While there is no shortage of iPhone Night mode tutorials, you don’t often see any produced by Apple itself. So, in something of an unusual but welcome move, Apple late last week posted a video to its YouTube channel where it provides instructions on how to shoot and edit “otherworldly photos” in Night mode.
The video is put together with the help of photographer Maria Lax, a Finnish artist based out of London. While using the iPhone’s Night mode right of the box is simple enough, the video will undoubtedly help you add a bit of pizazz to your photos.
What is Night mode on the iPhone and how does it work
Night mode, for those unfamiliar, was introduced on the iPhone 11. As the name implies, the feature allows users to take vibrant and detailed shots even in low-light environments. Apple, notably, wasn’t the first smartphone manufacturer to include this functionality. Still, Apple’s implementation has proven to be best in class.
As Apple explains, much of the iPhone Night mode magic comes from software. In effect, it’s one-part camera and one-part algorithms.
Night mode comes on automatically when needed — say, in a candlelit restaurant. When you tap the shutter, the camera takes multiple images while optical image stabilization steadies the lens.
Then the camera software goes to work. It aligns images to correct for movement. It discards the sections with too much blur and fuses sharper ones. It adjusts contrast so everything stays in balance. It fine‑tunes colors so they look natural. Then it intelligently de‑noises and enhances details to produce the final image.
How to make your low-light photographs look professional
It’s nice that Night mode on the iPhone activates automatically. This allows the iPhone to do its thing and take great photos with minimal interaction from the user. Still, there are times when getting the best Night mode shot calls for a little bit of know-how and creativity.
To this end, Apple’s video comes in quite handy. Lax’s photos are truly stunning, and any advice from her is worth paying attention to fully. For starters, Lax recommends finding an unusual and stunning light source. This could be anything from a purple neon light on a building to a street light on a foggy night. If the setting is particularly dark, Lax notes that you can add more capture time to the photo so that the iPhone takes in more light. To do so, make sure that Night mode is on. Next, move the slider on the bottom of the display (and above the shutter) from Auto to Max.
Another iPhone Night mode trick Lax employs is putting colored slivers of plastic over the iPhone camera lens. This provides a makeshift filter that can really make your photos pop.
Check out the full video below. Lax’s advice is straightforward and very easy to implement.
Lastly, Night mode on the iPhone 13 will reportedly be much improved compared to the iPhone 12.