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Meet the Instagramer with the Union Jack umbrella

Luke Abrahams

Believe it or not, Neil Andrews only took up photography six years ago when the Elephant Parade (remember all those cute sculptures?) came to London. The social media adviser turned pro photographer/traveller loves to shoot famous London landmarks to give us urbanites a ‘sense of scale and movement’, and often asks his friends to pose with his signature Union Jack umbrella amongst city icons like St Paul's or on the tube. Here are his five favourite snaps of London.  

Four Icons in One

'I love Open House Weekend in London every September. It gives you a chance to get into buildings that are otherwise closed to the public. For this shot we got onto the roof garden of a city office building. It's not very often you get St Paul's, the London Eye, Big Ben and the Oxo Tower in a single shot!'

St Paul's Cathedral and Union Jack Umbrella

'I shot this early one morning with my friend Shaun who was visiting from Malta. He is a real foodie and suggested we go to Smithfield meat market to see it in full swing. Afterwards as it was a nice day, and of course still early, we decided to walk and ended up near Tate Modern. I had planned this shot in my head so many times, but the time was never right. On this day everything came together.'

Baker Street Underground Station 

'One of my passions is taking shots in the London Underground. There is always so much going on. I don’t think a day passes without me discovering a new angle that I haven’t shot before. And of course everything changes because of the people. This is beautiful Baker Street, which is one of the oldest stations on the network. I really love using my 10-18mm wide angle lens, and here this allowed me to get five of the arches in one shot. I feel the people add a further dimension to this photo.'

Neon Lights

'One of the nicest things that has happened since becoming an Instagramer is that I’ve met so many nice people from all backgrounds and of different ages. It is great shooting with different people as everybody sees different things and so you learn so much. Jonny and I went for a walk on a wet Saturday in January, and ended up in Piccadilly Circus. Normally I like dappled shade or golden light for my shots. However, in this case I think the gloomy, grey and wet weather works best in contrast to the neon billboards. Reflections are always nice too.'

Tower Bridge at Dawn

'I am lucky that I am now being asked to shoot for various brands. I love the challenge of fulfilling a brief. I always take plenty of shots when I work so there are usually some left over for my own Instagram feed. I love dawn and sunrise shoots. The light is perfect and there are fewer people around than at sunset. I was very fortunate on this winter’s morning that the colours were gorgeous and the Thames looked like a mill pond. Tower Bridge is truly majestic.'

Follow Neil and his umbrella for a comprehensive tour of London at @mumhad1ofthose.

And for more great pics, check out Instagramer James Burns's epic cityscapes.

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