Shooting London with an iPhone

I found myself in London, at night, without a camera. I had been to a wedding reception and, as we walked back to the tube, I saw several photo opportunities – as is always the way. 

Earlier in the day, I had noticed the same thing as we walked the streets of Islington in the golden light of a sunset. Who would’ve thought that HMP Pentonville could look so beautiful? During this early evening walking, I caught myself framing shots that I would’ve taken if I were out with my camera. A good practice for sure, but as my London trips are few and far between, I couldn’t help but feel a pang of regret. 

Cut to almost midnight and our walk back to the tube station. Again, I was spotting shots, and, feeling a little looser after the reception, I decided to pull out my iPhone and started shooting away.

I know there are plenty of photographers out there who shoot using smartphones. Two names that jump to mind are Sean Tucker and Liam Wong – both use smartphones for images and even include photographs captured on them in published books. But for me, taking pictures on a smartphone doesn’t feel right, and I’m not a fan of how little control I have over the settings. 

Regardless, that night in London reinforced in me that a camera, even one you don’t like, is better than no camera at all. 

I quickly found a benefit to using the iPhone, though. You really can get much closer to a subject or scene without anyone noticing. So, naturally, that makes it great for candid shots, especially on public transport. 

Looking back at the images now, I am disappointed with the sharpness of what could have been some great shots. The shutter speed drags, especially in low light. Logically, this makes perfect sense, but if I had my camera, I would’ve been able to compensate for a higher shutter of, say, 1/125 with a wide aperture and higher ISO. 

Here are a few of my favourites from my brief shoot of London on my iPhone. They’ve been edited in Photoshop. 

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Thanks for looking. 

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All work by William Street.

Contact: Instagram // Twitter // Email

Published by William Lobley

Writer and street photographer

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