The 5 Best Places for Street Photography in London

Posted by on Jun 5, 2011 in Articles, News & Articles | 32 Comments

4584938090 a72750a022 The 5 Best Places for Street Photography in London

We often get asked why we love London and where the best places to shoot are. If you’re aligned to street photography as a medium, London is one of the richest places in the world to shoot street. Yet because of its size, it’s sometimes overwhelming and to newcomers, hard to distinguish where to start.

That’s what prompted this article – a whistle stop tour through our favourite five places in London to photograph. They’re all street photography friendly, full of crowds and most important, easy to blend in.

So let’s get started.

5617685732 719b3cdfa7 The 5 Best Places for Street Photography in London

Tower Hill

As we work in Aldgate, Tower Hill is only a ten minute walk away. It’s an obvious choice because of the high density of tourists – The Tower of London, Tower Bridge, City Hall and The Thames means no matter what the weather, people will flock to the area in droves.

Tourists are not only great to photograph, but they provide photographic cover. You’re free to blend in, shooting as you wish. People simply think you’re photographing the sights as opposed to them, when in reality you’re doing the opposite. There’s also the fact that tourists are filled with wonder with what they’re seeing. Being a Londoner means you lose that sense of amazement; visitors to the Capital have it written all over their faces.

This makes them perfect photographic subjects.

Bank

Right at the heart of The City or The Square Mile, Bank station (opposite The Royal Exchange) is another place that’s tourist heavy because of its heritage. The real reason we love shooting in the Bank area is because it’s financial heavy. This means busy people rushing to and from their offices in smart clothes.

Suits are the dish of the day.

Conversely as it’s a 9-6 weekday destination, shooting at the weekend can be a surreal, yet rewarding experience. It’s virtually deserted because there aren’t any shops or residential housing. Take a short stroll down to St. Pauls for a contrasting scene.

4505762455 e2db0e60f8 The 5 Best Places for Street Photography in London

The Underground

Yes, the Underground. Ye Olde Faithful – that chugging behemoth beneath London’s streets which serves over 3 billion journeys a year. That means a lot of people and a lot of photographic chances. The lack of space in rush hour is the perfect time to work as people jostle for space on the trains. They’ll also be out of their comfort zone, sharing space intimately with strangers.

Tensions do run high, so be sure to take with a smile.

It is worth noting that personal photography is fine on the Tube. Don’t turn up with a tripod and a bag full of gear – staff will get inquisitive and question your intentions. This is understandable considering that London is on constant high alert since the 7/7 bombings in 2005.

Oxford Circus

Busy, busy and more busy. Oxford Street is teeming this time of year. It never seems to empty and the interchange at Reagent Street, Oxford Street and Soho is one of the busiest places in London. With a recently opened X-Crossing (like Tokyo’s Shibuya Crossing), it’s the perfect place to get lost in the hordes of people and photograph to your heart’s content.

Filled with beautiful people (it’s a known spot for modelling agency scouts), you’ll be left alone to your own devices. It’s also a popular meeting spot which means there is plenty of opportunity for capturing people reuniting with warm embraces.

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Southbank

Skaters, couples holding hands, street performers, snazzy restaurants, The Tate Modern. You can see why Embankment and Southbank is such a popular destination for weekend outings and tourism. It’s also a very popular photography destination. With the River Thames in the background and the sun shining, it can be a safe and relaxing stroll with your camera.

It’s worth keeping an eye peeled in all directions, Southbank has incidents everywhere and it’s best if you’re ready to capture those fleeting moments on film.

What about you, what are your favourite places to photograph in London. If you’re from a different place, let us know anyway. You never know who might be visiting in the near future.

Leave a comment or @ us on Twitter.

Disclaimer: This is by no means a definitive list. We will do follow-ups in the future. This is just a start.

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32 Comments

  1. Tim Allen
    Sunday, 5 June, 2011

    I’d like to add Shoreditch, Chinatown and Angel to the list :)

    I have galleries from each on my site if you’re interested.

    Reply
    • Marco Fiori
      Sunday, 5 June, 2011

      Thanks Tim, all very worthy places that are fantastic to photograph.

      Reply
  2. Dew
    Sunday, 5 June, 2011

    Agreed with Embankment/Southbank. It’s one of my fave spots to chill out, take snaps and go for a walk even – especially on a sunny day.

    I’d add Camden Town to that list. Not just because I live there but because it’s really an amazing place full of interesting people, tourists, great cafes, pubs and bars, and of course, Camden Lock.

    Second Tim’s suggestion of Angel also. Great place for shooting, especially the market. Also has some really beautiful buildings if you’re into architecture photography. :)

    Reply
    • Marco Fiori
      Monday, 6 June, 2011

      Thanks for the suggestions Dew. Yeah even if I’m not with my camera, Embankmark’s a lovely place to be.

      I was weighing up Camden Town versus Tower Hill – I’ve added it to an inevitable follow up article – it’s so funky compared to the rest of London.

      Angel’s nice, just as a place as well – it’s one of my favourite places to go out for a drink.
      Marco Fiori recently posted…Touching Kamakura – Japan PhotographyMy Profile

      Reply
  3. jkar
    Wednesday, 15 June, 2011

    London is truly a great place for street photography and it is one of the best place in the world to do prenuptial session. Thanks for the list.

    Reply
  4. sumit
    Thursday, 16 June, 2011

    Covent Garden – my personal favourite, even though Liverpool Street station does interest me fairly well (got hauled by a copper once for leaning on his car to take a shot when it was parked in front of the Bishopsgate PS – silly me).
    At Covent Garden, much like Southbank, people are milling around during the weekend. The musicians, the performers, the regulars on the pub terrace, some sitting across for a coffee at Pain, while some just plonk down on the side of the road to listen to some guitarist belt out Sultans of Swing. Even when darkness falls, Covent Garden lights lend itself well to some beautiful play with light and dark, though I must add that one is better off with a fast lens at such moments.
    sumit recently posted…Interesting bunchMy Profile

    Reply
    • Marco Fiori
      Thursday, 16 June, 2011

      Yeah, Covent Garden can be fun. I find it a little bit touristy and generally the crowds prevent me from honing in on anyone. If you’re shooting with a close lens though, it’s great for getting among the crowds and getting some close-ups. Cheers again for the comment.

      Reply
  5. Paul
    Sunday, 19 June, 2011

    One of my favorite places to shoot is Borough Market, lot’s and lot’s of subjects. My wife who is from the Hampshire took me there for the first time a few years ago and we always return when we have the time.

    Reply
    • Marco Fiori
      Monday, 20 June, 2011

      It’s awful, but I very rarely venture south of the river. Living in North London means it’s a bit far to go after work. Borough Market is certainly a great place to unwind and photograph.

      As you say, it’s nice just to visit as a place and without your camera.

      Reply
  6. Marcus Riccoboni
    Monday, 27 June, 2011

    You might find time to try Speakers Corner on a Sunday morning. Always a few interesting characters out and about.
    Marcus Riccoboni recently posted…Speakers’ Corner, Family entertainmentMy Profile

    Reply
    • Marco Fiori
      Tuesday, 28 June, 2011

      Cheers for the suggestion Marcus, I’ll check it out.

      Reply
  7. Jamila Duke
    Monday, 15 August, 2011

    I’m still learning from you, but I’m improving myself. I certainly enjoy reading all that is posted on your blog.Keep the stories coming. I liked it!

    Reply
  8. The 5 Best Places for Street Photography in London. | Lalonda
    Sunday, 17 June, 2012

    [...] Read original. [...]

    Reply
  9. Anthony D'Angio
    Friday, 14 September, 2012

    Covent Garden – definitely a great spot in Spring with the crowds gathering for the street performers. Just shot a set today which shows the kinds of characters you can encounter. Have a look here: https://www.facebook.com/kissthefrography

    Reply
    • Marco Fiori
      Saturday, 13 October, 2012

      Yeah, definitely is Anthony! Thanks for the tips.

      Reply
  10. Grace
    Tuesday, 13 November, 2012

    Hi I’m 15 – 16 on Monday woop! And your blog is sooooo useful I’m a newcomer to photography but I love it i have a Nikon p500 and it is my life taking photo’s of nature and city’s and this blog helped me to go to south bank yesterday and I got some great shots, just like to say thank you! :)

    Reply
  11. Blog voyage
    Sunday, 17 February, 2013

    Thanks for these great tips.
    I’m french and I will go in London for 5 days this week.
    I will follow these tips !

    Reply
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