How to take the ultimate iPhone night photos, according to photographers

Imagine driving through a beautiful cityscape with a skyline or visiting natural landscapes where wonders such as the Northern Lights and the Milky Way can be seen. Chances are you want to take pictures of the stars and moon, or the reflection of city lights, especially at night. With advancements in technology and the popularity of photography, more people are discovering 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 produce some amazing images, but only if done correctly. Whether you’re shooting a landmark 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, engineering, and creativity to help you capture the ultimate iPhone night photos.

1. Enable night mode and adjust your settings

The night mode can be found next to the flash icon.

The night mode can be found next to the flash icon.

The night mode can be found next to the flash icon.

Don’t forget to turn on night mode (it’s that moon-like thing in the top left corner of your camera app), a feature available on iPhone 11 and later models, and adjust settings like exposure time and speed.

While night mode sets the exposure time automatically, you can also adjust it manually to get the results you want by swiping up or down the screen. Swiping up increases the exposure time, making all the photos you take brighter, but swiping down decreases the exposure time, making all the photos you take 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 off and you might not get the result you were looking for,” says Sehee Kim , a professional photographer at Flytographer, a concierge service that connects local photographers around the world.

“Remember to manually change the settings on your phone by swiping left on the camera app and tapping the moon icon. Don’t always rely on the automatic settings.”

Photographer Andrew Ling, who has been in the industry for nearly a decade, noted that you can also adjust your camera’s exposure setting when you’re not in night mode by holding your finger on the screen when you’re focusing on your subject, before shooting. take your picture. This activates a square box and you can increase the exposure level by swiping your finger up or down when the sun icon appears.

2. Use a tripod and external lighting

If you don’t have a steady hand, consider getting a tripod to help you with that. They come in a variety of sizes and prices, but any inexpensive tripod can help keep your iPhone stable to capture clear images, even in low light.

According to Kim, to avoid grainy photos of yourself in a particularly dark environment, you can use illuminating light objects, such as battery-powered string lights placed near your subject’s face, or surrounding areas such as a storefront or neon signs.

“You can take beautiful pictures by illuminating the face and body!” adds Kim. She recommended these Amazon string lights because of how bright they are. An added benefit, she says, is that the battery compartment is small, meaning it doesn’t show up in photos and distract from the subject.

3. Avoid using the flash

It may sound counterintuitive, but the flash on your iPhone camera isn’t always the best option for night photos, as it can blur details in your photos or create bright spots that take away from the image you’re trying to capture. Some natural light will definitely improve your photos, which is why Kim also recommends lowering the shutter speed on your phone to let more light into the photo and avoid harsh shadows.

4. Use the Live Photo feature

The Live Photo feature can be great for foggy nights, said photographer Andrew Ling.

The Live Photo feature can be great for foggy nights, said photographer Andrew Ling.

The Live Photo feature can be great for foggy nights, said photographer Andrew Ling.

According to Ling, your iPhone’s Live Photo setting is a great way to create a “new age” form of memories because it’s a cross between a photo and a video. It captures moving images that can later be converted into a short video clip.

Plus, it works great for night photography, as the live photo feature doubles as a long exposure technique to create effects like light trails or get a beautiful glowing effect from city lights.

“Plan before taking your live photo,” suggested Ling. “One of the biggest benefits is in the editing options after the photo is taken, where you can choose the ‘Key Photo’ or loop it, etc. Just select the live photo in your Photos app and find these options in the drop-down menu in the top left.

“Pro Tip: Try this effect on a foggy night.”

According to Ling, newer iPhones automatically go into night mode, which turns off when you turn on Live Photo mode, so be sure to choose the mode that works best for you to get the shot you want.

5. Edit your photos

Your Instagram feed may be littered with blurry photos (there’s definitely an aesthetic model for that), but if you’re not into that, you can experiment with editing your photos. In addition to the editing features in your iPhone’s Photos app, secondary apps like Adobe Lightroom, VSCO, and Snapseed can adjust brightness, contrast, and saturation to make your night photos pop.

“Play around with the contrast levels, highlights and shadows until you get the look you’re happy with! Photography is an art – have fun with it,” added Ling.


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