The 15 best photo spots in the city – A London engagement photographer’s guide
Couples come from all over the world to have their engagement photography in London. And can you blame them?! Stunning architecture, scenic parks, centuries of history and an infectious cosmopolitan buzz make it one of the most beautiful and exciting cities in the world. And an insanely romantic place to celebrate your engagement.
But with such a smoergesboard of photo opps on offer, where do you even start ? Don’t worry, I’ve got you. I’ve been a London engagement photographer for five years now and I’ve scouted out all the best photo spots in London. I’ve also learned a thing or two about dodging security and how to avoid crowds of tourists!
So here are my 15 best London engagement photography hotspots. All the iconic shots you have to have. Plus a few hidden gems in case you want your photos to be a bit different.
1. St Dunstan in the East
The ruined church of St Dunstan in the East is perfect if you want something a bit different for your engagement photography.
The derelict church was hit by a German bomb in 1941, and is now a serene oasis of ruins and ivy in the bustling City of London. Different flowers bloom at different times of the year, making it unique and beautiful all year round.
2. Hyde park
I’ve been taking couples to Hyde Park for years for their engagement photos. And even now, I’m still discovering new little hidden gems!
From the Italian gardens, to the cherry blossoms in spring, to Winter Wonderland around Christmas. There’s just so much to do! And from spring through autumn you can take a rowing boat out on the Serpentine, which is always an amazingly romantic and fun experience. Plus, this guarantees you some epic couple’s shots!
3. Hampstead Pergola gardens
The Pergola Gardens in Hampstead Heath is one of my favourite spots.
Built by the filthy-rich Lord Leverhulme over a hundred years ago, the Pergola offers stunning views over the heath. And there’s something truly romantic about the fading glory of the stone columns, steps and walls, entwined with ivy and flowers. And it looks beautiful in any season. From spring wisteria, to summer blooms, to the rusty hues of autumn, to the pearly blanket of winter.
But it can get busy. So it’s best to go first thing in the morning or on a weekday if you want to avoid tourists crowding your shot.
4. London Tower Bridge
London Tower Bridge is one of those iconic London shots. And if you’ve travelled across the world for London engagement photography, this is a must have.
And yeah, there’ll be a hundred other tourists getting their photos there at the same time. But as Jon Favreau says, if you go and see The Rolling Stones, you want to see Jagger sing Satisfaction. So it might not be original. But you gotta play the hits!
5. Shad Thames
The Victorian warehouse district of Shad Thames is seriously cool. Its cobbled streets and industrial aesthetic give you an authentically London backdrop for your engagement shots.
And since the historic riverside street is right next to Tower Bridge, you can get these two spots under your belt at the same time.
6. St Paul’s Cathedral
The iconic 400 year old St Paul’s Cathedral, with its stone pillars and majestic dome, is another iconic must-have London shot. And there’s a few different options for engagement photos here as well. So you can pick and choose which one is more your style (or get all three?!)
The most popular one is from the front. And if you angle it right, you can get a red phone box in the shot as well. Quintessential London! You can also shoot it from the Millennium Bridge, with St Paul’s Cathedral in the background. Or you can get some shots from up above. But you wanna do this discreetly before security chucks you out!
7. Horse Guards Parade
The Horse Guards Parade is just a short walk from Trafalgar Square on the way to Buckingham Palace. I just love the almost-Parisian vibes, with imposing white buildings, sweeping open spaces and gravel pathways. It’s a dream to photograph.
But it’s tricky to get it to yourselves and security is strict so you gotta be lightning quick! So check the time for the changing of the guard. Because when the guards are changing, there’ll be police and tourists galore!
8. Somerset House
Near The Strand overlooking the river, this neoclassical 18th Century building is one of London’s architectural gems. And it’s the perfect backdrop for your London engagement photography.
And it’s gorgeous all year round! In winter they have a gorgeous ice rink. Great for those lovely, romantic, Christmassy shots. And in summer, the courtyard opens up and you can get some beautiful shots next to the phenomenal fountains.
Still not convinced? Somerset House is where they hold London Fashion Week.
Shoreditch is the perfect area if you want something a bit different for your London engagement photography. Still totally London, just not so blatantly touristy.
Famed for its edgy industrial vibes, vibrant wall-art, hipster record shops and cafes, it’s just effortlessly cool. And it’s a great place to go for drinks afterwards as well.
10. Retro diner
Having a retro diner shoot is great for couples who want to shy away from the typical London shots.
But when you go there, remember they’re trying to run a business. So buy some food (milkshakes are always good!) and tell them you’re taking pictures! They’re usually OK with you just turning up. But there’s no harm in phoning ahead to be sure.
Greenwich is a little way outside of London, so you’ll have to make a special trip. But you’lI only get engaged once, right?! And I promise you it’ll be worth the effort.
Greenwich Park is beautiful, and offers stunning views across London. It’s massive as well. So it’s not packed with people like most places in the centre of London.
Greenwich University is also a great place for photos. Steeped in history, with gorgeous buildings, stone pillars, and stone walls, it’s romantic and incredibly photogenic. But bear in mind, security can be a bit funny. So be prepared to charm your way out of a situation!
And parking in Greenwich is insanely, unbelievably, inconceivably, extortionately expensive. I have no tips on this, just thought I’d give you fair warning!
12. Big Ben (Elizabeth Tower/Houses of Parliament)
HE’S BACK, BABY!!! Big Ben is back! After what seemed like an eternity of being hidden behind scaffolding and construction boards, we can finally see his lovely face! And needless to say, this is probably the most recognisable sight in London.
As you come out of Westminster tube station, there’s a classic red phone box. With the right angle, we’ll get the two of you standing next to a red phone box, with Big Ben in the background. And with a little patience (and expert timing!), you’ll get a red bus in the shot as well. And this is the quintessentially London shot. If you’ve come all the way to London for your engagement photography, you need this shot!
But of course, this makes it one of the busiest photo spots in london. So it’s definitely best to go in the morning to avoid huge crowds cluttering the frame.
13. Buckingham palace
Not really sure I have to sell you on Buckingham Palace, do I?!
One thing I will say is that the word is out! And one or two tourists may have heard of the place. So go in the morning! Like, get there ready for sunrise.
Regent’s Park is a great place for you to have a fun, intimate experience together. And get gorgeously romantic engagement photos without crowds of people around.
Beautifully manicured gardens, tree-lined pathways, open spaces and a lake offer endless opportunities to explore, just the two of you (and me!)
And you can go to the London Zoo afterwards as well, if you fancy it!
15. Notting Hill
With a famous thriving market, and insanely beautiful pastel houses, Notting Hill is an awesome little corner of London. It’s vibrant, eclectic, full of energy and seriously pretty. A great little place to go for a wander together, soak up the atmosphere, and imagine yourselves living in one of the dream houses! There was almost a film about it, just can’t remember what it was called…
But the residents are understandably losing their patience with tourists sitting on their property, so don’t sit on people’s steps! (Here’s some brand photos I took but it’s definite perfect for an engagement shoot!)
Why you’ll love London engagement photography
London has something for everyone. From the iconic sights of Big Ben and St Paul’s Cathedral. To the effortlessly cool streets of Shoreditch and Shad Thames. To the wonderfully romantic hidden corners of Hyde Park. However you imagine your engagement photos to be, London’s got it in spades.
But it’s not just about the photos.
It’s about going for an adventure into one of the most exciting cities in the world together. Experiencing centuries of history, and streets filled with ghosts and stories and an unimaginable past. It’s about capturing this amazing chapter in your love story, set against one of the most beautiful backdrops the world has to offer.
So if you’d like to book yourself in for an engagement shoot in London, I’d love to hear from you. We’ll have fun, we’ll go for an adventure together. And we’ll get you some absolutely epic engagement shots! So get in touch today and let’s chat!
All photography by Rebecca Carpenter Photography
Blog written by: The Carpenter Copy