Urban Night Photography - Shooting In Low Light, Just Go Out And Shoot!

When the sun sets, night time can be both challenging and fun to shoot. Living in an urban environment provided me lots of interesting opportunities to explore. I find that constant gear measurebating has led to many of my photographer friends having second thought of going out to shoot in the dark, fearing that the ever so tiny grains of high ISO noise in their images will be the center of attention when they share their images on social media. I think that is ridiculous. Just because we don't have the presumably "sufficiently capable" gear does not mean that what you have cannot do low light photography! I was always annoyed when I hear oh this camera and that camera is "hopeless" in dark environment, or "how I wish I have that latest full frame camera". Funny, because I don't shoot with full frame (nothing against any format here, this is a general discussion) and even when I was merely having a smartphone camera on my hand at night, when photography opportunity presents itself, shoot it!

I made the video above to send a message out that - hey, your camera is more than good enough to shoot in low light. High ISO noise? So what? Noise or no noise, a photograph is still a photograph, and when I look at a photograph I am looking at the story it is telling. I am looking at the layers of ideas or expression of emotion from the photographer. Even if the image has obvious high ISO noise all over, that does not mean that was a poor image. Photography is a lot more than just having "technically perfect" image. That is the problem with the new generation of photographers. Being obsessed with getting the clean zero noise shot and having infinite dynamic range and gigapixels in an image will do nothing to make you a better photographer. 

So please do not ever think that your camera (even if you are only using a smartphone now) is not good enough. We buy better gear or upgrade for specific reasons. I buy macro lens, because that lens allows me to get closer to my subject and achieve higher magnification, which my normal kit lens can't do. For sports photographers, they need a longer lens for the reach. These reasons are justifiable. I cringe when someone says "this and that camera is bad for low light shooting". 

Just go out and take more photographs already and stop complaining!


  1. This is so true. Image quality, even in low light, hasn't been an issue for interchangeable-lens digital cameras for many years.

  2. Very well done Robin. It is so very true; use what you have, use it often, use it in many different situations. Get out and use your camera whatever kind you have.That is learning photography whether learning film, like I did, or digital, which I still learn something new each time out. Technical is fine, but creativity is the key. Be creative with your images. The image tells the story. Technical knowledge is fine. It will be gained as you get out an shoot.
    Keep up the great work in your posts and videos. I enjoy them all.

    1. Thanks Bill! I just wish people would complain less about their gear and shoot more, after all, what is the use of a camera if we don't use it enough?

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  4. Nice Article, well written!!!!

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