDR3 (Black) for the record. Keeps on recording Living Images even when setting on JPG+RAW.


I thought Living Images were only for selected devices (1520, 930/ICON)??

But it would be nicer if after the "preview", the final shot would appear after a kind of "flash", on the picture. Like in the idea?

Daniel, I had a Cinematograph in the camera roll, and now it rolls for a second, just like the new Living image within the camera roll. Previously, you could only see a still image in the camera roll.

There was an earlier article... The link in that one still works.. Just check the other articles about Nokia cam beta

I hope you will be able to disable living images feature if you just want normal pics without this gimmick. I see no need for it on my 1020.



I haven't tried it on my 1020, however a few weeks ago I did notice that the Nokia Refocus photos animate. I can't remember if this was only in story teller or the camera roll.


Guess my 920 is a high end pureview :)

Here, have a click ;)

Well, it seems only 512Mb ram devices won't get it.

When using Living Images, I'll still get my high quality 38MP "re-zoomable" photos, right? Can't live without loss-less zoom. :P

It's working on my Lumia 820. I thought it was a bug at first. Didn't know it was a feature. No kidding. Images move a split of a second and stopped.

OMG! this has become one of the coolest features on my phone. My (jealous) friends have likened it to the moving pictures in Harry Potter. The 'potter effect'? No?

Lumia 1020 WP 8.1, reframing within the Nokia Camera app keeps crashing. Reframing is only possible through the Photos app. Once reframed, Living Images not longer works.

Are you running 8.0 or 8.1? I have a 1020 with 8,0/Black and of course, the living image doesn't work in camera roll, as we need Cyan for that. But in the camera beta camera roll, it works. It doesn't work in story teller either, btw.


But nice to see it's supported on the 1020 without adding shot-to-shot delay.

Have you guys tried taking photos in portrait mode and having the phone facing directly on top of the subject - like taking food shots but you are looking straight from the top of the food, and the outcome of the photo is in landscape mode instead? All the on screen buttons are still placed in the portrait direction, but no matter how you try, the photos turn out to be in landscape instead.... I think it is a bug?

You saying that your carefully trying to make a portrait photo with the phone face down and the picture gets twisted into landscape?

what is the difference of this beta with the nokia camera i am using rightnow.... well the beta has no pro functionality

Beta is a version used to check the new features working well on devices  most of  beta versions are limited .... but nokia gave it to all of us to check their features !!!  may be i am wrong

Hi every1... I tried it yesterday ans its been working fine on my 1520 until i die a softreset this morning.
Now if i take a picture with the beta app it dosen't show up in my photolibrary... Any body some tips for me ? ( already done another reset)
Greetings from germany :)
EDIT: None of the Fotos i take with ANY app shows up... :(

EDIT2: Ok it's working again just forgot to set the time after reset... Weird that that would effect it though...

Happens to me every now and then.. Your photos will be way back in your camera roll, basically back to when you last did a back up, the date and time your phone featured to on soft reset