I was recently interviewed by the BBC for a special video about the 9 most Instagrammed places in London. It got me thinking about my photos of each one, and how I approach my shots to make my images stand out. If you’d like to make your pictures rise above the rest—or you’re just wondering which landmarks made the cut—read on.
Number 9 on the list is the British Museum. With its wealth of ancient treasures and stunning old-meets-new Great Court, it’s easily one of the most important and photogenic places in London.
I like shooting the museum from the floor of the Great Court, capturing the stunning contemporary ceiling with contrasting historic details in the foreground.
Number 8 is Heathrow Airport, partly because people like to shoot it before takeoff and landing, and partly because there are millions of people transiting through Heathrow every year.
I’ve only Instagrammed a few photos of Heathrow, but my preferred place to shoot is in the new terminals (that’s 2 and 5 in case you don’t spend half your life in London’s airports). The architecture is awe-inspiring, and there are lots of great angles, shapes, and lines to add nice composition and structure to a photo.
Number 7 is Harrods, London’s most famous department store. Its beautiful exteriors are at their best during the golden hours around sunrise and sunset, and its interiors are full of everything from mouth-watering food halls to gorgeous luxury goods.
I like to photograph Harrods from the outside in the late afternoon or evening when the facade lights up and the whole building glows.
Number 6 is Buckingham Palace, which comes as no surprise. Home of the Queen and location of the famous changing of the guard ceremony, it attracts visitors from all over the world.
I like taking pictures of the palace from near the entrance to Green Park or down The Mall, where it’s easy to get the whole building in the shot and some of the foreground, too.
The photo below is one I posted on my first day as the London Localite for BBC Travel. I share my photos of the city on their account every week, so if you want to see more of the 9 most Instagrammed places in London, head over and give them a follow.
Number 5 is Camden. I was a bit surprised to find this funky London neighborhood on the list since it’s slightly outside the city center. But its edgy character and larger-than-life shopfronts make it the perfect place to take pictures.
I like Instagramming Camden from the markets, whether I’m exploring the quirky finds in the Stables Market or sipping Pimm’s on the balcony above the Camden Lock Market. Regardless of where I shoot, I know there will always be great colors to make my photos stand out.
Number 4 is Big Ben, which only comes as a surprise because it’s not number 3, 2, or 1. Big Ben is one of London’s most iconic landmarks, and is a popular place to take photos and be photographed (there’s a red phone box nearby that gets a lot of use as a place to pose in front of the clock tower).
I’ve Instagrammed Big Ben many times, and my favorite view is from near Westminster Abbey. On sunny days it’s a great place to get the tower, some of the Houses of Parliament, and the London Eye in the shot, all with some great blue sky in the background.
Number 3 is the London Eye, one of London’s more recent additions. Despite being completed in 1999, it has already become one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks and an integral part of the skyline.
I like photographing the London Eye from across the river in Westminster. It’s a different view that not many people capture, so it stands out from the crowd.
Number 2 is Hyde Park, central London’s behemoth of a green space. The park is popular year-round, and is the perfect place for a picnic or paddle boat ride.
I love taking pictures in Hyde Park during the spring and summer, when the flowers are in full bloom and the afternoon sun starts to fade into the golden glow of evening.
Number 1 is Tower Bridge, the most flamboyant and recognizable bridge in the city. It’s a great feat of Victorian engineering (I took a behind the scenes tour once to learn all about it), and amazing to admire up close or from a distance.
I like to shoot Tower Bridge from any angle, but for the interview I photographed it from outside the Tower of London. It’s a good vantage point for getting the whole bridge in a horizontal shot, and offers an uninterrupted view from the waterfront.
9 Most Instagrammed Places in London
When I look over the list, I’m glad some of my favorite London landmarks are on it, but I also wish some of the city’s less obvious locations made the cut. While I enjoy photographing all 9 places, my favorite sites to Instagram in London are the little mews and tiny details that make the city so lovely for locals. My followers like to see them, too.
So the biggest Instagram photography tip I can leave you with is that when you’re finished snapping the star attractions, get off the beaten path and take a few photos of something different. That’s how I built my following on Instagram, and I know others would say the same.
If you want to see my interview, you can catch it at the end of this video.
What are your favorite ways to photograph the 9 most Instagrammed places in London?