Grab your camera and join a professional photographer on a historical journey through central London, learn some valuable photography skills whilst discovering the secrets of London City!
- London (London)
- Gift Voucher valid for 1 Participant
Combine a love of history with a passion for photography during this sightseeing photography tour of London. Lead by an expert instructor, you'll learn how to properly use your camera to capture stunning urban landscape images, and expand your knowledge of London's rich and fascinating past.
Starting at Saint Mary Woolnoth Church of England, the tour will focus on streets, alleyways and paths less commonly walked, so you see a side to London that most people overlook. With a few thousand years of development, the history of London is layered and complex - a perfect subject for architectural photography. The guide will talk you through the sights, indulging you in tales of historic figures and events, giving context while you snap away with your digital camera. After two hours of walking, chatting and photographing, you'll have a memory card full of wonderfully unique images and a brain full of anecdotes and fun facts; perfect for sharing with friends in the pub later! The photography tour will finish at Christ church Spitalfields London. For history buffs and photography enthusiasts alike, the Historic Photography Tour of London is a fantastic experience gift that ticks all the boxes. Spend an enjoyable and informative afternoon in our great capital, and take home skills, stories and pictures you can cherish forever.
The tour runs on select Saturday throughout the year, generally once or twice a month.
Current scheduled dates:
21st April 2018
12th May 2018
26th May 2018
2nd June 2018
9th June 2018
23rd June 2018
30th June 2018
Minimum age: 12 (under 16s must be accompanied by a participating adult)
Please note this tour involves a significant amount of walking.
Experience Duration: 02:00
Time at Venue: 02:00
This is a two hour walking photography tour.
The tour times will either be at 10:00 am, 13:00 pm or 15:30pm.
Participants: The Historic Photography Tour of London is for 1 participant.
Max Group Size: +10
Spectators Allowed on Site: No
Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 16
Attendees should bring a digital camera, preferably a DSLR with manual settings. Participants may also wish to bring a notepad and pen, and should wear comfortable walking shoes.
In particularly extreme weather conditions the tour may have to be cancelled, in which case you can simply re-book on another date.
If you’ve ever bought a camera and attempted to read the instruction manual, you probably know how tricky working out your new toy can be. The instructions are never simple to follow, with an extensive volume of information and technical wording – where to begin with all those different functions?! In this fascinating interview with Simon, from Westland Place Studios, you’ll learn a little more about their photography courses. You’ll hear how they deliver a course that’s great fun and beneficial to your photography skills.
Q1: Please tell us how Westland Place Studios began?
A: Westland Place Studios is probably the last independent art and design studios remaining in Shoreditch, central east London. The building was built at the turn of the century and formerly used as a tobacco pipe factory. You can still see the original signage along the front of the building ‘John Redman Ltd. & British Empire Pipe Co.’ The studios were established 25 years ago by a group of artists graduating from London Guildhall University.
Q2: What is it about London that you like to photograph?
A: No matter where you go, or how many times you revisit an area, you will always find something different to capture.
Q3: Where did your passion for photography start from?
A: Aged 16 at school a friend of my brother had built his own darkroom. He showed me some of his images and I knew that was what I wanted to do. It became my goal and has been my career ever since as both a professional and guide.
Q4: With your tours being a group experience, how do you ensure that everyone receives help to meet their own individual photography ability?
A: I first find out where everyone is with their cameras. Auto, Intelligent Auto or all the way to Manual. A 2 hour tour is like a ‘taster session’ where guests can discover that no matter where their comfort zones lie and/or how complicated their cameras may appear, with hands on explanation, they can realise very quickly what their cameras can give them.
Those on Auto I explain that on Auto the camera will give you an image which the camera thinks is ‘OK’. Most often it is not what you want. Photography can be explained very simply without having to digest the full contents of a manual. From there I put them onto ‘P’ explain Exposure Valuation (+/-) to show how they can take the simplest control of the exposure of their images. The first photograph you take may not be what you want but, with a bit a few simple adjustments, you can begin to create the image you do want.
After a while, and having checked that those on ‘P’ are all OK with Exposure Valuation, we then move to Aperture Priority and, again in simple terms, explain what it does and how you can choose your depth of field to enhance your image to maximum effect.
When we arrive at a new location I constantly move around the group making sure they are happy with what they are capturing, the settings they are using and if needed give encouragement and advice. On occasion I might even borrow a camera and take a photo to further illustrate to the group that through exploring what is there in-front of them all they can use their photographic vision to find something unique. I believe guests learn more from looking at live images and their explanation than reading books.
I set challenges to look at a certain frame/subject and ask questions about aperture and exposure valuation to encourage them to really look at what is there and make decisions before picking up the camera. I will take those who are receptive through ISO and shutter speeds and fully manual but in general on a shoot outdoors I feel Aperture is the most creative programme to work with.
Q5: What are the preferred photography skills that you teach?
A: Understanding light and composition. Exploring with your eyes, deciding what you want the camera to give you before picking it up. Take your time. Photography is like scuba diving. The faster you go the more you miss. Make your camera your friend – the means to capture your photographic vision. Do not be afraid to break the rules. Push the boundaries of you vision.
Q6: For those that only use ‘Auto Mode’ while taking a photograph, what is your opinion on this?
A: Cameras, no matter which model or make, can appear quite frightening with all the buttons and functions. This is why many, after reading the first 10 pages and the index in a manual, ‘lose the will’ and put it on Auto.
But I have broken the manual jargon down to very basic terms, and it can be very simple if presented in the right way. I work on a strictly ‘need to know’ basis. On Auto we have no control and rely on the camera to make the decisions. But we are human, we invented the camera, and it is in our very nature to want to be in control of what we have created.
Auto can be OK, well sometimes and very rarely, but with very gentle non-techy encouragement and within a matter of minutes I have changed the way guests know what to do with their cameras and they quickly start taking control.
Photography is fun and, if the mechanics are presented in the right way, the user can achieve results way beyond their expectation in a very short time. I know, having photographed and guided guests in some of the most challenging parts of our planet from deserts in Africa to the frozen landscapes of the Arctic and Antarctic.
Q7: What three words would you use to describe your tours?
A: Considerate, enlightening and fun.
Thank you to Simon Bottomley, Westland Place Studios Photographer & Guide, for answering our questions. It’s obvious you have an amazing passion and a talent for sharing it with others.
All the courses:
Yes that would be fine, you would simply be added to another group of participants in order to meet the minimum group requirements.