I had been staying in London for a few weeks, but never really took any photos. Ok, except food photos of the countless times I went to Camden Market and Borough Market. It’s just too yummy! Now that I was planning on traveling again, I got serious FOMO – all the beautiful places in this city, that I didn’t have on camera. After all, who knew when I’d be back?
When I realized that I hadn’t taken any night shots since I was in Istanbul in November 2016 (shame on me, but read my tips about a one day itinerary here!), I immediately searched for a night photography tour in London. It’s just saving so much time not having to search for the best spots yourself, but being guided by a local instead. I got very lucky – Katrina from “Photography Tours at Night LTD” offered me to join a Southbank Tour – a 2 hour guided tour walking along the South Bank of the river Thames! Wohoo!
Fast forward a few days, 8:30pm on Waterloo Bridge. A nice little group of 7 people and all sorts of skill levels came together and listened to Katrina explaining photography to us. Although I already knew a thing or two about photography, and had spent countless hours doing long exposure shots before, Katrina explained everything in a different way. I’m not great with numbers and calculating my shots, so her approach was perfect for me.
We did actual exercises with our own eyes, that helped us understand how our camera works – the focus, the amount of light that comes in etc. If you leave a dark room and step out in the sun e.g., your eyes automatically close and greatly reduce the amount of light that comes in – this is what you need to do for your camera, because it’s not as smart as a human being 😉 Otherwise, if you let in too much light, your picture will be overexposed and mostly white. Makes sense, right? This is Katrina’s way of teaching photography, and it’s an amazing one in my opinion!
We took a few shots on Waterloo Bridge, and Katrina made sure everyone had the correct settings so nobody would go home without their very own beautiful night shots. She even borrowed me a tripod, because I only had a small travel tripod that wasn’t high enough. I forgot to give it back to her after the tour, but that’s a whole different story 😉
After everyone finished their shots, we made our way down the National Theatre and walked along the river, setting up our tripods here and there to capture this impressive city by night.
Another really cool thing I learned that night was how to do this:
If you don’t already know how to create this effect, I won’t tell you – you should book a tour and find out for yourself 🙂
We ended the tour on Millenium Bridge, capturing light trails of buses on the neighboring bridge as well as light trails of the boats making their rounds on the Thames. Don’t know how long you need to take a photo to get the entire trail on one photo? She will explain how to prepare your shots.
My love for night photography is reignited 😉 I ordered a proper tripod the day after and took tons of long exposure shots since then – you’ll be the first to see them, promise, keep an eye on my Insta and Facebook. Needless to say, I’m really grateful Katrina helped me get back into night photography. She’s a passionate photographer and traveler and she will make sure you leave with some stunning shots of London by night and understand your camera better – but in a non-boring way. Highly recommended to any Londoner or tourist alike!
Photography Tours at Night LTD offers several different tours in London. I did the Southbank Tour, but they also have a Westminster Tour, Picadilly Circus and many more. You even get a 75% discount on your second tour. In case you’re traveling to Edinburgh, Morocco or Iceland anytime soon – they’re doing trips there as well *wohoo*