London's Most Instagrammable Locations
In this blog I reveal my favorite photo locations from London that I was able to get to so far. This is in no means a complete list of the best photo locations in London, but these are the places I got my favorite photos from while spending one week in town. Let's start with my favorite!
1. Heals of London
Heals of London has the coolest staircase I've shot yet. From both above and below, this beautiful staircase is wrapped around floating lights that really add interesting textures to the images.
What would you guess Heals is? It is actually the name of a giant furniture store. If you walk in with a camera, the staff is bound to know right where you're headed. But have no fear, the staff were extremely welcoming to have their staircase photographed, as it only adds to the publicity of their store. Just be polite as to not interrupt and annoy customers actually trying to buy things.
Pro Tip: Use the widest angle lens possible when shooting staircases. I use a Sony 16-35 f/2.8 GM.
2. Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge is possibly one of the most iconic structures in London. There were so many different angles to shoot it from, I spent a lot of my time in this area for the most part. My favorite angle actually is this picture to the left, from the bridge itself. But the possibilities are endless. Both sides of the water has great views, as well from different view points around the city, such as The Shard and the Sky Garden.
Pro Tip: Walk around the area a bit and look for some creative images to make your work more unique. I uses a glass building below to mirror the other half of the bridge that wasn't actually in frame to complete the fully picture. Also, look into helicopter rides over the city for great aerials.
You can also go up top one of the towers of the bridge as well, I heard it is a cool experience but don't know how photos look from up there, I found out about it too late.
3. The British Museum
The British Museum is a must see in London for the history alone. One of the largest museums I've been too, it was packed with history I wasn't aware of. Apparently most of the items in this museum were stolen over the course of history, so it's kind of like peering into a robbers bag of loot that spans across all of history. Don't quote me on that though, thats just what my very opinionated friend told me. Either way, I still love yee ole chaps.
Find this series in the main opening of the British Museum, somewhat deep in the back.
Pro Tip: There's a window that opens up in one of the exhibits that allows you to pop your camera through and capture the first image.
4. Old Royal Navy College
The Old Royal Navy College was an unexpected treat. It was a massive campus between the Maritime Museum (I didn't get to check this out but heard it was awesome for photos as well) and The Queens House. I was specifically seeking this massive hall which had a beautifully painted ceiling.
The room had a couple tables on wheels that had a mirror on it so you didn't have to hurt your neck looking straight up to admire it. I used that mirror to create a crazy reflection with the shot above. The hall itself looked like the photo to the left.
Pro Tip: Get to this place as soon as you can after opening. I was lucky I caught it pretty empty, but still had to wait around for people to leave so I could get my shots completely empty.
Just out back of this building, you'll find yourself standing outside of a Chapel. another beautifully designed piece of architecture to get photos of.
Just up the road from The Chapel is The Queen's House, and I came for one specific photo: The tulip stairs.One of the more famous sets of stairs to photography, this place is a must visit if you're already planning on seeing the above two. They are all in walking distance,
5. Saint Paul's Cathedral
This was probably my favorite second place to shoot around on my trip. The building is so iconic and there were so many different angles to capture it from. The shot from above is my favorite, even though it has been done so many times. I just love the look of the phone booth, mixed in with a light trail from the classic London buses, all in front of an iconic landmark.
There is a mall at one end of Saint Paul's Cathedral that make for amazing frames of this iconic building. There is also a rooftop bar with pretty decent views of London, but keep in mind they have a dress code. If you want to just see an elevated view of Saint Paul, take the other elevator that takes you up to a nice look out on top of the stores.
6. London Eye
The London Eye is another popular attraction in London. Although I didn't go up (it was 40-45 pounds), I I was able to capture it from the air and across the water. Unfortunately, the morning I shot it from across the water, lots of boats were being stowed in front of my shot, making it hard to get that nice, smooth, reflection.
Pro Tip: I didn't spend too much time at this location, but there are tones of angles and other ways to frame this. Play around with it and see what you can get.
Also, if you walk down the road a bit towards Saint Paul's Cathedral, you can snipe an interesting shot of it.
7. Leadenhall Market
Leadenhall Market was the first location I photographed when arriving in the UK, and it was one of the most fun. I went at sunrise so the streets were pretty much empty. Someone was out hosing down some of the storefronts so I was able to find some puddles for reflections. The architecture here is so cool, I recommend bringing a wide angle lens and going to town. I was able to capture a lot on my Samsung with a built in wide angle lens.
Pro Tip: Definitely get here at sunrise to get the empty pics, but come back during the day for a whole different energy and cool shops to check out.
8. The National History Museum
The National History Museum was an awesome place to check out if you have any interest in history at all (I do). It has tons of cool exhibits to explore sort of like the one in NYC with one exception, This was has a giant hanging skeleton of a whale positioned in a room that just happens to be perfect for photographing.
Pro Tip: Be first in line to get here on a weekday, it is the only shot you have of getting these angles from the top of the stairs without anyone in them. Apparently there are special visits for photographing after/before operating hours but I didn't dig far enough to find out how to get in on that. If you find out, leave me a comment down below.
Sounds secretive right? It's actually not. This multistory restaurant was located not far east of Piccadilly Square, and the staff was quite welcoming. Ask politely to take photos of their staircase and they should let you right in as long as you don't go during the evening rush. It was empty when I went mid day on a weekday, and had no trouble getting clean shots of this crazy looking staircase.
Pro Tip: There's an awesome bar on the bottom floor that is a must see, the design was awesome.
10. St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London
I know what you're thinking: "another set of stairs?". While I am a lover of the stair master, I enjoy running the stairs a lot more when they are designed with as much detail and symmetry as the set from this hotel. By far one of the more interesting designs in London, there were so many ways to shoot this spot that I felt rushed and overwhelmed while I was there. The symmetrical staircase goes up for what felt like forever (I think 4-5 total). I definitely want to go back with a model and crush these shots with a different style (even though my best friend Nate really outdid himself with that candid pose). I've seen pictures with women in elegant gowns on these stairs from different angles and they look completely epic.
That is it for my photo spots in London, I will be back and adding more to this list over time. During my trip to London, Big Ben was under construction so I got no photos of it. I plan on going back and crushing some photos of it when it's complete, and I will add that to my list.
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