How I Captured Light Painting Photos From An iPhone At Vivid Sydney

In a previous gallery I shared some of my favourite photos I captured from my iPhone during this years Vivid light festival in Sydney, Australia. While most of those photos were simply taken by hand, some of them were captured using an iPhone app which allowed me to capture light in an interesting way.

The best way to explain these photos are a little like a light painting – the app performs a long exposure and while doing so more light is captured onto the image. While I mentioned a little about this in the previous gallery, I thought I would explain how I exactly captured these photos including the app, settings, and accessories I used.

The App

I used NightCap Pro which is described as being the ultimate night camera app for iPhone. The app is perfect to help capture photos in low light with manual controls of ISO, exposure, focus, white balance and more.

The app includes features that help improve low light photos, and even had the ability to capture stars, star trails, meteors, and more.

You can download or learn more about NightCap Pro from the official website.

Tripod

While taking these photos I needed to ensure my iPhone was stable while the photo was being captured because if the iPhone moves a little the entire photo will appear blurry. I wanted the light to be captured, but the surrounding environment to be captured as normal.

To do this I used a normal camera tripod with my iPhone being mounted using the MeFOTO SideKick360 Plus iPhone Tripod Mounting Adapter. It’s the perfect accessory to capture time lapses, long exposures or video. If you don’t have a tripod I highly suggest this Magnetic iPhone Tripod and Mount accessory by JOBY.

Process

Capturing the photos themselves was actually a very easy process, I simply mounted my iPhone onto the tripod, opened the NightCap Pro app, chose the ‘Light Trail’ setting, and captured the photo.

As a summary here is how I took the photos:

  1. Downloaded the NightCap Pro app
  2. Mounted my iPhone onto my tripod
  3. Chose the ‘Light Trail’ feature on the NightCap Pro app (Touch the star and choose light trail)
  4. Reduced the ISO right down to 32
  5. and that’s it. Start capturing.

As a tip, you want to ensure the iPhone doesn’t auto lock in the middle of a capture so you may need to change your iPhones auto lock setting. If you have an Apple Watch the app includes a handy feature which allows you to start and end the long exposure of the photo so you don’t even need to touch your iPhone (remember if you move your iPhone a little while starting, or ending the capture, the photo will be blurry).

The Result: Light Painting Photos

All the photos here have been captured from my iPhone 6s Plus using the NightCap Pro app:

Street performer with light hoop:Vivid Sydney 2016 iPhone 6s-4Vivid Sydney 2016 iPhone 6s-7

Intel Drone100 Show:

100 drones flying over Sydney HarbourVivid Sydney 2016 iPhone 6s-8 Vivid Sydney 2016 iPhone 6s-1

Fountain In Martin Place:Vivid Sydney 2016 iPhone 6s-10

You can more photos from the app taken by users around the world from the NightCap Pro gallery.