These days smartphones have apparently made photographers of all of us, but for those more serious snappers out there, having professional equipment is key to honing your skills. Investing in a serious, high-powered camera, a handmade leather camera strap and a sturdy tripod elevate this beyond a mere hobby. Not for you the selfie-stick and gimmicky filters, if you’re serious about your photography then practice makes perfect. Here are some of the top places you can visit to improve your skills and capture some stunning shots in the process…
The Getty Images Gallery
When you’ve found something you love doing, there’s a tendency to just want to throw yourself into it. All the best artists, however, know that in order to create great work, you have to understand the form and study what other people do well. The Getty Images Gallery in London’s Mayfair has a vast collection of photography from around the world, including some fascinating negatives and historical prints. So before you get snapping, take some time to explore a photography archive and get some inspiration.
Practical Photography Magazine
Again, we’re asking you to hold fire on your own shots until you’ve had a chance to ‘visit’ Practical Photography Magazine’s website. Before you get out there for yourself, taking some time to study their tutorials, pick up some valuable tips and read some reviews. They will give you plenty of inspiration and ensure you get the most from your camera and editing software.
It might be an obvious place to visit, but for sweeping views of one of the most iconic skylines on the planet, then a trip to the top of the UK’s tallest skyscraper is a must. Try experimenting with the clever settings and functions on your camera to ensure you don’t just get the stock tourist shots of the capital.
Snowdonia National Park
If the urban scene isn’t for you, then reach for the other end of the spectrum and capture the wild and rugged beauty of Snowdonia National Park. With breathtaking scenery and some fantastic walks to be taken, you could spend hours in the remote countryside and never meet another photographer – come rain or shine, there is nothing so rewarding as photographing the natural world in all its forms.
For a slightly more intimate encounter with the natural world, Kew Gardens is a great place to start if you want to capture some of the more unusual flora in the UK. The glasshouses are particularly stunning in the summer, and give you plenty of scope for experimenting with light. We know that plants and flowers aren’t to everyone’s tastes, but simply getting in the practice at close-up shots and different effects is always a valuable lesson.
Bempton Cliffs, North Yorkshire
If you have a telephoto lens for your camera, then Bempton Cliffs are well worth a visit. During the summer months the puffins come in to roost and raise their chicks, so getting some unusual images of one of Britain’s most iconic species gives you good practice at zooming in and capturing moving objects. If you’re unlucky enough to miss them, there’s always the option of turning your lens on the sea and stunning surrounding countryside.