How to record “Chang’an Twelve Hours” with iPhone? These shooting tips are for you

The iPhone 12 series has been on sale for more than a month. As the flagship of the image, the Pro series has captured the hearts of many photographers.

For those who are just getting started with photography, or users who like to use their mobile phones to record their lives, how to "squeeze" the maximum capabilities of their mobile phones? How can you take good-looking pictures at all times of the day? Creative photographer NK CHU (微博@NKCHU) will share his shooting tips.


NK CHU is a very experienced photographer, creator, and traveler. During the chat with NK CHU, Ai Faner learned that he had a background in architecture, and because of his love of photography and travel, he gradually developed photography as his main business. His Instagram (@NK7) is praised by Huffington Post as the 12 most beautiful social accounts in China, and is also one of the most frequently followed photo bloggers by young people.

▲ Use the iPhone 12 Pro wide-angle camera to shoot

In the past month or so, NK CHU used the iPhone 12 series to create many wonderful works. The sharing brought this time is the "Twelfth Hour in Chang'an" recorded by iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max.

This idea comes from the ancient division of time. The ancients divided a day and night into twelve hours according to the time when the sun rose, and the twelve earthly branches were used as a code for easy memory. One hour is equivalent to the two hours we are talking about today.

NK CHU splits the imaging capabilities of the iPhone 12 series into 12 features or functions, which correspond to the twelve o'clock. And starting with the wonderful pictures he shot in Xi'an, he explained the skills to play with these functions.

Sub-hour: 11 o'clock at night-1 o'clock in the morning, corresponding to the portrait function in night mode.

▲Using the night mode image function of the iPhone 12 Pro wide-angle camera

In the night scene, everyone can look for nice neon lights. NK CHU introduced that the rich colors illuminate the model, which can well reflect the texture of the night. iPhone will accurately restore the true color and white balance.

▲Using the night mode imaging function of the iPhone 12 Pro Max wide-angle camera

Ugly time: 1:00 AM-3:00 AM, corresponding to the wide-angle camera night mode.

▲Use the night mode of the iPhone 12 Pro wide-angle camera to shoot

When shooting at night, it is very important to find a good light source. In a strong light source environment, iPhone can still restore a real and highly dynamic picture, making night scene shooting easier.

NK CHU joked to Ai Fan'er that he is a person with obsessive-compulsive disorder and will entangle many details when shooting, such as whether the lines in the picture below are symmetrical. His efficient shooting method is to find a shooting angle, take multiple photos in succession, and then pick the most satisfactory one to keep.

▲Use the night mode of the iPhone 12 Pro wide-angle camera to shoot

Yin time: 3 am – 5 am, corresponding to night mode of ultra-wide-angle camera.

Ultra-wide angle can make the lines of the picture more dynamic, and the perspective of the picture is stronger. NK CHU believes that the following scene is characterized by the different colors of the front and back scenes. The light inside the city gate makes the color very warm, while the color outside the city gate is relatively cold. The iPhone’s color control made him satisfied, and the model’s skin tone was restored well.

▲Use the night mode of the iPhone 12 Pro wide-angle camera to shoot

卯: 5 o'clock in the morning – 7 o'clock in the morning, corresponding to the night mode self-timer.

NK CHU said that the iPhone's front camera is excellent in restoring skin texture. In the night mode, the character's skin quality, the color of the light, and the details of the hair are excellent.

▲Use the iPhone 12 Pro Max front camera to shoot in night mode

Time: 7 am – 9 am, corresponding to the telephoto camera portrait mode.

▲Shoot with the portrait mode of the iPhone 12 Pro Max telephoto camera

With the continuous advancement of iPhone computational photography and the addition of LiDAR laser sensors, the advancement of this generation of iPhone in portrait mode is visible to the naked eye. For example, the model’s hair and the edges of the clothes are separated from the background very well.

▲Shoot with the portrait mode of the iPhone 12 Pro telephoto camera

Hour: 9 am – 11 am, corresponding to portrait mode.

The iPhone’s portrait mode has a characteristic, it does not simply highlight the characters and blur the rest of the picture. If you look at the picture carefully, you will find that the blur from the foreground to the background gradually transitions, giving a sense of natural depth of field of a camera. On the small screen, it is difficult to distinguish whether it is a camera or a mobile phone.

▲Shoot with the portrait mode of the iPhone 12 Pro Max telephoto camera

Noon: 11 am-1 pm, corresponding to Deep Fusion function.

▲Using the continuous shooting mode of the iPhone 12 Pro angle camera

When taking photos at noon, you may often encounter situations where either the picture is too bright or the picture is too dark. This is because the light in this period is relatively strong, and top-light shooting is prone to uneven brightness of the picture. The iPhone’s deep fusion function can take multiple images with different exposures, analyze pixel by pixel, and fuse the highest quality parts of each image into a photo with better texture and detail.

▲Using the iPhone 12 Pro super-angle camera to shoot

NK CHU introduced that in the above picture, the "patio" made of books is actually relatively dark, and light can only be projected in from the small window and the "skylight" at the top. The deep fusion function makes the light and dark relationship of the photo harmonious, and low-noise photos can be taken in low and medium light environments. At the same time, the brighter parts outside the window will not be overexposed.

Untimely: 1:00 pm-3:00 pm, corresponding to the smart HDR 3 function.

The iPhone’s smart HDR function allows the iPhone to take multiple photos in rapid succession and combine them with different exposures to bring more highlights and shadow details to the photos.

You can see the picture below to turn off/on HDR, the difference is very obvious. When HDR is turned on, the clouds in the sky are clearly visible, and the details and texture of the dark parts can also be displayed well.

▲Turn off HDR and use the iPhone 12 Pro Max angle camera to shoot

▲Turn on HDR and use the iPhone 12 Pro Max angle camera to shoot

Application time: 3pm-5pm, corresponding to "Three-camera operation as one"

The three cameras on the back of the iPhone 12 Pro series can present scenes at different focal lengths, making shooting angles more abundant. What NK CHU is more pleased with is that the three cameras are like one camera when they are in operation, and they can be balanced in terms of image perception parameters such as color, white balance, and exposure.

▲Shoot with the telephoto mode of iPhone 12 Pro

▲Shoot with the portrait mode of the iPhone 12 Pro angle camera

▲Using the iPhone 12 Pro super-angle camera to shoot

Time: 5 pm-7 pm, corresponding to the live photo function.

The live photo function has a secret gameplay. After taking a live photo, swipe up while browsing in the album, and you can see that there are other effects to choose from. Among them, the "long exposure" effect will automatically synthesize the live photo into a long exposure photo, as in the picture below, the water stream is synthesized into a filamentary shape, while other still objects are still sharp and clear.

▲Use the iPhone 12 Pro angle camera to shoot

Hu time: 7 pm-9 pm, corresponding to the updated night mode shooting experience

The iPhone’s night scene shooting has its own logic, which is to seek truth rather than brightness. On the basis of preserving the atmosphere of the night, the color and the texture of the subject are restored.

▲Use the night mode of the iPhone 12 Pro angle camera to shoot

NK CHU told Aifaner that the photos that Apple requires must be taken with a native camera and cannot be modified by a third-party app. The photos shown above are all straight out of the iPhone's own camera app, without any post-modification.

Haishi: 9pm – 11pm, corresponding to night mode time-lapse photography

Tips from NK CHU: Use a tripod to perform night mode time-lapse photography, allowing longer exposures in low-light scenes, resulting in clearer videos, more beautiful light tracks, and smoother picture effects.

We can press and hold the dark part of the screen to use auto exposure/auto focus lock before pressing the shutter button to avoid image quality problems caused by dramatic changes in light during shooting.

In addition, the ultra-wide-angle camera with a wide field of view is very suitable for capturing more scenes in narrow places or wide landscapes. Try this angle of view when shooting time-lapse photography, it will make the picture more impactful.

▲ Night mode time-lapse photography using the iPhone 12 Pro ultra-small camera

The above is the sharing of photography skills brought by NK CHU. This sharing event was not selected at an Apple store, but at Apple's premium distributor Shangpai Genuine-Xi'an High-tech Daduhui Store. This type of store is called APR (Apple Premium Reseller) by Apple.

In the afternoon, we also participated in another photography sharing session in this store to teach users how to take good holiday photos with iPhone. Many viewers experienced and interacted on site.

This is one of the benefits of APR stores. Even if there is no official Apple store in your city, you can still enjoy various high-quality courses in APR stores. And it will be held every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and the quality of the courses can be comparable to that of directly-operated stores.

According to the store, Apple’s APR stores can provide the same services as Apple’s official outlets. All Apple products can be experienced and purchased. In addition, pre-sale services such as product demonstration, trade-in, one-to-one private education, and product testing and You can also enjoy after-sales service such as maintenance.

There are about 600 APR stores nationwide, covering nearly 200 cities. Consumers can find the nearest APR store through Apple's official website, official WeChat account, or

At the end of the event, NK CHU told Ai Fan'er that in the 1980s and 1990s, the art of photography required a high threshold. The processes of shooting, developing, and processing require a lot of effort in the film age. With the growing ability of mobile phone photography, ordinary users can record beautiful moments without professional equipment.

After fully understanding the functions of their mobile phone photography, I believe that everyone can take beautiful and professional-level images and record their own twelve hours.

Tell simple and easy-to-read stories. Work email: [email protected].

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