Central London on a weekend and me do not mix well. I spend most of the times I go there panicking that someone will step on my toe or getting stressed at people who JUST. KEEP. STOPPING and taking up the entire pavement making it really hard for me to hurry up and get some food. It’s a shame, really, because actually, there’s so many interesting things going on, as well as a whole world of people watching to be done. And, of course, people photography. I’m trying to up my street photography game, and for that, I need to venture to where there’s…well…street life. So if you’re looking for ideas on where to take photos in London, read on…
At the moment, I’m still playing around a lot with my still-pretty-new Canon EOS M3 (she’s my baby, and I call her Roxanne. Because I really don’t want her to put on the red light because that means my camera’s nearly dead? MAYBE). With camera in tow, I took to the streets of Central London ON A SATURDAY with Maplin for a street photography masterclass with the awesome photographer talent that is Kaye Ford. She’s also v. hilarious and fun both on the internet and in real life, by the way.
Covent Garden is perhaps the busiest bit of Central London, so it was a brave move starting there. It is, however, full of interesting things to photograph, from street performers to covert shots of people going about their business. Sometimes, when you’re taking photos in busy places, it can seem like people are a nuisance and getting in the way of THAT Insta-worthy shot. But actually, having subjects make a photo WAY more interesting than just a flat building or landscape.
Those with bird fear should look away now…
…because I also managed to get this pigeon shot, which I thought was pretty cool. I was ABSOLUTELY TERRIFIED the entire time and had to use a very long lens as I didn’t want to get near it – but I got ‘the shot’ and felt v. proud of myself for doing it.
Moving on from the main square itself, Covent Garden has tons of little streets to get acquainted with. I was trying to take shots of this ice cream van, and found it worked WAY better with people actually in shot. Learning fast, y’see…
Also, the Crown & Anchor pub is perhaps one of Londons most under-appreciated Instagrammable gems. Those flowers on every window make it look amazing, and I tried to eschew the whole ‘straight on’ shot favoured with architecture snaps, to give a sense of its height and presence on the junction.
Moving on, next up we popped for a quick visit to Neal’s Yard. I’ve seen this snapped SO MANY TIMES on Instagram, but actually, as a whole, it’s not quite as impressive as the obviously colour-edited shots I’ve seen have made out. (Okay, it’s still fun and fabulous and colourful, though!) What I found really interesting were the little details, often overlooked.
Chinatown is another area I rarely venture into, but it’s packed with great photo opportunities! You’ll obviously see the the instantly recognisable arched entrances and shop fronts, but there’s also plenty of intriguing chances to shoot the street performers and members of the local community. Despite being another busy area, there were brief moments of quiet and calm to be found – a real contrast with the bustle of the streets the rest of the time.
We rounded up our photo walk with afternoon tea at Brigit’s Bakery. I’ve actually been on their Afternoon Tea Bus before, but this was the first time I’ve eaten in and I can confirm it’s just as brilliant. Delicious sandwiches and super-sweet desserts, it was also a dream for taking food photos!
One final tip if you’re out doing street photography – make sure you’ve got plenty of memory to store all the photos you’ll take! I’ve definitely run out in the past and had to frantically delete photos, so I’d recommend extra memory cards for your walk. Once I get my photos home, they’re instantly uploaded and saved on an external hard drive to make sure they’re backed up. Because losing photos is the worst thing.
After my day out with Kaye, I definitely feel more ready to shoot busy places on a more regular basis, and now have a much better idea of where to take photos in London. Although I still can’t quite bring myself to stop getting angry at those slow walkers…
*Our walk and afternoon tea were complimentary. Photos and bird-braving pride, entirely my own.
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