Imagine you are driving through a beautiful cityscape with a skyline or visiting natural landscapes where you can see wonders like the Northern Lights and the Milky Way. You will most likely want to take pictures of the stars and the moon, or the reflections of city lights, especially at night. With technological advances and the popularity of photography, more people are exploring the world of night photography and capturing stunning images in the dark, and all you need is your iPhone.
Taking night photos with an iPhone can create some stunning images, but only if done correctly. Whether you’re shooting a monument or a late-night family gathering, capturing the right amount of light is essential to getting a great shot. We spoke to professional photographers to gather some tips on technology, technique, and creativity to help you take the best night photos with iPhone.
1. Turn on night mode and adjust your settings
Night mode can be found next to the flash icon.
Remember to turn on Night Mode (it’s that thing that looks like a moon in the upper left corner of your Camera app), a feature available on iPhone 11 and later models, and adjust its settings like exposure time and speed. .
Although Night mode sets the exposure time automatically, you can also manually adjust it to get the results you want by swiping up or down on the screen. If you swipe up, the exposure time increases, making the photos you capture brighter, but if you swipe down, the exposure time decreases, making the photos you capture darker.
“Unlike professional cameras, iPhones adjust settings like ISO (which refers to the sensitivity of the camera sensor) and shutter speed automatically, but sometimes the settings are turned off so you may not get the result I was looking for,” said Sehee Kim. , a professional photographer with Flytographer, a concierge service connecting local photographers from around the world.
“Remember to manually change your phone’s settings by swiping left on the camera app and tapping on the moon icon. Don’t rely on automatic settings all the time.”
Photographer Andrew Ling, who has been in the industry for nearly a decade, noted that you can also adjust your camera’s exposure settings when it’s not in Night mode by holding your finger down on the screen when you’re focusing on your subject, before take the photo. . This will activate a square box and you can then increase the exposure level by swiping up or down when the sun icon appears.
2. Use a tripod and external lighting
If you don’t have a steady hand, you may want to consider buying a tripod to help you out. They come in a variety of sizes and prices, but any inexpensive tripod can help keep your iPhone steady to capture clear images even in low light.
According to Kim, to avoid grainy photos of yourself in an environment that’s especially dark, you can use illuminating light objects, such as battery-powered string lights, positioned close to your subject’s face, or surrounding areas such as storefronts or store signs. neon.
“You can get beautiful photos by lighting up the face and body!” Kim adds. She recommended these string lights from Amazon because of how bright they are. An added benefit, she says, is that the battery part is small, meaning it won’t show up in photos or distract from your subject.
3. Avoid using the flash
It may sound counterintuitive, but your iPhone camera flash isn’t always the best option for night photos because it can wash out detail in your photos or cause bright spots that will take away from the image you’re trying to capture. A bit of natural light will definitely improve your photos, so Kim also recommends slowing down your phone’s shutter speed to let more light into the photo and avoid harsh shadows.
4. Use the live photo function
The Live Photo feature can be great for foggy nights, said photographer Andrew Ling.
According to Ling, your iPhone’s Live Photos setting is a great way to create a “new age” form of memories because it’s a cross between a photograph and a video. Capture moving images that can later be turned into a short video clip.
Also, it works great for night photography because the live photography feature also works as a long exposure technique to create effects like light trails or to get a beautiful glowing effect of city lights.
“Plan before you take your live photo,” Ling suggested. “One of the biggest benefits comes in the editing options after the photo is taken, where you can choose the ‘Key Photo’ or you can make it a loop etc. Simply select the live photo in your Photos app and find these options in the top left dropdown menu.
“Pro Tip: Try this effect on a foggy night.”
According to Ling, newer iPhones automatically go into Night mode, which will be disabled if you turn on Live Photo mode, so be sure to choose the mode that works best for you to capture the shot you want.
5. Edit your photos
Your Instagram feed might be full of blurry photos (there’s definitely an aesthetic model for it), but if you don’t like that, you can experiment with editing your photos. In addition to the editing features in the Photos app on your iPhone, secondary apps like Adobe Lightroom, VSCO, and Snapseed can adjust brightness, contrast, and saturation to make your night photos pop.
“Play around with contrast levels, highlights and shadows, until you get the look you like! Photography is art, have fun with it,” added Ling.