London is one of the most-visited cities in the world, with an estimated 19.1 million visitors per year convening in England’s capital city. With so many visitors, London has plenty of tourist attractions and big hitters on its map, but there are places outside of Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London that are perfect for street photographers.
After all, to really get to know a place you need to walk its streets and find where the real community is hidden. Of course, people are at the heart of good street photography and these are the best places in London to find locals just living their lives.
Camden Town is one of the most vibrant destinations in all of London. There are tons of alternative shops and the market is bustling with locals and tourists, making it a real melting pot.
There is also the Camden Lock which sees canal boats passing through and on sunny days the water’s edge is adorned with revellers. With so many interesting characters around and a real buzzing atmosphere, Camden Town is the perfect spot for portrait photography.
If you are looking to capture some street art, then Brick Lane and the wider Shoreditch area are the places to go. The area has undergone a huge transformation in recent decades, making it one of the most creative and vibrant locations in the capital.
You will find many interesting characters and street art while people are more open to having their pictures taken here than in some other spots around London. However, there is a subtle art to people-watching. Human beings have a primal instinct when it comes to being observed or scrutinised. For that reason, it’s important to occasionally stop in the best locations and time your shots just right.
Although a crowded destination, Soho provides an excellent opportunity for street photography in London. Located near Leicester Square and Chinatown, Soho also makes up part of London’s West End theatre district. With so much activity in such a confined space, you will have plenty of opportunities to capture memorable images.
This area is perfect for night photography as it really comes to life when the sun goes down. But given the somewhat bland area surrounding it, Soho stands out as a little haven of creativity in an otherwise unremarkable and distinctly tourist-heavy location.
One aspect of good street photography is architecture and The Barbican is a brutalist force to be reckoned with. Once derided as one of the most hideous buildings in London, the Barbican Centre divides opinion but it is one of the best locations for street photography in the city.
It is a sprawling building that is ideal for photographers looking for great contrast in their shots. The Barbican’s sheer size and powerful geometry create further contrast through pockets of light and shadow. The drab building feels like it’s a part of the ‘60s or ‘70s which juxtaposes brilliantly with the modern sensibilities and stylings of those who live and work in its artistic centre.
The London Underground is a great way to get around town as you can cover large distances quickly and the map is relatively straightforward to follow. While visiting all of these wonderful destinations, think of the London Underground as more than a way to travel; it’s also one of the best street photography spots the city has to offer.
As is the case throughout London, there is a real mix of people travelling on the underground train network, while some of the platforms are artworks in themselves. With almost 3 million journeys on the underground each day, it’s perfect for capturing normal people going about their business, which is the true heart of London.