Mark Cornick is a self taught, award winning photographer based in South West London. Mark is incredibly passionate about photography, and specializes in photographing the Urban Landscape, particularly buildings and architecture,located in and around his home city of London.

You can find more of his work by following him on 500px, visiting his website, or showing him some love on Instagram and Twitter. This Behind the Scenes post was originally published here and is being republished with express permission from Mark.

I thought I’d put together a small blog post giving some details on the techniques and thought process behind one of my favorite shots of a favorite location from my portfolio: St Paul’s Cathedral.

Summit by Mark  Cornick  on

The Location

This is one of the most popular locations from which to photograph the Iconic St Paul’s Cathedral—one of London’s most recognisable buildings.

By standing in the entrance to “One New Change” (a major office and retail space) it is possible to create this juxtaposition of baroque and modern architecture, with the glass shop fronts providing perfect framing whilst also making sure St Paul’s is the focal point of the image.


This composition will look great shot under most conditions, but I wanted to make the most of light and colour, and twilight provided the perfect chance to capture St Paul’s lit up. Additionally, the ambient lighting from the shop windows on either side helped create a nice vibrant image.

Tech Specs

Shoot this location as wide as possible; this was shot @10mm using a Sigma 10-20mm lens on a crop sensor Canon 550D. Although this creates some distortion to the glass architecture, it ensures maximum impact.

Shooting with a tripod will no doubt bring the dreaded security into the fray, so I advise shooting handheld.

Post Production

I do about 95% of my photo editing in Lightroom CC—for me, it gives the greatest flexibility, ease of use, and allows me to create the results that I want. I don’t do anything complicated in my edits, and usually spend about twenty minutes tweaking a particular image.

The basic rule that I live by: shooting in RAW means that I will have the flexibility to create the look I want for my image, as I can alter almost any aspect of the file.

This isn’t about manipulation, I just want to be able to create the mood and atmosphere in the image that I also want to portray to the viewer. This is the file with some minor adjustments to exposure, lens correction, and straightening:


Those red dots mean there are some blown highlights, which can easily be adjusted using the Highlights slider.

One of the most useful sliders in Lightroom is the white balance and temperature slider; this probably gets the greatest benefit from shooting RAW. For this image, I will move the tint to the right a small amount, to add some magenta into the image.

To create the tones of the image, I used a VSCO filter as a base, and then tweaked the filter settings to finalise the look.

The VSCO tool kit is great for enhancing certain aspects of the look including fade, contrast, and vignetting. The VSCO filter is always used as a base to work from, to find a colour palette you are happy with, and will always need some extra tweaking.


From here it is just a case of experimenting with contrast, vibrance, and temperature settings to find a look that you’re happy with.

Graduated filters have been used to bring back some detail in the sky, and also at the bottom of the image to reduce exposure and “close” the image, leading the eye to the focal point: St Paul’s Cathedral.

Alternative Compositions

When I’m shooting in London, I will always end up taking some images of St Paul’s, and there are many locations and vantage points from which to capture great images of the cathedral. Why not take the lift up to the rooftop bar of One New Change for amazing views across the city and a closer look at St Pauls:

A Roof With A View by Mark  Cornick  on

Use the impressive Millennium Bridge as another compositional aid to frame St Pauls. With the image below, I used a Lee Little Stopper to create an exposure time of around 2 seconds to blur the people walking across the bridge.

Dead or Alive by Mark  Cornick  on

Finally, book a free trip to the Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch Street for truly spectacular panoramic views of London.

|| The Rising Stars || by Mark  Cornick  on