Turning the usual into the unusual – Millennium Bridge, London

I’m still in London making the most of my time. Yesterday I visited one of my favourite spots in London, the Tate Modern on Bankside…not so much for the weird art but for the view at the cafe on the 6th floor. Worth checking out if you have time!

From another occasion

Cloudy London

On a typically-London overcast day, I wasn’t having much luck. However, I have recently purchased an 8-stop neutral-density filter, which I was curious to test. On the bright side, with less light I was able to push for even longer exposures.

I headed over to the Millennium Bridge for the done to death shot of the bridge with St. Paul’s Cathedral in the background. This is a popular angle and competition is tough.

My competition, so I was looking to capture something unique…

Crowded Millennium Bridge

I didn’t have my tripod with me since most airliners don’t allow it as carry-on so I had to settle with putting it on the floor at an angle, which is fine since it gives an interesting perspective.


The bridge was really crowded so I aimed for at least 5 seconds to obtain the desired motion blur. However, for some reason my super long exposures were coming out too dark with some weird halos.

I didn’t have much time since I had to rush off to another side of town and settled for for the following 1/5 seconds exposure (will keep playing around until I figure out ideal settings):

Unedited – ISO 50, f18, 1/50 seconds

Later on in Lightroom I messed around and came out with this dystopia London theme…


Check the search engines for similars

Quite happy with this shot since it had sufficient blur. As usual, I checked some search engines for similar types of shots (to assess my competition). Fortunately, I couldn’t see any post-processed this way even if there were hundreds from the exact same spot!

In fact, London is often featured as a sort of dystopia type of place (see 28 Days Later and Children of Men), so it may just be picked up as perhaps a book cover or poster for a post-apocalyptic thriller. It should be accepted as a commercial shot since people are not identifiable.

Children of Men (2006) – hey, there’s St. Paul’s Cathedral in the background as well!

As for this image getting picked up by buyers, I opted for the following metadata:

Caption: Long exposure of pedestrians at London, England, UK Millennium Bridge with St. Paul’s Cathedral in background – dystopian dark post-apocalyptic fine art concept

Keywords: apocalypse, apocalyptic, architecture, bridge, building, capital, cathedral, church, cityscape, dark, dome, doomsday, dystopian, end of the world, famous landmark, fine art, Footbridge, gloomy, horizontal, landmark, leading lines, london, london attraction, london landmark, long exposure, millenium, millennium, millennium bridge, modern, motion, motion blur, panorama, pedestrians, post-apocalyptic, religion, river, rooftop, saint, sky, st, storm clouds, symmetry, thames, travel, uk, united kingdom, urban, urban hell, zombie, nuclear fall out


The whole point of this post is that it’s alright (although best avoided) to shoot at places that have been done ad nauseam, but make a conscious effort to add your own personal touch. Perhaps a buyer somewhere will appreciate the uniqueness and purchase a(n) (extended) license. As always, make it stand out with excellent use of caption/keywords.

Am I making it more difficult for myself by giving away all these tips? Absolutely! However, I feel that I have much more to gain than lose by being this forthcoming about my strategies and views, on top of meeting fellow contributors and sharing strategies!

Hope you’re having an un-apocalyptic day and until next time!


UPDATE – MARCH 12th, 2018:


All I have to say is that “no shit it’s underexposed”, it’s deliberate, you fucking idiotic Shutterstock reviewer.

UPDATE – MARCH 19th, 2018:

Well that eventually got through and sold today! Only for a sub but a sale nevertheless…




  1. I simply love your update! I actually bought recently a ND8, and tried to upload on SS… most of my pictures were rejected as well, but for not being on focus. The picture was focused, but the crowd wasn’t, due to the motion blur… Well, I guess Shutterstock hasn’t been taught yet about ND filters!

    Liked by 1 person

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