Photographing People In London
Some pictures from London. I went for a hard contrast black and white style.
Last month was quite busy with traveling. First I went to the southern part of Mexico for two weeks and at the end of the month, I visited a friend in London for a couple of days. Not only was it a lot of fun, but I also learned a ton, shooting pictures of people on the street. In London, it was much less about the people and much more about the setting.
I’ve been to London many times before and always focused on tourist photos. It was only last time I went, to celebrate New Year’s Eve, that I noticed there’s more to photograph. So this time I went out with the idea to shoot more of what I saw in the street rather than the monuments.
The Museum of Natural History had this large room with a scale model of the moon. I tried to get something out of that, but it was only when I shot from a low angle and caught people passing by the moon that I got a result that looked okay. Due to the lack of any noteworthy color, I knew I would edit these in black and white.
While walking in the neighborhood of the museum I noticed this statue of Jesus with a young girl standing underneath. It’s again not the perfect shot, but even before I took it I knew I could edit this the same way and maybe a little black and white series might come out of this. So my mindset shifted and I started to look for scenes with hard contrast that would look good in black and white.
I almost missed this shot of a Chinese chef having a cigaret. There wasn’t much contrast in the original file, but I knew I could easily make something out of it in Lightroom.
The second day went a lot easier. I took some pictures at three main locations: the British Museum, the Financial District and in the SkyGarden. The Financial District is the perfect location to play with light and shadows due to the skyscrapers that cast shadows and reflect light. Also, the architecture lends itself very well for photos. Some of these needed some work in Lightroom to really have the black and white contrast. I think these are the best shots of the three days I spent there.
The British Museum is, of course, a classic spot. The architecture of the building just begs for black and white photos. I tried first to focus on the people but soon realized nothing good would come out of that so I went the cliché way and focussed on the building but still tried to have a human element in the frame.
I had no clue what to expect of the SkyGarden, but it turned out to be much better than expected. Since you have a 360° view of the city I wanted to catch some people looking at the cityscape. Obviously I also wanted the plants to be in the frame and preferably a very recognizable landmark. In this case the London Eye. It turned out to be much harder than expected since a lot of people just passed by without looking at the city. After about ten minutes I got lucky when a woman stopped for a second.
These three days turned out to be a little different than expected. I didn’t have any intentions to do this much black and white photography and thought I would be taking pictures of more people. Still, I’m very happy with these results. I hope to be doing more of this soon!