Street Photography on the Streets of London

This time a few days ago I found myself with a couple of hours to spare before my train home from London. So I grabbed my camera out my bag and headed out to the blustery streets of the capital.

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I took loads of photos at this location along Oxford St. waiting for the right person to walk past.. thankfully this women and her stripy top didn’t take too long to arrive

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To get these silhouettes I stood in the shade and adjusted the aperture

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It’s not always safe to cross the road even when its a green light! These horses had just come from a presentation at Buckingham Palace

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Bus stops always provide an opportunity to use the reflection or get up close and personal

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Rush hour can be overwhelming if you’re trying to get anywhere in London but provides lots of photography opportunities. I captured these businessmen outside Covent Garden Tube waiting for friends.

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The wind did provide some comical moments including this groups’ teachers tripping over

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Tired tourists can be spotted everywhere- London is bigger than you think

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I sat down for a few minutes to rest my feet at Leicester Square. This father and son were tasked with finding the families next destination.

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Theres always time to catch up on the news-even if it is at Piccadilly Circus

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When I’m shooting street photography I try to mix up the angles including shooting at shoulder height to get close up portraits

 

NEW BLOG ALERT!

If you want to check out a brilliant new travel blog, one of my favourite people I met in Bangladesh, Morgan, has just set up a blog detailing all her travels, she has just got back from Cambodia! Morgan is a ball of energy and an annoyingly good dancer when you go out clubbing (makes me look even worse) so go check out and support her blog.. morganvibes.wordpress.com

Morgan (left), Me and Emily

Shooting on Monsoon 35mm Film

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This week I shot a roll of Monsoon 35mm film. The aim of this film is to create saturated blue tones replicating the feel of post-monsoon rain…

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Overall i’m not sure how I feel about this 35mm film, I really like the blue tones but the images look really soft which is not normally the effect I go for. But I think it’s only fair to try it out in a different environment so next week I’m going to head to the seven sisters to photograph landscapes.

Snapshots of a Robot Camera

For me, having fun with photography is what it’s all about, and this robot camera provides it in bucket loads.

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It’s super light, fits in your pocket and has 3 lenses. The viewfinder is non-existent as is the ability to frame a shot. But this camera is more about capturing moments with the hope that one of the 3 images is usable.

I got given this camera as a birthday present a couple of years ago. As I’m often working on commercial or personal projects this camera isn’t a viable option. But after so long collecting dust on my camera shelf surrounded by my beloved Olympus MJU II and Pentax 1000 I decided to take it with me everywhere I went for a week…

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Paddling Out to Sea

Over the weekend the biggest annual free beach festival returned to my hometown of Brighton, UK.  ‘Paddle Round the Pier’ features numerous events including DIY boats and paddle boarding out to sea and around the pier. Everybody gets dressed up, smothers themselves in sun cream and gets paddling..

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There is also a fair which comes with food stalls, rides and music stages. It takes place over the whole weekend, although most of us were indoors watching England at the World Cup on Saturday…

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Lines of a City Part III

I first shot ‘lines of city’ in Canterbury and then again in a Sussex village. Looking for patterns and repetition is a great way to take in your surroundings and as I am back in  Brighton for a few months before I start my MA in London I thought it’d be a great way to look at my hometown from a new perspective.

If you’re in a creative rut or struggling to find something to photograph try this out, it’s a great excuse to get out with your camera and enjoy exploring.

Other images in this series:

Canterbury 

Sussex

Where to Shoot Street Photography in London

London has long been one of my favourite places to shoot street photography. No matter the time of year the streets are always filled with opportunities to photograph people. In this post I’m going to break down my favourite spots in London.

First up: Trafalgar Square. The square is home to both the National Gallery and Nelsons Column. This provides a great space to photograph people interacting with the architecture and environment around them.
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Leicester Square/China Town

Located next to each other, Leicester Square and China Town provide plenty of colour. If you find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of people and finding it hard to spot scenes to photograph, try and focus on shooting one thing such as dogs, the colour blue, people wearing hats etc. Whilst I was here I focused on photographing couples..

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Leading you from Oxford street to Leicester square is Regent Street. It’s a wide road filled with shops such as Apple and Hamleys. If you get there during golden hour the light hits just right through the buildings to create some striking portrait opportunities.

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Outside of Buckingham Palace you’ll find the full spectrum of emotions from vloggers and excited tourists to stressed parents and tired children..

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Street photography takes lot of patience and you have to be prepared for people to watch you taking pictures. But its a great way to see a city and when you take your shoes off after a long day walking theres nothing better than flicking through the photos you shot and coming across your new favourite photo.

More Street Photography

Camden  Prague Golden Hour  How to Use the Background in Street Photography

Dougie Wallace When the Subject Spots You  East London

Bangladesh In 35mm + A Magazine Feature!

Having lived in Bangladesh for four months one of the things I was most excited about when I returned home was to get all my films developed (and seeing my family..).  I am very happy to finally share the images with you which have been featured on Huck Magazine. Hit the Link to see the article!

 

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DEVELOPING as a Photographer

Many of the questions and messages I receive through this blog centre around ‘how do you improve as a photographer?’ and ‘How did you learn to take better photos?’. The answer is an awful lot of practice and I am nowhere near done! Below I’m going to talk you through my development in the last few years.

One of my first images I took when I was 16 and just started A-level photography. I had never studied photography before and fell in love with it during this project ‘traces’. Looking back I would never edit an image like this, now I most likely de-saturate the whole image.

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This is also part of my ‘traces’ project. I still like the composition of the photograph but would lower the saturation and contrast of it (I  had just started leaning photoshop!)

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I took this at 18 when I bought my first set of coloured flash filters. This was all about having fun and learning about the effects of flash. It’s taken me a while to realise that I much prefer slow shutter speeds using ambient light rather than flash.

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After watching a YouTube video called something like ‘How to do street photography’  I took my camera out , rather over-enthusiastically , to the streets of London and tried to apply literally everything I learnt.  As I was young I wasn’t aware of how people might feel about having their photos taken and was fearless, I am now more aware of people and how their portrayed.

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I still love the comedy of this shot. I took this during my second year at university.  I was completely against it with 3 essay deadlines coming up and very little time. I had been spending around 6 hours a day everyday in the library.   But on this morning I woke up a decided to dedicate a whole day to photography and just enjoy it. This was one of the first shots I took.

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One of the main lessons I learnt at university was the art of networking and making connections. This was in collaboration with a poet for his debut book.

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This image (also featured above) came in useful when I learnt how to create photograms in the darkroom.  I printed the image on acetate, overlaid random items and placed it on light sensitive paper.  Again I would lower the contrast but I like the combination of image and found items.

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Still one of my favourite ever shoots. I took my best friend, dressed with a snorkel,  along the London underground. The project was a conceptual tongue-in-cheek  project based on the fact the London Underground goes under the river Thames.

Although not a brilliant photograph it represents an opportunity gifted to me by collaboration. A friend and fellow photography student was photographing at an organic farm and asked me to go along for support. Having a camera allowed us to get a behind-the-scenes look at the hard work that goes into running a farm.

I will never claim to be fashion photographer as I have no clue when it comes to fashion but learning how to photograph in a studio is a skill every photographer should learn. You can apply the skills and knowledge of lights, soft boxes etc. out in the field. Light is incredibly important whether its harnessing the golden hour, creating shadow or drawing the viewers eye to the subject.

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It’s not all serious in the studio..

It’s true you should never stop learning when it comes to photography and it can help to have an end goal (landscape, portrait, street photographer etc.). But ENJOY getting there. I am not where I want to be photography-wise but it has opened up incredible opportunities I would never have experienced without photography;  from photographing the cycling Tour of Britain to exploring new cities and countries..

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post I’ve  really enjoyed putting it together. No matter how far you are into your photography journey its always worth looking back over your images and seeing how much you’ve improved.

You can find me on Instagram @madisonbeachphotos or over on my website.

10 Rules of Photography

Using the contact form here on this blog a young follower has got touch about ways to improve his photography. So I thought for anyone interested I’d put together a quick guide to 10 rules you should know.

1.Adjust your point of view

Work out how you want your subject to look. If you look up at it you can make it look towering and intimidating , look at it straight on and engage with it or you can look down or your subject making them look small and menial.

 

2.Know your colours

Get to know your complementary and contrasting colours and start implementing them. Use the masters of colour photography like Saul Leiter and William Eggleston for inspiration.

 

3. Control and adapt to movement

You can do this in a number of ways from adjusting shutter speed, following the motion with the lens or even creating a stop motion.

 

4.Utilise central composition

Positioning your subject centrally can be incredibly effective but use it sparingly. Many top fashion, street and photographers do this. Wes Anderson uses this technique brilliantly throughout all his films.

 

5. Apply the golden spiral

The golden spiral is essentially  applying maths (not my strong point) to photography. Check out this link to learn more.

 

6. Be aware of your background

Make sure the background complements your subject, if not go for a minimal look. Be careful that it’s not too busy, clustered or bright as this can detract the viewers focus.

 

7. Look for leading lines

As the name suggest leading lines literally guide the viewers focus, they don’t always have to lead to the centre of the image but if you have them make sure they lead to something interesting.

 

8.Use framing

Both the background and and leading lines can frame your subject. This means using items within the frame to direct the viewers gaze.

 

9. Rule of thirds

This is probably the most well known rule within photography. Its really simple just split your image into 9 sections and place an object of interest on one of the lines or where they intersect.

 

10. Shoot in the golden hour

This is my favourite rule/tip which I have recently blogged about. Photographing in the hour or two after the sun rises or if like me your not a morning person, the hours before the sun sets. This leads to soft colours and less contrast than midday sun.

You don’t have to follow any of the rules, rules are made to be broken and if you implemented them all they would contradict each other. BUT if your looking to improve your photography it really does help having them at the back of your mind and applying at least one or two rules.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this, follow me on Instagram to see more of my images @madisonbeachphotos

Shooting in Golden Hour

If your looking to improve your photography utilising the golden hour is a must. This is considered the hour (or two) after sunrise and before sunset. Midday-sun creates strong contrasts and often over saturated images. Whereas the golden hour provides much softer colours. While visiting my family for Easter I went for a walk around the suburban surroundings, taking photos of what could be considered boring subjects but showcasing how golden hour brings out a different, often more preferable colour palette.

I’ve spent the last 3 days visiting exhibitions all around London including the Sony Photography Awards at Somerset House (go see it!). In the meantime I’m getting back to updating my Instagram with photos from my exhibitions adventures, with a bit of street photography thrown in for good measure..

@madisonbeachphotos

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