Advice for taking photos in London/UK?

Travel Forums Travel Photography Advice for taking photos in London/UK?

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1. Posted by mtnfreak (Full Member 31 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Hi guys...I was wondering if anyone has any advice for taking photos in the UK, and London particularly. I was over there in June/July last year (Wimbledon time:) and am going back this year. I'm a fairly amateur amateur photographer, so I think I need some tips to make my photos better this time around. They were ok last time, but the majority of the 2 weeks the weather was very mild and the sky was a light grey, which didn't make the photos look too interesting, kind of washed them out a bit....I'm not really used to taking photos in this type of light, being from Aus...
Has anybody got any advice for handling this? Should I just underexpose a stop or two, any specific films, etc?

Also, I'd like to do some night photography, which I didn't get to do last carrying around a camera and tripod at night in London fairly safe (I'd try to conceal them when I could of course, I've only got a small tripod)? And does anyone know any good spots for this, good views along the Thames, maybe where there's not a lot of traffic or something?



2. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4138 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!


I'm also an amateur photographer, actually I'm very much an amateur and just use a normal camera and normal film. I'm not into big lenses or fancy cameras or anything.

I find London to be like Paris and New York, in that they are good cities to take black and white photos in. Buy a roll of black and white and when you get them developed, get them done one size larger than normal. Also, try to take photos that don't have anything in them that will make the photo look dated in a few years (cars, people, dodgy fashion, etc).

The other thing I do is take another roll of colour film just to get the usual holiday snaps.

Here's a few of the black and whites I took recently.

If you want more I'm at


3. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4138 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

mtnfreak, some more advice:

Carrying around a camera and a tripod is perfectly safe in London; I've done it plenty of times. Just take the usual precautions that you would in any city in Australia. Oh, and keep your eyes on your bag while on the Underground.

As for places along the Thames, there's some excellent photos to be had at Richmond, and I highly recommend a trip there. It's not far from Central London; about 25 mins from Piccadilly Circus, on the District Line (green line). You can get various river shots as there's great walks alng the river. You can also take a short boat ride that lasts about 40 mins and get some more shots (about 2 pound for the trip). Apart from that, there's some great riverside pubs.

Another spot on the river that I suggest is at Hammersmith. Get out at Hammersmith tube station (District and Piccadilly lines) about 15 mins from the West End. Ask for directions to Hammersmtih Bridge, a beautiful 100 year old suspension type bridge, that makes a great phot in itself, and as you can walk across it, you can get some great photos from it. Best photos from the bridge itself would be facing west as there's some old pubs (the Dove, Blue Anchor) along the river. If you have time, keep walking past the pubs (i.e. don't cross the bridge) and you can do a loop that takes you down river, over the Barnes Bridge, and back up towards Hammersmith and over the Hammersmith Bridge. At the very least get some bridge shots and continue walking for about 10-15 mins past the Dove, as you can get some excellent shots of some old waterside mansions.

As for night time shots, I've done the Harrod lights, which turned out nicely. I have a camera that allows you to let extra light in (I told you I know nothing of photography) so you get a nice shot.

I can give plenty of advice on accommodation if you like; I know that London can easily rip-off the traveller. Oh, I know some excellent and cheap places to eat!

4. Posted by James.dc (Budding Member 5 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

last time i was in london i took some pretty good pictures (well good for a 15 year old!!) the light conditions that day were very similar to yours, pretty grey!!
if your interested in seeing them just let me know and i will will find somewhere on the internet to host them and provide you with a link.

5. Posted by sarahlocks (Budding Member 5 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

If you'd like to see the other side of London, there can be some great shots of tower blocks (estates/housing project buildings) in East London (Bethnall Green, Hackney has some monsters...), big stark high rise that house so many people...

Also in the east, Brick Lane, on Market day is an interesting mix - stuff for sale and the people who go - jump off at Liverpool Street and walk to Spitalfields Markets, there's a cool church there, and nearby is a pub that Jack the Ripper used to frequent...

The City of London area (Liverpool St/Bank/St. Pauls/Holborn) have some great buildings....the weekend its fairly quiet, just wander and shoot as you please...St. Pauls is great, but that's a fairly obvious choice. Tate Modern on the banks of the Thames is interesting too. Has some great inside shots. Law Courts are great, and Holborn towards St Pauls has some massive kind of red brick building that i think is awesome....

West London, I love the Lions in Trafalger Square. Some great colour shots along the Regents Canal - mainly Little Venice (W9 area) which has loads of colourful house boats docked there....

Battersea Powerstation is a great looking building...

Look out for the gas 'wells' i'm not sure of the correct name for them, but they rise and lower and are an interesting blot on the London skyline...there are a few in Battersea area i think....

And the crowds before and after a football match are always colourful!

Agreed with the others about camera safety in London, as long as you look like you know what you're doing, the confidence factor,people tend to leave you alone, but I'd say just be careful, very careful in parts of East London at night....

Happy shooting!

6. Posted by OzTraveler (Budding Member 6 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

You should be fine in London with the camera, just remember the normal common sense precautions. I did what I thought to me a reasonable walk to see a fair bit of London and takes in some great photo ops.

Off the tube at Victoria station to take in the palace and Hyde park. From here head down to the Thames past Westminster Abbey and Houses of Parliment (Big Ben). From here you can follow the river all the way to the Tower Bridge. I would suggest staying on the western side of the river.

I was lucky enough to have a blue sky for this, and it took me about 6 hours in all. But a lot of photos in the process. Hyde park is great for people and action, as are trafalgar square and picadilly circus.

Underexposing may help with the contrast in the photos, but remember that you might loose some detail, and I would test this at home first. Yes we do get grey days in Australia, although I know they are few.

The tripod is essential for your night shots and you should be able to get some beautiful shots at night. A suggestion and something I would have loved to have done would be take a BULB shot of the Millenium Eye which should prove interesting in the results.

7. Posted by Bracer7 (Budding Member 7 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Any view of St Pauls from the River Thames at night just amazes me. Took an American friend all over England last year and capped of their stay with a visit to the Big City and walking around London at night was a very big highlight (along with being the cheapest thing we did as it was free!!!)

I think if you come over Southwark Bridge (from Tower of London side) and follow river bank down so on opposite bank to St Pauls, you come to Millenium Bridge which is illuminated and all along that stret you can get great pics of the Cathedral and the bridge along with up/down river shots.

Dont forget the 'OXO Tower' and not sure what the last times are but maybe go on the Milenium wheel late to get some eye in the sky shots of london at dusk...that would make some amazing pics, especially with a sunset/ red evening sky as the city lights up

8. Posted by Phillan (First Time Poster 1 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Hi guys,
can anyone tell me where to go to find a good place to take three photos of london structures side by side? So what i mean is that ill take three photos of london standing in the same spot but changing direction each time. Im looking to get buildings and strucures like that in mostly.

9. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4138 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Hmmm, not sure. What about down by Tower Bridge? You could get the bridge, then the Tower of London, then maybe a shot of the city.

Or down Whitehall around Number 10 Downing Street. You might be able to get Big Ben looking down the street, then Trafalgar Square looking up, then Number 10 straight ahead. Could be done I'm sure.

Also, perhaps part way down Pall Mall. You could get Buck Pal, the Mall itself, and perhaps the Queen Mother's residence.