These UK landmarks have been photographed to death, so how can you make your photos of them stand out from the crowd?
Offering a few pearls of wisdom, London-based professional photographer Daniel Lewis has revealed how to capture 15 of Britain’s most popular attractions in an original way.
From tucked-away streets to rooftops, he details where photographers should position themselves if they want to document structures from a different perspective.
For example in London, head to Golden Jubilee Bridge to shoot two landmarks in one shot – Big Ben on the right and the London Eye on the left.
And when it comes to photographing Stonehenge, gain special access outside public opening hours so you can take a unique image from within the megalithic monument.
Scroll down to find out how you can snap your way to Instagram glory…
The London Eye
Daniel says head to the Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall for a photo showing London’s old and new sides, with the London Eye in the background
By standing on the Golden Jubilee Bridge you can capture two landmarks in one shot – Big Ben on the right and the London Eye on the left
Since being officially opened on December 31, 1999, the London Eye has become synonymous with the London skyline, and of course, photos of the capital. To get photos that stand out from the crowd though, try:
Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall: Shots of the London Eye don’t need to include the entire wheel, but can be a lot more effective when they partner the historical architecture of the city with the glass capsules of the Eye. Head to the Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall for a photo of London both new and old.
The Golden Jubilee Bridge: When visiting a city that has so many landmarks, you want a photo that gets as many of them in the frame as possible. For two of the most popular, the London Eye and Big Ben, this is made possible by standing on the Golden Jubilee Bridge! With the River Thames taking centre stage, Big Ben on the right and the Eye on the left.
Gain special access to Stonehenge to walk among the stones and get an Inner Circle photo
As with other large sites surrounded by land, Daniel says gaining some perspective by including people within the shot is a good idea
This megalithic monument and World Heritage Site, erected around 2500BC, is shrouded in ancient mystery. To capture it in an eye-catching way, says Daniel, you’ll need to get in amongst the stones and use people for a sense of scale.
The Inner Circle: The closest you can get in public opening hours is around 10 yards away, but special access visits outside these hours allow you to go beyond the barriers and walk among the stones so you can get that all important Inner Circle photo.
Perspective: As with other large sites surrounded by land, gaining some perspective by including people within the shot is a good idea. Part of Stonehenge’s charm is the mystery surrounding how the stones were gathered with no engineering help, so a size comparison helps to illustrate this.
Buckingham Palace, London
Head to The Mall to get that iconic, tree-lined shot of the Queen Victoria Memorial and Buckingham Palace in the distance
Daniel says if you head to St James’s Park, the reflections on the pond add depth, and the clever positioning also captures the Queen Victoria Memorial through the trees
Buckingham Palace has remained the official London residence of the UK’s royals since 1837 and today is the administrative headquarters of the monarch. The building raises the Royal Standard when The Queen is in residence, but when she’s not around, the standard is swapped out for the UK’s national flag – great details to try and capture in a photo.
The Mall: Head to The Mall to get that iconic, tree-lined shot of the Queen Victoria Memorial and Buckingham Palace in the distance. The Mall is pedestrianised apart from for royal occasions, so you’ll be sure to get a great photo whether you’re close up or far away.
St James’s Park: As with many of the other landmarks, veering away from a traditional head-on shot can add atmosphere and perspective, as shown in the above image of Buckingham Palace in the evening. The reflections on the pond in St James’s Park add depth, and the clever positioning also captures the Queen Victoria Memorial through the trees.
The Shard, London
This shot taken on London Bridge Street provides a perfect frame for The Shard
This shot focuses on the Shard through part of Tower Bridge, taken while standing on Tower Bridge at dusk
You will, of course, get some breath-taking views from within the building itself, but the design of the 95-storey supertall skyscraper also lends itself to some great photography from the ground.
London Bridge Street: Find the right street and you can get a clear shot of The Shard through office buildings from the ground, including the hustle and bustle of city life.
Tower Bridge: Why not use another landmark to frame the landmark you’re looking to photograph? The Shard is such an impressive building that even when dwarfed by perspective it still stands out.
Tower Bridge, London
By standing at Butler’s Wharf Daniel says you can frame the likes of the Gherkin behind Tower Bridge, while also bringing in an anchor and chains into the foreground
Daniel says the beauty of capturing Tower Bridge is the ability to catch the bascules open for passing ships, making it look even more impressive
This iconic structure has survived two world wars, berthed some of the largest ships in the world and still to this day raises its bridges an average of 800 times per year with over 40,000 people crossing it daily. This unique bridge lends itself to some interesting photographs.
Butler’s Wharf: The banks of the Thames offer multiple opportunities to photograph Tower Bridge but the view from Butler’s Wharf is a winner for many reasons, as you can frame the likes of the Gherkin behind Tower Bridge, while also bringing in an anchor and chains into the foreground.
River Thames: The beauty of capturing Tower Bridge is the ability to catch the bascules open for passing ships, making it look even more impressive. The bridge can raise up to ten times a day, and you can find out the lift times here. Bonus points if your vantage point is from the actual boat that’s passing through!
This vantage point from the graveyard of St Cuthbert’s Church captures Edinburgh Castle in a new light, set against a shadowy foreground
If you choose the right season to be in Princes Street Gardens, Daniel says the foreground of your Edinburgh Castle photo will feature an array of colourful plants
This historic fortress was the inspiration for JK Rowling’s Hogwarts School in Harry Potter, and you can see why. Placed atop Castle Hill in Scotland’s capital, its elevation means you can capture it from all angles from many different spots in the city, but these are some of the more creative ways:
St. Cuthbert’s Graveyard: It may seem a little eerie, but this vantage point from the graveyard of St Cuthbert’s Church can help you capture Edinburgh Castle in a new light, set against a shadowy foreground. This angle is best shot at night to take advantage of the atmospheric up-lighting of the castle.
Princes Street Gardens: If you choose the right season to be in Princes Street Gardens, the foreground of your photo will feature an array of colourful plants, setting the scene for Edinburgh Castle in the background, including its impressive fortress.
Durdle Door, Dorset
Daniel says the majority of Durdle Door shots are from the bay, pinpointing the famous Jurassic cove, but actually stepping back up the steps and framing the shot with them leads the eye down and makes the most of the full bay and the archway too
To embrace a new view of Durdle Door, says Daniel, you can get a great shot from the other side
One of Dorset’s most photographed landscapes, Durdle Door is part of the Jurassic Coast and cuts some unique shapes above the sea and coastline. The iconic stone arch was created when the sea pierced through the Portland limestone around 10,000 years ago, and is still a fascinating sight today.
Beach steps: The majority of Durdle Door shots are from the bay, pinpointing the famous Jurassic cove, but actually stepping back up the steps and framing the shot with them leads the eye down and makes the most of the full bay and the archway too.
Man O’War Bay: If you want to embrace a new view of Durdle Door, you can get a great shot from the other side – known as Man O’War Bay. This example frames the iconic stone archway at the back, and small rocky islets poking through the sea at the front.
St. Paul’s, London
Daniel says St Paul’s Cathedral is so big it’s hard to capture a good picture of it from up close. He recommends heading to One New Change to get a shot showing the contrast of the modern buildings against the 1,400-year-old structure
The rooftop at One New Change also offers another great angle of the Cathedral, especially in the evening
Millennium Bridge creates a visual walkway right to the centre of St Paul’s, making it the perfect place to take a photo
A grade one listed building, St Paul’s Cathedral is so big it’s hard to capture a good picture of it from up close. You’re also unable to take any photographs from the inside, so these vantage points ensure you snare its best angles.
One New Change: The composition you can create from this vantage point perfectly frames St. Paul’s, and the contrast of the modern buildings against the 1,400-year-old Anglican Cathedral is unique. One New Change is a two-in-one when it comes to photographing St. Paul’s, as the rooftop also offers another great angle of the Cathedral, especially in the evening.
Millennium Bridge: If you stand on Millennium Bridge you get a visual walkway right to St Paul’s, slap bang in the centre.
Big Ben, London
Climb up the sky-scraping Millbank Tower to get a fantastic view of London, and a unique vantage point for Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster
Big Ben actually refers to the largest bell within the clock, so when you’re shooting images of the 16th-century Gothic clocktower, you’re actually capturing ‘Elizabeth Tower’. Synonymous also with the Palace of Westminster, which it’s attached to, here are two great vantage points to capture the tower in all of its glory.
Millbank Tower: Climb up the sky-scraping Millbank Tower to get a fantastic view of London, and a unique vantage point for Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster.
Great George Street: Aside from all the landmarks, another key part of London is its famous red phone boxes. You can capture the quintessential London photograph on Great George Street, by framing the street’s red phone boxes alongside the towering Big Ben.
The Blackpool Tower, Lancashire
If you head to Blackpool beach during low tide, Daniel says you can capture the Blackpool Tower, classic pier and sandy shore in one shot – and the reflections on the pools of water add depth
The North Pier in Blackpool, Daniel says, is a great viewpoint from which to capture the traditional seaside town
Inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Blackpool Tower may only be half its height but it is still one of the most iconic coastal landmarks in the UK. On a clear day Blackpool Tower can even be seen from as far away as Wales and the Lake District, but here are some vantage points that are a bit closer to home.
The shore at low tide: The famous seaside town not only houses Blackpool Tower, but a glorious sandy beach and a classic pier. This vantage point out on the shore at low tide means you can capture all three in one shot, and the reflection on the pools of water add depth.
Fylde Coast, North Pier: The North Pier dates back to 1863, making it 40 years older than Blackpool Tower and a great viewpoint from which to capture some of the traditional seaside town, with the tower in the background.
Hadrian’s Wall, Carlisle
Stepping back to include as much of Hadrian’s Wall as possible definitely yields the best shots, Daniel says
Utilise the signage around Hadrian’s Wall as these markers create an ideal focal point. Daniel says this photo ‘leads the eye off into the distance and beyond the blue sky’
This 73-mile wall stretches from the east to the west coast of England, and would take over a week to walk. But with some inspiring historical points along the way, you can focus on a small area to get the perfect shot without having to tackle the whole distance!
Housestead Roman Fort: Stepping back to include as much of Hadrian’s Wall as possible definitely yields the best shots. Taking a photo from the Housestead Roman Fort (the best-preserved fort in the country) allows the frame to show the winding wall as well as its untouched surroundings.
Signage: Utilising the signage around Hadrian’s Wall creates an ideal focal point and gives the wall an interesting perspective.
Piccadilly Circus, London
The reflection of Piccadilly Circus in a puddle creates crystal clear reflections. Daniel advises taking the shot from ground level so you can include more in the scene
To capture the hustle and bustle of Piccadilly Circus during the day, Daniel recommends positioning yourself inside the entrance to the Criterion Theatre
This city hub looks its best at night, but the curving wall of bright lights can make it a tricky landmark to fit in and photograph. Here are some tips and places to try and get the best from it.
Ground level: You can’t magic up the rain, but if you happen upon a wet evening in London, then the reflection of Piccadilly Circus in a puddle creates crystal clear reflections. Taking the shot from ground level also means you can include more in the scene.
Criterion Theatre: Snapping Piccadilly Circus from inside the entrance to the Criterion Theatre captures all the hustle and bustle as well as the bright lights, and is a good position for a day-time shot. This is a classic example of a less obvious place to take a photo that includes all the best elements of Piccadilly Circus.
The Bullring, Birmingham
Daniel says this shot only shows one side of the Selfridges building at The Bullring in Birmingham but it is instantly recognisable. It was taken from the ground up to show just a small section of the surface
The carpark of the Bullring shopping centre is a top place for a space-age shot, says Daniel. Above, the futuristic car park walkway leading into the mall
Birmingham’s iconic shopping centre is extremely distinctive, so the photography possibilities are vast.
Selfridges: Inspired by a Paco Rabanne sequinned dress, the Selfridges store is clad in 15,000 aluminium discs and makes for some intriguing photo opportunities.
Bullring carpark: It’s may not be the first place you’d expect to take a great photo, but the carpark of the Bullring shopping centre is so futuristic it’s definitely one to head to for a space-age shot.
Angel of the North, Gateshead
Daniel says this shot taken from behind the Angel of the North sculpture and from the ground up, ‘shows off the striations of the body thanks to some strategic sunlight’
If you can stand back and capture some people in the shot it will relay the Angel of The North’s magnitude, Daniel says
A fantastic piece of engineering as well as art, this larger-than-life sculpture stands at 20 metres (65.6 feet) tall and 54 metres (177 feet) wide. It’s tricky to name specific vantage points as it’s surrounded by fields for miles, so it’s more about the angles when it comes to capturing the perfect photo.
Behind the sculpture: With Angel of the North being such a huge landmark within a vast expanse of fields, it can be hard to capture a unique view. Move around the sculpture to make the most of the natural light.
Gaining perspective: The sheer size of the sculpture doesn’t truly come to life in a picture without a bit of perspective. Similar to capturing the scale of Stonehenge, if you can stand back and capture some people in the shot it will relay her magnitude. Plus, with most landmarks being busy with tourists, you can actually use them to your advantage, rather than waiting it out for a clear moment to take your picture.
* Feature courtesy of Premier Inn.