Apple has shared a new video featuring ideas on how to get “otherworldly” images using the iPhone camera’s Night mode setting.
Night mode launched with the iPhone 11 in 2019 to help you get better shots in low-light conditions. Many Android handsets have offered a similar feature for several years now.
Apple’s video focuses on Maria Lax, a London-based Finnish photographer whose wonderfully mystical images have helped her to build a loyal following on Instagram.
Talking about her work, Lax tells Apple’s Landon Smith that she likes to “reimagine real locations so that they appear unreal,” with night shots offering the best opportunity for this kind of approach.
In a sequence showing her strolling around the streets of the U.K. capital in search of a shot, Lax says how she likes to spend time searching for a striking light source, often finding herself drawn toward different-colored windows and the small details contained behind them.
Lax also highlights the value of experimentation when it comes to using Night mode. For a different kind of image, she sometimes places a piece of colored plastic in front of the lens, and might also fire the flash or smear some vaseline on the plastic (not the lens!) for an even more unusual effect. “Definitely some alien abductions going on in this shot,” she says of one of her eerier efforts.
The Finnish photographer offers words of encouragement, too, saying you shouldn’t expect to go out and shoot great shots “one after the other,” but that over time you’ll “get to the good stuff.”
Smith, more of a beginner when it comes to night shots, is also shown in the video as he explores New York City while considering some of Lax’s tips.
Back home, Lax talks us through some of the editing techniques she uses to take her night shots to the next level, with all of the tweaks made in the iPhone’s Photos app.
For those unfamiliar with Night mode, the iPhone automatically selects it if the camera deems the lighting conditions to be too low for the regular setup. When you hit the shutter in Night mode, the camera works for several seconds to create the best possible image. There are also options to manually adjust the exposure, but most people start by going with the auto function and checking the result.
For more inspiration on how to shoot great shots, check out these top tips from an iPhone Photography Awards winner.