Shoot Stunning
Blue Hour Pics
with your phone

You’ve heard of golden hour. Now learn
the secrets of blue hour photography.

If golden hour is the most popular kid in school, blue hour is its cool artistic cousin. It’s that brief window of time when the sky takes on a deep blue hue—just before sunrise or just after sunset—giving photos a uniquely calm, mysterious vibe. And here to show you how to capture it? Travel and lifestyle photographer Karl Shakur(@karl_shakur). “Blue hour is magical to me,” he says. “The colours are richer, and the compositions can be a lot more cinematic.” In this Master It episode, Karl takes you on a photoshoot along the London docks with Galaxy S22 Ultra and its built-for-low-light Nightography camera features. Watch his tutorial then read on for tips on how to nail your own pics.

Plan ahead for a (very) brief shoot

Blue “hour” really only lasts about 20 to 30 minutes depending on your location, so you’ll want to make the most of it. Look up the blue hour time for your area. Compile a detailed shot list. Have your phone camera settings locked in and your gear organised. (Karl’s gear for this shoot: a Galaxy S22 Ultra, an LED light panel, a tripod and a prism.) Maybe most important, scout out a great location—a place with an intriguing, nicely lit foreground subject that will stand out against the beautiful blue background.

Keep your shot steady

This time of day is pretty darn dark, which means you’ll need to turn down shutter speed (to increase time of getting light by sensor), increasing the risk of camera shake and blur. A tripod will be essential for keeping your photo sharp. To remove the slightest chance of handheld shake, you can also use the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s built-in S Pen as a remote shutter and snap photos just by clicking the pen button.

Know how to use
the limited light

Great blue hour photos often contrast a cool blue background with an interesting foreground subject. In such a dark setting, however, that subject needs to be slightly illuminated by a light source. Streetlights, headlights or building lights work well, and white, yellow and red lights contrast nicely with the blue. Karl used an LED light panel to subtly make his model stand out from the dark. But be careful not to overexpose your image and lose the blue. Use only enough brightness to make your subject visible and shoot in manual mode for greater control over the light.

Pro-grade camera
Tailor your ISO, shutter speed and more for blue hour.

Take control of your settings

With Pro mode on the Galaxy S22 Ultra, you can customise your phone’s camera settings for blue hour. These may vary based on the scene you’re shooting—cityscape, landscape, portrait, etc.—but, in general, you should use an ISO under 800 to minimise light sensitivity and image noise. Also use a longer shutter speed (to avoid blur, no slower than 1/15 or 1/20) for capturing the limited brightness of the setting. Finally, make your white balance a little cooler (between 3400K and 4600K) to boost the richness of the blues. As the sky brightens or darkens, you’ll have to adjust these settings slightly.

Bonus tips: Karl especially enjoyed the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s focus peaking feature, which let him shoot in the dark while still being able to see which parts of his image were in focus. Also, try shooting with the Expert RAW app² to get 16-bit Linear DNG RAW files that let you tweak and amplify the blue as needed.


Have fun with it

Once you’ve gotten all the pics from your shot list, do some experimenting. Karl placed a prism over the Galaxy S22 Ultra camera lens to get a shiny, mirrored glass effect. You could also do some light painting, spooky street photography, or even capture a dreamy timelapse video.

  • ¹Image captured with Galaxy S22 Ultra, then edited by the photographer. Results may vary based on actual shooting environment.
  • ²The Expert RAW app is currently supported by Galaxy S22 Ultra, S22+, S22, S21 Ultra and Z Fold3, and is available at Galaxy Store.

Ready for your blue hour shoot?

Go beyond golden hour with the powerful Nightography features of Galaxy S22 Ultra.


Karl Shakur

Travel & Lifestyle Photographer

Samsung Galaxy icon Samsung Galaxy icon


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