When my parents ask me what I do in London in my free time I say ‘I love doing street photography!’. They are like: ‘What? You just photograph a street? Like any street? A road? A wall? What?” Well…yes and no I answered. And then they came to visit me in London and my dad was taking photos of everything: signs, tube, houses, cars, etc. I found myself giving him advice on what he can take a photo of to capture London and London life.
This is what I recommended:
1. Outdoor cafes
Regardless of the season you will always find somebody standing or sitting outside a pub or a restaurant. British pubs look great on photos and people out front will make your picture look alive. London coffee shops are also not to be missed out. There are many with eye catching exteriors and are an essential part of London street life.
2. A Black Cab
This is a symbol of London for me and they make a photo look great. When crossing the road you can stop in the middle (at a special place for pedestrians) and you will always see one of two of them in front in a line waiting for the green light. Perfect shot. I like taking a photo of a black cab in Soho, where the streets are narrow and they drive slowly.
This is my favorite type of photography. I love London houses and this is what I photograph the most. Stand in front of the building, find an interesting detail and take a shot using the Rule of Thirds. Londoners like to cycle and if you find a parked bicycle in front of a pretty house I can guarantee your photo will look very cute.
4. Window displays
When I moved to London I wanted to work as a visual merchandiser – setting up window displays for shops. Selfridges, Anthropology, Harrods… I spend more time outside staring at how they organize displays rather then buying anything. For me it’s also a source of inspiration in terms of composition – they are really professionals in what they do. Christmas is probably the best time for a beautiful shot of a window display.
Find an interesting background (i.e. a wall with street art on it), get your friend to walk slowly past and take a photo from a good distance. Tip 1: place a person in the way that he or she ‘faces’ the biggest space of the photo. That’s how it looks more natural for our eyes. Tip 2: if you are alone just wait for a pedestrian to pass by.
6. Vintage cars
London is a great place to find vintage cars. I am always curious who owns them. In my mind I picture an old Englishman wearing dark brown trousers, shirt and a vest. He would have a pocket watch and a cabbie hat. Sometimes I really see such people driving these old cars in London. Are they Lords?
7. Tree Blossom
Spring is my favourite time in London. The city turns into one big garden with magnolia and sakura blossom. Go to South Kensington and Notting Hill for a photo of a beautiful facade covered in flowers. Don’t miss The Churchill Arms, it looks fantastic!
8. Street fashion
There are so many fashionable people living in London. Whether it’s someone in West London dressed in high street brands or more relaxed fashionistas of the East, there is something common in the way Londoners dress. They like to experiment, mix different pieces and stand out from the crowd. I find a hat to be the most popular accessory amongst Londoners…after an umbrella of course.
9. Reflections – #puddlegram
The rainy weather here does have one upside…presenting a great photography opportunity. Use puddles to find interesting reflections of buildings, cars or anything else. You may need to use a Selective tool in Snapseed to increase the brightness and contrast of the reflection.
photo by @mumhad1ofthose
Markets are an important part of London life. You will need to wake up early to catch it in its best moments and to avoid most of the tourists. While Portobello is an obvious choice, I recommend to visit Spitalfields Market, Columbia Road Market and Brixton Market. Start with a cup of coffee and stroll along the stalls.
And a bonus – London rooftops!
I’m lucky to live at the top floor where I can enjoy this view. You can find 15 locations to take a photo of the city from above in London Photo Guide. To learn more and get instant access to 2 locations, sign up here >>>
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