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We all know that even if you've committed every tip for iPhone X photography to memory, smartphones still can't always be reliable for producing the best quality photographs. This is especially true in low light. But if you're an iPhone X user, you're in luck. As one of the best phone cameras on the market, the iPhone X has a feature designed specifically for capturing portraits: their innovative "portrait mode."
We have come up with ten tips for shooting iPhone X portraits in low light, from what to focus on, what to try out, and what to use to your advantage. Low light photography will open many new opportunities to you as a photographer and simply as an iPhone owner.
Feature natural lighting as much as possible.
Often, photographers favor natural light portrait photography, and in a low-light setting, natural light is limited. However, if you're shooting early enough in the evening, you can still take advantage of the sparse light provided by the sun.
This won't be the typical way you would feature natural night, and rather than using the sun to bring light to your subject, the light will become a part of the featured subject. For example, you may want to try and photograph the sun's rays streaming in through a window.
When shooting iPhone X portraits in low light, using the sparse lighting to your advantage might mix up your photography in a great and innovative way.
Use ambient light.
If natural lighting is not so available, this is when you can turn to ambient lighting. Lighting is always one of the most important parts of all photography. When you're photographing at night, you need to be creative with the light that you feature in your photos.
Shooting iPhone X portraits in low light requires you to take advantage of the light from lamp posts, bar windows, neon signs, anything! Be creative and find a light source that you wouldn't typically be drawn to. You'd be surprised how well it intensifies your photographs and provides them with character.
Cheat the lighting system just a little.
There might be a slight downside of shooting in low light at times, but there are always ways to cheat.
Using an external light source is always a possibility if there are virtually zero productive light sources available at your location. A somewhat obvious solution, this will allow you to alter the lighting to your advantage. You can also produce some unique shadows behind a portrait's subject, to add a bit more dimension to the shot.
You can also use this to alter the way that your natural light source might be hitting your subject in an unflattering way. For example, using an external light will correct lighting that casts shadows under the nose, jaw, and eyes.
Use the gear meant just for low light iPhone photography.
Additionally, when taking iPhone X portraits in low light, you should take advantage of the gear that's available to you. There are plenty of options to choose from, but we'll suggest one of the most classic examples of great gear for low light photography.
Allowing you to keep the light steady, the GripTight Micro Stand will aid you in perfecting the ultimate low light shot, without worrying about an unsteady camera. A product by Jody, the phone stand is compact and easy to travel with. With universal smartphone compatibility, the stand provides hands-free stability, keeping your phone in one place at all times. You can also move the mini ball head 36 degrees, allowing you to have precise control over your phone while still maintaining stability for the best shots.
Use the weather to portray a mood.
The mood of a low lit photograph is powerful, and finding the best way to portray this is key to creating a strong photograph. Cloudy and overcast days are a great way to do this.
Shooting in foggy conditions will allow you to still shoot during the day and use some of the natural light while still producing a low lit photo. This can be challenging, but it will immediately bring a dramatic edge to your images. It will also allow the subject to be surrounded by a somewhat moody background, without taking away from the focus.
Try out the "day for night" technique.
The "day for night" technique for capturing iPhone X portraits in low light is simple. Due to the iPhone's camera being unreliable at times, especially in dimmer conditions, the day for night method allows you to capture your photographs in the daylight. Then, you will use an underexposed blue filter to transform the photo to look as if it was captured at night.
This can be done simply by using an editing app on your iPhone such as the Tadaa app. The filters available on this app will allow you to adjust the lighting, an easy way to create the illusion of a nighttime shot.
Choose a model that will blend in with the scenery.
When it comes to shooting iPhone X portraits in low light, the focus shouldn't always be the location and lighting. The subject of your portrait has just as much to do with your finished product, if not more. So now that you've achieved the best scenery, weather, and lighting for the mood you want to portray, your model should also match this.
Choosing the right model will help you achieve an effortless-looking photo. For example, you might not want a model who is smiley and cheery for a dark and mysterious background.
Never use the flash.
Forget that your iPhone has a flash altogether. It is a great way to destroy the image quality, and this is especially true at night and in low light. To be honest, flash shouldn't be used even during the day, especially if there is natural lighting available to you.
One of the most important things to remember when taking iPhone X portraits in low light is to always be sure that your flash option is on "off" during your shooting. Plus, you don't want to blind your model with an overbearing flash by mistake.
Tap your finger on your subject to refocus.
To be sure your photos are constantly in focus, simply tap your finger on the subject, refocusing the camera manually, rather than allowing any subtle light to overpower the photograph.
This should always be a part of your process. Before you capture your photos at a different angle or composition, be sure the camera is in focus. This is a slight downfall of not using a typical camera with an autofocus, but can be easily fixed with a slight tap of the finger before each shot.
It's all about the post-production.
Post-production is just as important for iPhone photography as if would be with any other type of photography. After you capture your shots, you're not quite done. Some photographers even refer to the post-production process as being even more important than the actual shooting — just be sure to avoid common portrait retouching mistakes that amateurs make.
Whenever you're shooting iPhone X portraits in low light, you should take advantage of the iPhone apps available for editing. Even better, try the free ones!
VSCO provides some of the most unique filters for your photos as well as features for cropping, exposure, contrast, sharpening, clarity, saturation, shadow, highlight, tint exposure, and much, much more.
VSCO is not only a photo editing app, but also a social network that allows users to post their photos on their profile without the stress of racking up the most likes or comments, because there is not a feature for either.