It is no secret that Birmingham is one of the top destinations to visit in the United Kingdom. A leisure stroll through the eternally vibrant city centre with its ubiquitous cosmopolitan flair will instantly reveal its inspiring atmosphere. Mind you, it won’t take long for any genuine street photographer to perceive why this booming city is the ideal location with exceptional street photography potentialities, that will draw the attention of any keen observer.
There is indeed a fascinating variety of black and white urban street life in constant motion, stunning architecture, waterways and comforting belts of nature that will provide one-off opportunities for all those singular urban images you had better not miss out on.
Street Photography in Birmingham: The perfect places to get started
Victoria Square, Birmingham
The attractive Victoria Square holds a lot of awe-inspiring highlights that provide the perfect context for striking street photography scenes reflecting everyday urban life. The impressive pedestrian square is located in the heart of Birmingham’s historic centre and is the prime location of the majestic „Town Hall“ with its overwhelming ancient Roman structure.
Next to it stands the imposing „Council House“, which houses not only the local government but accommodates the Birmingham „Museum and Art Gallery“ as well, the entrance and facade of which face the adjacent Chamberlain Square.
The Jewellery Quarter
Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarteris a true oasis reflecting long forgotten times and without doubt the ultimate place for you to go to if you want to focus on urban photography with an authentic traditional touch. Get inspired by the many stunning architectural highlights of Georgian buildings and absolute brickwork masterpieces, the more than 200 jewelleries, the gold- and silversmiths and the „Museum of the Jewellery Quarter“ as well as the „Hall of Memory“ and the „Pen Museum“.
The extraordinary cast-iron clock tower, Edwardian „Chamberlain Clock“, is indeed considered to be one of the glossy hghlights in the Jewellery Quarter, that will provide you with an irresistible street photography backdrop.
East Side City Park
For some of your really outstanding street photography images at a very high aesthetic level you had better include the multi-purpose Millenium Pointcomplex in the heart of Birmingham’s East Side City Park in your street photo shooting tour of Birmingham.
Intellectually demanding renderings of the street & park scenes in one of the city’s flagship projects will most likely enhance the sensation and effect of your street photography productions, with unique backdrops as spectacular as the extraordinary “Birmingham Science Museum Thinktank“, the “Birmingham School of Acting“, the “Cineworld Birmingham and IMAX Theatre“ and the many annual special event venues, all these amidst the 14 300 m² of serene landscape, exquisite green spaces, playgrounds, stunning water features, jet fountains and paved walkways.
An unforgettable Water Bus trip along the canal network of Birmingham will definitely help you spot those hidden highlights, that are so precious for a smart photographer’s eye. Head into the direction of Old Main Line and set out on a unique trip of discovery, passing by striking locations such as the „Pitcher and Piano Bar“ at Brindleyplace (Waters Edge) and the „ICC“ (International Convention Centre) as well as the „Gas Street Basin“, „King Edwards Wharf“, the „Cube“ and „Arena Birmingham“ with Brindleyplace, which are indeed perfect background places for distinct snapshots of convincing urban images.
For the ultimate opportunity to produce street photography at its best you should head for Broad Street in Birmingham’s city centre Westside district. Apart from absolutely striking architectural highlights and tempting landmarks such as „The Birmingham Conventional Centre and Symphony Hall“, the formidable „Library of Birmingham“, the imposing „Baskerville House“ as well as the „Bulton, Murdoch and Watt gold Statue“, the „Hall of Memory“ in Centenary Square, the „Walk of Stars“ and the famous „266, Broad Street Martin & Chamberlain building“ there are also some hidden treasures off Broad Street, like the „Gas Street Basin“ and spectacular „Brindleyplace“ that are ideal backdrops for your immaculate street images.
Surrounded by such overwhelming grandness you will have great facility in determining the street scenes which should definitely be documented and captured at the crucial moment.
Bullring and Grand Central – the commercial heart of Birmingham
No doubt the iconic structure of the Selfridges Department Store is one of the most impressive buildings in Birmingham within this remarkable central shopping areal, so wholly singular in design, aesthetic and appeal, radiating absolutely future-oriented modernism and a timeless fascination, providing numerous exclusive street photographing opportunities. No doubt you can achieve an extraordinarily fabulous street photography composition with this bubbly and curvy building, especially when combining it with the church of St. Martin’s, a hidden gem seemingly tucked away behind the futuristic structures, which radiates powerfully timeless tranquility and creates a magic contrast to the hustle and bustle of Birmingham’s urban street life.
The Rotunda is a monumental cylindrical 81 m high building, which nowadays functions as an block of flats. The striking design of the residential building creates a splendid backdrop for some excellent street images, whereas a stroll into the direction of New Street Railway Station will reveal the formidable Grand Central shopping centre, an equally intriguing and photo-worthy setting.
Great Western Arcade
This fantastic Victorian shopping arcade in Birmingham’s city centre is located between Colmore Row and Temple Row, right opposite Snow Hill railway station and offers indeed some of the nicest street photography surroundings. Whether you choose the ornate entrance to the Great Western Arcade at Temple Row or the contemporary entryway at Colmore Row, the invitingly elegant, glass-roofed Arcade provides certainly one of the most stunning backdrops for exceptional street photography you can possibly find in Birmingham.
Street Photography Workshops and courses in Birmingham
Learn how to successfully captivate the essence of street photography by participating at one of the “Workshops on Street Photography“ organised by the PHOTOACADEMY BIRMINGHAM. In a 3,5 h workshop/ course you will acquire improved observational skills and gain in-depth knowledge on how to spot indefinitely unique images and scenes in the urban context of Birmingham and exploit the most favourable light conditions. You will learn that, in order to achieve the highest level of authenticity in street photography, three fundamental prerequisites are required: A precise handling of your camera, an unerring sense and impeccable timing. The workshop will put emphasis on acquiring technical skills and on aesthetic aspects as well.
All this while simultaneously discovering the history and modernism of Birmingham, its legendary figures and admirable surroundings. There will be forthcoming workshops in August, October and December, all of a 3,5 h duration. The next intermediate to advanced level workshop will be held on 24th August, 2019, from 10am to 1.30pm. Meeting point: Cathedral Square, B3 2QB Birmingham.
Matt Higgs Photography courses
For great street photography under the professional guidance of famous photographer Matt Higgs you should opt for the “Wex Walkabout: Architecture and Street Photography Workshop with Matt Higgs“. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for you to receive not only proper mentoring regarding individual approaches to street photography as an artistic medium but really useful advice on efficient camera handling techniques as well, and all this by one of the truly great contemporary and internationally renowned photographers. Come and get new viewing perspectives on glorious Victorian and present-day iconic architectural masterpieces the city of Birmingham can certainly boast of.
Refine your eye and get ready to catch those fascinating spontaneous moments of pulsing street life, because sometimes “a picture does indeed tell more than a thousand words“. The workshop is held on 24th July on two occasions, from 10am to 1pm and from 4pm to 5 pm. Location: Wex Photo Video Birmingham, 100 Hagley Road, Birmingham B16 8LT.
Walk with famous photographer Pete Ashton of the Photo School, Birmingham, through a city that is rife with inimitable street photo opportunities. His legendary walks will provide you with the most useful street photography tips for amazing perspectives, to acquire an eye for the magnetising scene that beckons you to go ahead and snap the singular captivating image in a fraction of a second. Be prepared to go on the annual “Digbeth Walk“, that will lead you through well hidden treasures of the city’s historical sites, through back streets and along the canals, that stretch over an incredible 35 mile network, lined with former industrial premises, that provide an ideal backdrop for stunning street photography.
The walk is held on the 1st September, 2019 at 12 pm and lasts exactly two hours. Meeting point: Green Man Statue, Custard Factory, Gibb Street, Birmingham B9 4AA.
Other Birmingham Street Photography Walks with Pete Ashton:
- “Spaghetti Junction Walk“, 29th September, 2019 at 12pm. Meeting point: Powerleague 5-a-side car park, Salford Stadium, Lichfield Road, Adton, West Midlands, B6 7TG Birmingham.
- “Bournville Photo Walk“ 2nd November, 2019, 12pm. Meeting point: Bournville Community Hub – Bournville Green, 27 Sycamore Road, Bournville, B30 2AA Birmingham.
- “Jewellery Quarter Walk“, Jewellery Quarter Townscape Heritage Project, held on 23rd November, 2019, 12pm. Meeting point: The Golden Square, Diamond Quarter Shop, Warstone Lane by the Big Peg, Birmingham B18 6JW.
Learn how to produce intriguing street photography and take part in the one-hour photographic tour around Birmingham with experienced street photographer Ross Jukes. During the workshop you will have the chance to photograph some of the most splendid must-see sights in Birminigham’s city centre. Initially, there will be an introduction to Street Photography, after which you should avail yourself of the many picture-taking opportunities.
Under the competent guidance of Ross Jukes you will employ the most essential aspects of light effects, pictorial composition and unique form so as to secure successful images. Flexible group and individual tutorials after prior arrangements.