Night Photography Like A Pro


With King Street Wharf (and Sydney) gearing up to shine in full colour for Vivid Sydney 2019, we caught up with Sydney photographer, Andrew Hoang, for some expert advice on night photography.

What do you enjoy most about night photography versus day?

The biggest reason I enjoy night photography over day is…colour. Artificial lighting contrasted with strong blacks is something I really enjoy playing with.

When it comes to night photography, whose work do you really admire and why?

I’ve always been inspired by the urban photography/graffiti artists of Sydney in the early 2010s. A couple of photographers come to mind: Vinh Pham, and “Ben” Hutcheon. Both of these guys took to the underground and Sydney City with a fresh perspective – I love that!

The rise of quality mobile phones has questioned the need for a SLR Camera or has it? What are your thoughts on photos taken on a mobile versus on a traditional camera?

After working in the retail camera industry, mobile photography has honestly made a positive impact on photography.

Since photography is so accessible now on mobile, most of the people that I’ve met have started to explore photography further by investing into a camera that gives them a higher quality and more creative freedom.

I love mobile photography and I’m thankful we are able to take such amazing phones straight out of our pocket. However, it will never replace a camera for me.

Do you really need to have an eye for photography to be good at it?

Being ‘good’ is subjective. You can be good technically with composition and exposure settings, however, that doesn’t determine how good a photo looks.

I don’t think you need to have an eye for photography, but you definitely need to think a bit outside the box to be a bit different from the pack.

Flash or natural light – what are the pros and cons?

Both have their places, and neither is better than the other. Flash photography is perfect for freezing the moment but also giving you the ability to create your own light. Natural light is great but sometimes it does limit you on what you can shoot depending on the time of day, or availability of light in certain spaces.

What lenses should a budding photographer have in their kit and why?

Definitely a 35mm or 50mm prime lens. These are versatile fixed focal length lenses that give you flexibility in low light conditions and depth of field and are great for photographers of all levels!

Explain the use of filters in a photo, why are they good to have and how can they change a picture?

There are many types of filters and they all have their purposes. Polarising filters are basically like sunnies but for your lenses, they help take out glare and allow you to shoot through glass.

ND filters are great to block out light, enabling you to shoot longer exposures when you normally can’t.

Filters are fantastic because they help you create the best photo you can in camera, saving you a lot of time in post processing.

How can you capture sharp, steady night photos that look ultra-professional? Share any tips!

  • A tripod is your best friend. No matter what camera or gear you own, a tripod will be essential for you to capture as much light as you can, and some insane colour.
  • If you’re walking around and don’t want to use a tripod, grab a fast-prime lens to get you as much light as you can get.
  • Try not to bump the ISO in your camera too high. Find out what the native ISO is and don’t exceed it.

Do you know of any secret tricks to make a food photo and/or a landscape photo pop?

For landscape photography the most important thing is composition. Composing for a landscape is super difficult and it can look quite bland. Find some good foreground subjects to include such as rocks, try and find motion whether it be cars, clouds, water and grab yourself a shutter remote + tripod!

What have your years behind the camera lens taught you? Any wise wisdom to share?

It’s super cliche but honestly, just keep shooting. To really help me find my way around a camera and enjoy photography I met a lot of friends through my Uni photography, other friends I’ve met through work. Meeting with people, sharing inspirations and just always shooting is a great way to grow who you are as a photographer.

Join the upcoming Night Photography Instameet at King Street Wharf on Thursday, May 30 led by Instagramers Sydney with special guests and prizes from George’s Cameras. Register via Eventbrite but be quick as there are only 50 places!