What is a camera roll?

This ques­tion pops up on cam­era forums and pho­tog­ra­phy blogs all the time. Many peo­ple ask them­selves “why can’t I find my cam­era roll?” when they first start using their new smart­phone, but with this arti­cle we hope to answer any ques­tions about what a cam­era roll is and why it’s impor­tant for photographers!

What is a camera roll?

A cam­era roll is a fold­er on your device that stores saved images from your cam­era, as well as images you’ve trans­ferred to the cam­era from oth­er devices or com­put­ers. Think of it as a place to find all your photos.

Where did the term “camera roll” originate?

The exact ori­gin of the term is unknown, but the term was pop­u­lar­ized by the apper­ance of a “cam­era roll” on the iPhone. Apple like­ly decid­ed that “roll” fits the con­text of pho­tos bet­ter than “fold­er” because of how you scroll through pho­tos shot one after the other.

The term ulti­mate­ly has ori­gins in the old days of film pho­tog­ra­phy, where pho­tos were shot on rolls of film. So “cam­era roll” is real­ly an old term kept alive in a very fit­ting mod­ern context.

Finding your camera roll

A cam­era roll is a loca­tion for stor­ing pho­tos on your phone. You can access it by tap­ping the vis­i­ble icons in the bot­tom left cor­ner of your screen or swip­ing right to find “Cam­era Roll.” It’s also pos­si­ble to view them through iCloud, which you might want to do if you’re run­ning low on stor­age space on your device. Beyond pho­to man­age­ment though, this menu has some oth­er help­ful fea­tures that are worth exploring!

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