How to photograph the Natural History Museum in London

Peter Iliev
Dec 10, 2016 · 2 min read

What a magnificent building! Especially for a museum… Here’s why it’s very difficult to photograph:

  • It’s crowded. It’s also free entrance, which makes it extra crowded.
  • It’s (obviously) indoors, so you need a tripod or you can’t shoot at ISO 100.
  • Tripods are not allowed. You can take your tripod inside, but you’re not allowed to use it.

So how did I do it? How did I shoot 3 bracketed exposures in a dark crowded space without a tripod? How did I end up with a photo with no one in it?

If tripods were allowed you could shoot multiple shots and then use the tourist free spots in each image to compile one big empty picture. Well, that’s not the case…

Get there early! That’s it.

The museum opens at 10 o’clock. Go around 9:30 to be one of the first people in the waiting line. When the yard door opens run to get to the scanners before everyone else.

When you get in, if you’re fast enough you’ll have a few minutes before other people start going everywhere. In those 4 or 5 minutes you must climb upstairs to the big sequoia slice, get your camera out and shoot.

I advise you use wide angle lens for the best capture of the space. Also, keep in mind that this shot only works if it’s super symmetrical.

There’s a few unwanted objects in the scene that you might need to clean up. Here’s the before and after.

Good luck and don’t forget to show me your pics if what you read was helpful. If you’re interested to check more of my photos go to http://500px.com/peteriliev.

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