Skip to main content

Rankin uses camera phone to capture the return of nighttime culture

Rankin and Three team up to show us how to shoot night portraits with a smartphone
(Image credit: Rankin / ThreeUK)

Many of us have missed the nightlife and vibrant club culture, following the global pandemic resulting in the closure of clubs and restaurants in the United Kingdom. A late night pint or evening meal is a staple of many social gatherings and special occasions for Brits everywhere. 

In celebration of the first lockdown-free spring in two years, UK smartphone network Three has teamed up with world famous photographer Rankin to show us how to capture night shots using on of the best camera phones (opens in new tab).

A renowned documenter of British culture, Rankin has been capturing the return of nighttime culture and demonstrating how midnight memories can be made using our smartphone cameras' pro modes. He ventured out on Saturday evening to the bustling streets of Seven Dials, in central London, to capture the evening antics using only a Samsung Galaxy S22 (opens in new tab).

Rankin shared a video on Three's Instagram story highlights (opens in new tab), providing some quick tips on how even smartphones can capture great-quality night photography. He advises not to use your smartphone camera's standard auto settings, but to make use of pro mode, of which many flagship phones now offer in their camera units, by manually adjusting settings such as white balance, exposure and ISO.

Pro mode on many smartphone cameras can be used to capture images in RAW, offering shooters the opportunity to play around with images during post-processing on a larger screen. 

Rankin says in his short video highlights that, "multiple lenses are one of the best things that camera phones have brought to the market," as you can benefit from having both a good long lens for portraits as well as an ultra wide-angle lens. 

(Image credit: Rankin / ThreeUK)
(opens in new tab)

New research (carried out by Fly Research of 1,000 respondents, commissioned by Three) has revealed that the culture of outdoor, rather than indoor, socializing born from the last few years of COVID-19 restrictions is something that Brits want to keep. 

The study notes that 89% of UK adults said they are hoping the alfresco culture will remain, despite the unpredictability of English weather, with 58% planning to eat and drink outside most of the time where possible this spring. 

The same research also revealed, however, that many people struggle to capture evening memories, with more than 54% struggling to take a photo or video at night due to the low light and a limited knowledge of their phones' capabilities. In addition, 22% of adults like to post photos or videos immediately to social feeds or send them to friends while on a night out.

Three hopes to inspire Brits to start levelling up their nighttime photography game. By having Rankin demonstrate how to capture those evening moments using a smartphone, it shows how easy it is for anyone to use the many unused camera features (opens in new tab) available on today's handsets. 

"Many struggle to take good quality photos in the dark on smartphones – with blurred faces, shaky silhouettes and blackout pictures the most commonplace," said Rankin. 

"However, the trick to great nighttime photography is already in the palm of your hand! I wanted to show that the effects and functions on our smartphones aren’t as intimidating as they might seem. With this know-how and Three’s reliable network, everyone can capture and share their twilight memories in just a few clicks."

Delving slightly deeper into our phones' camera capabilities and learning how to control different elements will certainly have a large payoff. To see Rankin's top tips on night photography be sure to visit Three’s Instagram page (opens in new tab)

Read more:

Best Samsung phones (opens in new tab)
Best budget camera phone
(opens in new tab)Best iPhone for photography
(opens in new tab)How to capture city landmarks at night (opens in new tab)
How to prepare for low-light and night photography (opens in new tab)
Best night vision goggles & binoculars  (opens in new tab)

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Beth Nicholls
Staff Writer

A staff writer for Digital Camera World, Beth has an extensive background in various elements of technology with five years of experience working as a tester and sales assistant for CeX. After completing a degree in Music Journalism, followed by obtaining a Master's degree in Photography awarded by the University of Brighton, she spends her time outside of DCW as a freelance photographer specialising in live music events and band press shots under the alias 'bethshootsbands'.