As a photographer, visiting London feels like stepping into a treasure trove of iconic landmarks, historical architecture, and diverse cityscapes. Whether you’re a professional or an amateur, the city offers countless opportunities to capture stunning images that tell a unique story. In this blog post, I’ll explore some of the most photogenic locations in London, sharing tips and insights to help you make the most of your photography journey in this vibrant city.
The London Eye
The London Eye is one of the city’s most famous landmarks, attracting millions of visitors every year. The gigantic Ferris wheel, standing at 443 feet tall, offers breathtaking views of the city skyline, including the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, and the River Thames. The best time to photograph the London Eye is during the golden hour, when the sun casts a warm glow on the structure, enhancing its already impressive presence. Don’t forget to capture the reflection of the London Eye in the water for an extra touch of creativity.
Westminster Abbey is a historic masterpiece that has been the setting for many significant events, such as royal weddings, coronations, and burials. Its intricate Gothic architecture, dating back to the 13th century, provides an excellent backdrop for photographers. Consider capturing the stunning facade during the early morning or late afternoon, when the sunlight casts dramatic shadows across the intricate stonework. Inside the Abbey, you’ll find a wealth of photographic opportunities, from the ornate tombs to the beautifully illuminated stained glass windows. Keep in mind that photography is only allowed in certain areas, so be sure to check the guidelines before your visit.
Tower Bridge is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable symbols of London. This iconic, Victorian-era drawbridge spans the River Thames, connecting the Tower of London with the South Bank. There are several excellent vantage points to photograph the bridge, such as from the nearby Tower Hill, the Shard, or a Thames river cruise. Capture the bridge during the blue hour, when the lights illuminate the towers, creating a magical atmosphere that contrasts with the deep blue sky.
St Paul’s Cathedral
St Paul’s Cathedral is another must-visit location for photographers in London. This historic church, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, boasts a magnificent dome that dominates the city skyline. The Cathedral’s exterior offers numerous angles for photography, with the Millennium Bridge providing an excellent leading line towards the iconic dome. Don’t miss the chance to explore the interior, where you’ll find mesmerizing mosaics, intricate carvings, and stunning stained glass windows. Note that photography is not allowed during services and in certain areas, so plan your visit accordingly.
The British Museum is an architectural gem home to an extensive collection of historical artifacts. The museum’s Great Court, with its soaring glass roof, is a fantastic subject for photography. Be sure to also explore the various galleries, which house treasures from around the world, such as the Rosetta Stone and the Elgin Marbles. Remember to check the museum’s photography policy, as some exhibits may have restrictions on the use of flash or tripods.
Photography Tips for Visiting London
- Plan your itinerary: With so many iconic locations to photograph, it’s essential to plan your visit to make the most of your time in London. Research the best times to visit each location, as well as any photography restrictions or guidelines.
- Be prepared for the weather: London is known for its unpredictable weather, so come prepared with a weather-resistant camera bag, lens covers, and a sturdy umbrella. It’s also a good idea to have some plastic bags on hand to protect your gear during sudden downpours.
- Use public transport: London has an extensive public transportation network, including buses, trains, and the Underground. Make use of these options to easily navigate the city and reach your photography locations. Consider purchasing an Oyster Card or a contactless payment card for convenient and cost-effective travel.
- Embrace the city’s diversity: London is a melting pot of cultures. This is reflected in its architecture, street art, and bustling markets. Don’t be afraid to venture off the beaten path. Explore lesser-known neighborhoods, such as Shoreditch, Camden, or Notting Hill, to capture unique and compelling images.
- Pack light: London’s streets can be crowded, and you’ll likely be walking a lot during your visit. Opt for a lightweight camera setup, such as a mirrorless camera with a versatile lens, to ensure you’re comfortable and agile throughout your photography adventure.
With its rich history, iconic landmarks, and diverse cityscapes, London is a dream destination for photographers. By following these tips and visiting some of the most photogenic locations in the city you can easily capture some fantastic photos, as well as learn quite a bit about our shared history.
“Through the Lens” is a series of posts I am writing about my favorite locations around the world to visit and photograph. Intermixing location information with my photos and links for more information on the locations for a travel photographer.