Vivid Sydney 2024: how to photograph the Harbour City's festival of lights

Long exposure of Sydney Harbour buildings lit up with coloured lights during Vivid Sydney
Image by Sharmishta Sarkar (Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / Digital Camera World)
Vivid Sydney 2024 key facts

Vivid Sydney light display on the Opera House

(Image credit: Sharmishta Sarkar / Digital Camera World)

What: A 23-day festival of lights, music and ideas

When: May 24 – June 15, 2024

Where: Sydney Opera House, Circular Quay and The Rocks, Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney CBD, Darling Harbour, Darling Quarter, the Goods Line, Walsh Bay, Barangaroo and University of Technology Sydney (UTS)

Timings: Free light displays from 6pm – 11pm

Cost: Free for most of the light shows; some light events are ticketed, as are the music, ideas and food programs

Getting there: Use public transport (there will be road closures at some locations)

With the exception of what could only be called the Covid lockdown years now, Sydney has played host to the Southern Hemisphere's biggest light show for over a decade. 2024 will be the 14th Vivid Sydney event, with the displays making a return again from May 24. Most of the light displays that attract millions of visitors, both local, domestic and international, will turn on at 6pm AEST on that day, so get those cameras ready!

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Sharmishta Sarkar
Managing Editor (APAC)

In addition to looking after they day-to-day functioning of Digital Camera World in Australia, Sharmishta is the Managing Editor (APAC) for TechRadar as well, and helps produce two of Future's photography print magazines Down Under. Her passion for photography started when she was wandering the wilds of India studying monkeys (yes, life took a sharp turn somewhere along the way) and is entirely self-taught. That puts her in the unique position of understanding what a beginner or enthusiast is looking for in a camera or lens, and writes to help those like her on their path to developing their skills or finding the best gear. While she experiments with quite a few genres of photography, her main area of interest is nature photography – wildlife, landscapes and macro. She still prefers an optical viewfinder but is utterly fascinated with what mirrorless technology has been able to achieve. 

With an ear to the ground in the Asia-Pacific territory, she is constantly on top of camera news and breaking developments in the Australian region, in addition to sourcing local deals during big retail events like Amazon Prime Day and Black Friday / Cyber Monday. 

She’s also a skilled stargazer, always eager to share astrophotography tips such as photographing the blood moon without even using a tripod!