Night Mode photography tips and tricks for iPhone 11 Pro Max


While iPhones always had a top-grade camera, the below-par performance in low light environments had long been Achilles heel. At a time when almost every flagship smartphone from the noted rivals like Samsung, Huawei, and Google seemed to excel in low-light photography, Apple’s offerings were lagging in the game. Unsurprisingly, detractors never wanted to miss out on any opportunity to take a potshot on the so-called $1,000 iPhones.

Fast forward 2019, Apple has turned things around- in the elegant iPhone fashion. The introduction of Night Mode on iPhone 11 Series devices has tilted the tide in favor of the Cupertino-based company. Going by both the vox pop and experts, Apple’s offering is a cut above the rest.

While using Night Mode is quite straightforward, a few pro tips can rev up the whole affair, allowing you to snap more impressive shots with the pleasing night sky. So, if you think that your game with this all-new camera feature needs some extra boost to up the ante, we have you covered with the best Night Mode photography tips to get the most out of your iPhone 11 Series’ camera. Check ’em all right away!

7 Best Night Mode Photography Tips and Tricks

What is Night Mode and How It Works?

Before going ahead, it’s worth reiterating the basic things about this automatic setting.

Whenever the iPhone detects dark environments, Night Mode automatically pops out in the stock camera app. And a crescent moon icon appears at the top left of the screen – confirming that it’s available for use. When active, an on-screen timer (next to the Night Mode icon) automatically starts counting down the exposure.

It takes advantage of the new sensor, machine learning algorithms, and the Neural Engine in the A13 processor to capture bright shots in the night.

While Apple’s offering also brightens up the shots, it keeps the night time feeling intact by ideally balancing both the pivotal elements: light and dark. As a result, the Night Mode shots look more appealing and natural than the pics captured on Google Pixel or Samsung’s Galaxy devices.

1. Be Sure to Keep Your iPhone Steady

Best Night Mode Photography Tips and Tricks for iPhone 11 Series

First and foremost, make sure to keep your iPhone as steady as possible while capturing night shots on your iPhone 11 Series. Wondering why you need to do so? Well, a lot of things happen behind the scene before and after the image is taken.

When Night Mode kicks in, iPhone cameras first analyzes the available amount of light. After the quick analysis of the existing light, they select the required number of frames to snap a shot.

After the initial process, the cameras capture a series of images at different exposures for a set amount of time. It allows the smartphone to not only highlight all the vital aspects but also grab the best parts.

In the final stage, the powerful chip analyzes all the captured images and perfectly align them by getting rid of the blurry ones. And in the end, it seamlessly integrates all the images. As a result, the photo that comes out looks brighter – a shining example of computational photography!

While all these things are happening in the background, you must keep your iPhone steady. To make it a bit easier for you, the optical image stabilization plays a significant role in reducing shake.

Asking how long you need to hold your smartphone? Well, it solely depends on the environment around you. It may capture the image within 5 seconds or take a lot longer to take several seconds to take the photos. You can keep track of the timer, which shows next to the Night mode icon, to figure out how long you need to keep the device intact.

2. Manually Control Night Mode Effect

Manually Control Night Mode Effect on iPhone 11, 11 Pro or 11 Pro Max

Times when you want to experiment with the night shots or wish to get better pics, you can manually control the night mode effect. While the 5s seems to be the default option, the timer dial can go all the way up to 30 seconds.

To adjust the exposure, all you have to do is just swipe the slider (above the shutter button) towards the right/left. When you are capturing the images, the slider becomes a full-on timer counting down to the end of the exposure to keep you in the loop.

3. Blessing In Disguise

The darker the surrounding, the more time the camera will take to take the photos. While it may sound a bit annoying especially when you want your shots to come out quickly, there is a blessing in disguise, which I don’t think many of you might be aware of.

Selecting a longer time interval in darkness might help you capture better photos with a lot of details of the night sky. That is generally not possible with the shorter exposure. So, when the camera of your device is taking longer to let you take images, do not fret over the delay. Rather see it as an opportunity to get better pics!

4. Use Wide Angle to Shoot

On iPhone 11 Series, you can use Night Mode with both telephoto and wide-angle cameras as they support optical image stabilization. Keep in mind, it doesn’t work with the ultra-wide-angle camera as it lacks OIS support.

While Night Mode works well with the telephoto lens, it gets the most out of the wide-angle lens. So, when you are willing to capture a better shot, be sure to use the wide-angle camera as it’s a better lens.

5. Use A Tripod

As I said above, Night mode captures a series of shots. And the technique that it uses behind the scene is quite similar to long exposure. So, you can fully apply the long exposure technique for Night mode to get better results.

Though the device takes advantage of the OIS ( optical image stabilization) and software reduce on blur, at times they don’t yield the desired outcome. If you want to have better shots, use a tripod. It can play a vital role in getting rid of shake, allowing the device to snap more impressive pics.

Do bear in mind when the iPhone detects that it’s held steady, it will offer longer exposure times. While it may sound a little bad for the rushed minds, you will get much better pics of the night sky. In a nutshell, to capture an adorable photo of the night sky, a tripod is your better bet.

If you want to get one for your device, check out our roundup of the best tripods for iPhone.

6. Ensure that the Subjects Are Stable

From what I have experienced, I can say that Night mode works way better when the subjects are stable. It is because the device has to snap several photos and fuse them all. So, the less minimal movement, the better it is for your pics.

Thus, don’t be surprised if your smartphone fails to capture a better pic of your active pet or the running child. But if they can stay steady for some time, you can snap adorable night time portraits of pets and people.

7. Night Mode May Not Work Spotlessly For Every Shot

One thing you must keep in mind is that Night Mode may not work spotlessly for every photo. At times, you might see too dramatic colors to accept. At other times, the high contrast may seem a bit odd. Not to mention, it may also look embroiled into excessive shadows at times.

Based on my personal experience, I can say that Night Mode delivers the desired result 7-8 out of 10 times, which is a pretty good number by any standard. So, don’t fail to try again if you don’t get the better shot first time.

Signing Off…

When it comes to photography, a few pro tips can make a huge difference if implemented perfectly. So, never fail to give them a try if you want to take perfect selfies or attractive pics.

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