It’s been ten years since the launch of Sydney’s famous VIVID Festival, a celebration of creativity and art, which comes to fruition in the form of one of the greatest light shows on earth. Just like the festival, technology and the way we capture and share photography has evolved dramatically in those ten years.

This year our friends at Samsung are playing a major role in VIVID with the launch of their ‘The Night. Reimagined.’ experience, which sees the public getting hands-on with their new Samsung Galaxy S9+ device and putting its superb low-light photography features to the test.

At Vodafone, we’re passionate about helping you get the most out of your device, so we wanted to share our top tips for taking the device into the field so that we could tour the festival and get you prepared for shooting at night with the Samsung Galaxy S9+.

1. Prepare for the night

There are a couple of things you need to do in preparation for your shoot. Firstly, ideally you should grab yourself a tripod and a smartphone attachment. The secret to low-light photography is shooting with a long exposure. This means that the sensor in the camera will be capturing the image for a longer period of time than usual. If the camera is moving whilst this is happening, you will end up with a blurry image, so you want it to be as stable as possible.

Next, you want to change your camera settings so that the photo is captured as a RAW file. This setting records data straight from the camera’s sensor without any compression and allows for greater control in post-image editing. To enable the RAW file format on your Samsung Galaxy S9+, tap the settings icon, select ‘Picture size’, and toggle on ‘Save RAW and JPEG files.

How to use RAW Settings on Samsung Galaxy S9+

2. Activate Pro Mode

Next, you want to access your camera’s ‘Pro Mode’, which is situated along the top menu of the camera app. This is going to be your key to success when it comes to getting that perfect shot at VIVID. It allows you to manually select key information for your shot, such as the ISO, shutter speed and with the new Samsung Galaxy S9+, the aperture of the lens.

3. Switch to Manual Focus

If you want to focus on a certain spot in your image, compose your shot and then select the manual focus option and find the perfect focal length so that the details you want to highlight are nice and sharp. The green lines are the focus peak and are there to tell you exactly where in the image the camera is focusing on.

4. Use a low ISO

If you can, use an ISO that is fairly low, as this will produce a sharper image with less grain. The ISO will usually be determined by the scene you are shooting. If it’s relatively still with little movement, you can use a long shutter speed and a low ISO. If you have quite a bit of movement in your shot, you will need a higher shutter speed to prevent the image from becoming blurry. This means that the sensor will be open for a shorter period of time and therefore less light will be let in, resulting in a darker image. You can digitally brighten the image by increasing your ISO – but note that this will add grain to the image.

Pro Mode VIVID

5. Experiment with different apertures

The new Samsung Galaxy S9+ allows users to physically change the aperture of their camera lens – a great addition for any photographer. You can switch between f1.4 and f2.4 in the shutter speed option. Using the wider aperture of f1.4 will allow more light into the sensor, providing a brighter image. Be careful not to overexpose your shot though! The f2.4 option will be darker, but provide a greater depth of field if you are wanting to focus more on something in the foreground or background.

6. Optimise your shutter Speed

The shutter speed determines how long the sensor of your camera will be exposed to the light. The slower the speed, the more light there is. Play around with this and find a shutter speed that suits your scene. Using a shutter speed of 8s will enable you to create some cool effects such as light streaks from car lights or sparklers. This is just a recommendation though – make it fit with your aperture and ISO settings until you’re happy with your results.

VIVID Opera House sails

7. White Balance

This is one of the final elements that you may need to access when shooting at night. White balance refers to the recreation of the colour white in a digital image. Auto White Balance (AWB) usually does a great job at recognising the colour temperature of a shot, which means how cool or warm the tone of white light is. However, camera AWB is not always 100% accurate and can therefore recreate white with unfavourable blue, green or orange hues. Use the white balance option to find a colour temperature that fits your scene.

With these tips, you should be perfectly set to head to VIVID and master your low-light photography with the Samsung Galaxy S9+! However, just use these as a guide – it’s more about trial and error and finding what works for the scene that you are shooting.

Ready to get out in the field? You can order the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ with Vodafone right here.

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Chris Fynes

Content Producer

Chris Fynes,
Content Producer

Chris is a content creator with a passion for travel and food.

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