Piranha Photography - London Corporate Photographer

Throwback – Pride in London Event Photography

Photography of Pride in London parade

Pride in London Event Photography

I was lucky enough to be one of the event photographers at Pride in London in 2018.  I realised the other day that due to a heavy workload I have not had time to share this colourful set of photographs on Piranha’s blog.

As it is that time of year again, when in June the Pride in London march should be taking place I have had a look back and revisited the photographs.  The march would have been on the 27th June this year, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic the parade will only be celebrated online. The next London Pride parade has been postponed to summer 2021.

Pride in London parade photography

Leica Photojournalism Course

In 2018 I was attending a Leica Photojournalism Course in London and as a part of the course we were given a back stage pass for privileged access to all aspects of the Pride parade and any pubs and clubs that were holding any supporting events. I had a full day to take photographs and the best were then provided to Pride in London for PR and publication.

London Event Photography and Coverage of the Parade

The photographers gathered at the start of the parade and headed out to capture images of everyone busy with the setup and preparation of the floats.  Once the floats had set off we then walked with them down Portland Place, photographing the people, and the crowds bustling around.

People waiting for the parade to begin.

Calm before the mayhem. Waiting for the Pride in London Parade to begin.

Off the Beaten Track

It was at this time I thought there was going to be so such more to the day than the parade itself so went off the beaten track to seek out individual groups and people celebrating in their own way.

A group of people attending the Pride in London event, standing in front of a pub.

This group was enjoying the sunshine in front of a pub – not one but two Sgt Peppers, you can’t have too many really.

Soho Square Churches

My first stop was Soho Square a famous bohemian location in London’s ‘media land’ – there was a lot of preparation but nothing underway quite yet as it was too early in the day.  It occurred to me when I saw the two churches in this square that there might be a photographic story to be told around religion and the gay community. St Patrick’s Church was open but empty and The French Protestant Church of London was closed.

Pride in London photograph taken in Soho church

The vicar had two guardian angels that day who were more than happy to pose.

I spotted a sign for ‘Free Breakfast’ and an arrow pointing into St Anne’s Church in Dean Street. This could be empty too, but at least I’d get croissants and coffee! Unlike the two previous places of worship this Church was heaving with people, chatting and enjoying a pre-march service. I checked with the vicar and all was fine for me to mingle, take photographs and set whatever I needed up. It was at this venue I probably got some of my best images from the whole day.  It pays to seek out photo opportunities off the beaten track as it can lead to hugely rewarding unexpected pictures. The atmosphere was friendly and very welcoming for all to join in.

Cafes and Bars of Old Compton Street

Street photograph of Pride in London

An incredible character, who must have suffered in the heat of the day in that skin suit. A very strong look however all kudos to him.

I explored the cafe’s and bustling bars along Old Compton Street which were full of colourful people getting ready to join the march, be a part of the march or just form a march of their own.  The people taking part were spectacular in their costumes and in their characters.

I continued to work my way through the streets around Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square.  Eventually I caught up with people I knew on Whitehall.

The day was challenging, enjoyable but exhausting and many miles were covered on foot in pursuit of the strongest photographs.

Event Photography London - People taking part in Pride in London

This couple spotted in Leicester Square had come from the US to take part in the day.

The Final Photographs

Afterwards I downloaded and processed the 1,000 or so images taken of the whole event and presented my 20 favourites as a slideshow. These images were sent to Pride in London and the global online magazine LFi  (Leica Fotographie International)  published several.  The image below appeared on the BBC website.

Photograph of Pride in London on BBC Website

One of my favourite shots of the day, the character in the foreground was incredible especially with those white contact lenses. I framed her over to one side to include the background.

Onwards to 2021

The colour and excitement of the day drew attention to LGBT+ community issues and the wide publication of the images was used to promote the cause. I look forward to photographing many more Pride in London parades in the future.

Dog at Pride in London parade

Even pets got involved in Pride and this dog wore his rainbow wings with aplomb.

Showreel of Favourite Event Photographs taken on the Day

Below I have included a short showreel of my favourite photographs taken on the day. This is very much a selection of the many pictures –

If you would like to see more of Piranha’s event photography please do visit the main web page here – Piranha Event Photographer London.

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This was one of the most interesting events I have photographed. Pride is always an amazing opportunity for people to express their characters and enjoy the day. From a technical point of view as a photographer, the photography is challenging in that you have to work fast and there are no second chances for capturing the best images. I needed to quickly spot an opportunity and then be in the right place at the right time. Anticipating the shot is crucial and makes for the strongest final image. - Douglas, Photographer