The three-model Apple iPhone 11 lineup with iOS 13 promises to offer the best-in-class photography capability thanks to the base model's dual-camera setup, and the Pro and Pro Max's triple-camera system. Among the iPhone 11's new features is Night mode, which uses 100 percent Focus Pixels to capture low-light snaps in all environments like no previous iPhone.
Apple put the hyped camera technology to the test by holding a Night mode challenge. A curated panel of judges including Malin Fezehai, Tyler Mitchell, Sarah Lee, Alexvi Li, Darren Soh, Phil Schiller, Kaiann Drance, Brooks Kraft, Jon McCormack and Arem Duplessis sifted through thousands of images lensed by iPhone 11 users from every corner of the globe.
With commentary from the judges, see the six winning Night mode challenge submissions below:
Konstantin Chalabov (Moscow, Russia) - iPhone 11 Pro
Schiller: “Konstantin’s photo is a super-dramatic image shot with Night mode. It could be the opening shot of a great Cold War spy movie. It challenges us with intriguing questions — ‘Where is the driver? Where are they going? Why stop out here?’ A cool mist permeates the blue Russian hillside and snow-covered ground, framing the lonely vehicle with bright red lights that hint at an unknown danger.”
Kraft: “A movie-like scene that leaves you curious about what happened in this snowy remote setting. Night mode captures the blue light exterior hue beautifully as well as the incandescent lighting inside the cab of the truck and the truck lighting — a wide variety of lighting.”
Andrei Manuilov (Moscow, Russia) - iPhone 11 Pro Max
Soh: “An amazingly well-balanced composition that throws so many questions back at the viewer — ‘Where is this? Who lives here?’ — and perhaps the most important — ‘Why is laundry hanging out to dry at night?’ As an architectural photographer, I am drawn by the image’s one point perspective that leads the viewer into the frame, right smack into the hanging pieces of clothing.“
Lee: “I love this and feel it could only have been shot on Night mode. It is beautifully composed, uses symmetry very well, and without cliché to communicate a fascinating story about densely populated urban spaces and the way many people live. This work reminds me of Michael Wolf's ‘Architecture of Density’ in its theme, but compositionally the photographer has their own take, which is really interesting.”
Mitsun Soni (Mumbai, Maharashtra, India) - iPhone 11 Pro
Mitchell: “This one blows my mind. I have no idea where that deep rich red light is coming from on the tree. It almost feels like a UFO sitting above the tree, just out of frame. Absolutely beautiful composition as well.”
Duplessis: “The rich red color of the tree and ground gives this picture an otherworldly quality. Paired with the night sky, it feels like a still from a sci-fi film.”
Rubén P. Bescós (Pamplona, Navarra, Spain) - iPhone 11 Pro Max
Schiller: “Photography is the art of light, and Rubén’s photo magically uses light to bring this art installation in Spain to life. The color in this Night mode image is a captivating orange, beautifully framing the band of pilgrims in sharp silhouette. The crackly details on the foreground rocks add to the story of the long and difficult journey ahead for these pilgrims before they reach their holy site.”
Li says: “Taking great advantage of Night mode with exposure setting, the photographer captured the silhouette of a group of people in the city light backdrop. The ground in the photo reveals beautiful texture when shooting against the light. The simple composition quickly draws viewers into a story, while delivering good image quality.”
Rustam Shagimordanov (Moscow, Russia) - iPhone 11
Drance: “A captivating shot of a winter village by the sea, which must feel cold, yet looks warm with the glow against the rocks and lights inside the red cabins, inviting a story about the people inside.”
Fezehai: “I love how the lights in the red cabins give a sense of warmth in the cold. The layers in the image create depth and give me a sense of cold and warmth at the same time. It’s a beautifully captured landscape image of a winter evening.”
Yu “Eric” Zhang (Beijing, China) - iPhone 11 Pro Max
McCormack: “This image represents iPhone at its best. Capturing life as it happens, no matter what the light is! The sense of moment, intimacy and place in this image is very good. It really transports the viewer to being right there.”
Duplessis: “This picture has a very real quality to it. The rising steam, the silhouetted figures backlit from the lamp all align perfectly in this magical caught moment."