Places to shoot in London #2: Cafes (The Grind)

Sophie, shot at Soho Grind

Sophie, shot at Soho Grind

Eyes may be the windows to the soul, but windows are brilliant to shoot through. I have no clue where I was going with that sentence, but I've decided to keep it in.

This addition to the Places to Shoot in London series is focussing on Cafes, specifically the Grind cafes scattered around London. Why am I focussing on Grind cafes specifically? I wish this post was sponsored. In seriousness, their cafes are located in really great shooting locations - so I often set them as my meeting point and my first location of the day. For example, the Soho Grind is just minutes away from a really dope Thai restaurant, and a little further from a really photogenic Five Guys.

The Grind's interior have beautiful rustic looking wood, and are usually illuminated by a tongue in cheek neon sign (the Holborn Grind's neon sign is located at the back, and you can get a beautiful shot of someone sitting below it!).

What I love the most about these cafes is not just the amazing coffee aromas, instead the large open windows. They're an excellent layer to shoot through, and provide beautiful reflections, which you can manipulate. 

Kacey, shot at Holborn Grind

Kacey, shot at Holborn Grind

Sophie, shot at Holborn Grind

Sophie, shot at Holborn Grind

Jenny, shot at Shoreditch Grind

Jenny, shot at Shoreditch Grind

Emma, shot at Shoreditch Grind

Emma, shot at Shoreditch Grind

Places to Shoot in London #1: Las Vegas Arcade (Soho)

Ruby-8.jpg

Places to Shoot in London #1: Las Vegas Arcade (Soho)

 

I often get comments on my Instagram asking where a photo was taken. I'm starting this series is in response to those comments.

When it comes to photographs, everyone has a preference - a certain style or vibe that makes you fall in love with it. The vibe that I'm obsessed with is an American - summer - teen - IDGAF vibe. A lot of these photos I love are taken in diners or arcades, which is a classic setting for a teen flick. These locations also have really great neon lights, so if you were looking to shoot with a neon background - diners and arcades are where to go.

There's a couple arcades in London that I shoot at, but one that I had the most success with was Las Vegas Arcade in Soho. I started shooting there in 2016, but it's gradually gotten busier and busier each time I visit (maybe due to the Supreme store around the corner). This arcade has beautiful cool neon lights. Here's a quick brief rundown of the machines they have for photography purposes; a claw machine, two dance machines, lots of driving machine, pool tables, air hockey, etc. For fun purposes; they have an awesome Japanese button mashing game, Street Fighter, Tekken, Guitar Hero, Time Crisis, etc.

Ruby

Ruby

Jodie

Jodie

Summer

Summer

Shooting Tips

When shooting with neon lights, be cautious to take several shots at a time due to the lights flickering. One photo might be really blue, and another dull without the neon light. In here I usually shoot at my widest aperture or if I'm near a machine stop down to f/2.8. Shoot at over 1/100 due to the lights, and adjust your ISO accordingly. You want to blur the background and get really nice bokeh, and to allow as much light as possible because it's quite dark in there.

Key places I shoot are the claw machine, the driving games, and the air hockey table. These place are usually the most lit areas (pun intended). I have found shooting through the glass of the Claw Machine creates really soft reflections that's quite flattering. It's especially handy if it's busy in there, by blurring the background into a beautiful mash of colours. 

 

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below and I'll get back to you as soon as possible.