Nanosized BiTaO4 and BiNbO4 were prepared by the citrate method. The electronic and optical properties of BiTaO4 and BiNbO4 have been investigated by means of photo-acoustic spectroscopy (PAS), X-ray photo-electron spectroscopy (XPS), and first-principles calculations based on density functional theory. The measured valence band (from XPS) of both materials agreed well with the theoretical findings. It was also found that the calculated optical properties such as dynamical dielectric function and optical absorption spectra are in good agreement with the experimental findings. According to the absorption spectra, the absorption edges of BiNbO4 and BiTaO4 are located at 370 and 330 nm, respectively. Both phases have the ability to harvest UV light and relatively high surface area to volume ratio and can be used as UV/visible light-driven photocatalysts.