Apple has released a brief shoot-along online educational class where the company shows how to capture — and edit — unique and interesting photos using the iPhone’s Night Mode.
Apple launched a series of educational classes on YouTube in mid-July under its “Today at Apple” program. As noted by The Verge, Apple launched the program in 2017 as part of a larger retail makeover but moved some of the sessions online due to the pandemic. While stores have begun to open back up, the move to YouTube shows that Apple intends to work on expanding its education to more people outside of its traditional methods.
This latest video is the first in the series of educational classes to be focused specifically on photography.
While Night Mode is supported by several iPhone models — iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max — only the latest iPhone 12 models support the mode for photos taken with the front-facing camera. When the camera detects a low-light environment, Night Mode turns on automatically. Using this shooting mode, users can adjust the capture time depending on how much light is required for a proper exposure.
In this Apple video, photographers Landon and Maria Lax share the behind-the-scenes of their nighttime shooting and post-processing, using their iPhones. While Landon goes out in the streets of New York, Lax, who is originally from Northern Finland where lack of light is an intrinsic part of life, shoots her nighttime images in London. Lax is drawn in by nighttime photography because the low light can contribute towards mystical-looking images that would look completely different if shot during the day.
Lax’s first piece of advice is to find a source of light that “looks good” or simply appeals to the photographer, whatever the color it may be. This can include differently colored windows, street lights, neon signs, and more. If the capture time needs to be manually increased to let enough light in, it is a good idea to bring a tripod, too.
To make the shots stand out, even when shooting simple concepts, such as trees, Lax likes to experiment by placing different items in front of the lens, which can give a unique result. Transparent colored plastic can add a splash of color to the scene, which can be further emphasized by turning on the flash. Landon goes a different route and adds items with a reflective surface that subtly catches the light and a piece of mesh that introduces a soft fog-like haze.
Not every shot will come out as expected, says Lax. But, that’s part of the process because it takes several unsuccessful experimental photos to get to one that looks just right, whether the shooter is an experienced one or just a beginner.
Last but not least, editing allows images to reach their full potential. Color plays a big role in nighttime photography and through post-processing, photographers can make it more impactful and dramatic, such as by adding contrast and vibrance, as well as adjusting hue.