Instagram introduction to Birmingham

Every so often we get an email or a DM from someone who is about to visit Birmingham, or is new to the area, and they want to know the best places for photographing the city.

For that reason and the fact that this blog is not just for those of us lucky enough to know Birmingham already, we’ve put together a collection of some of our favourite places in this Instagram Introduction to Birmingham, covering some of the most photogenic parts of Birmingham.

Part 1 covers the city centre, check back soon for future guides where we’ll cover the wider city centre, street art in Digbeth, the best sunset and sunrise spots, the best places to get long exposure shots, Birmingham’s greatest green spaces, canals and where to go for skyline views.

The Library of Birmingham, Centenary Square, B1 2ND: This building is one of Birmingham’s modern icons so well worth photographing. You can also get some great skyline shots by going inside and going up to the Discovery Terrace on Level 3, the Secret Garden on Level 7 or the Skyline Viewpoint on Level 9.

The Bullring, right in the city centre: This can be captured from so many different angles and the disc-covered Selfridges Building is probably’s Birmingham’s most photographed building (it’s even featured as a Windows desktop image). Get close up, find the bull and the Rotunda, or why not try something a little different by heading to the Selfridges car park like in this shot? Access the car park via Selfridges and go over the bridge. By standing in the middle of Moor Street (on the pedestrian island of course!) then you can also get some great long exposure shots like this.

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Victoria Square, approx postcode B1 1BD. You can get some great shots in this area of the Council House building, Town Hall, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, an Anthony Gormely installation, and a statue of Queen Victoria.

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Colmore Row, approximate postcode B3 2QB. You’ll find a nice mix of old buildings, like the Cathedral, the Grand Hotel and the Great Western Arcade. Birmingham Cathedral is a lovely building to photograph and you can also go inside which is really beautiful. The Cathedral even has its own Instagram account, so be sure to tag them (@birmingham_cathedral). The Great Western Arcade runs between Temple Row and Colmore Row. Wait until it’s as empty as possible to get a great vanishing-point photo! You can see lots of photos of this area from the instameet we held there in February – take a look at #igb_meet_cbd.

Grand Central, above New Street Station: You can capture this structure from so many angles, but these are three of our favourites: On the ground floor next to the escalators near Marks and Spencer; On level 1 from Joe the Juice looking at the Grand Central sign (try a vertical panorama); Outside from the entrance by the living wall (near the Rotunda). Their official Instagram account is @atgrandcentral.

Grand Central’s carpark gives you a great view of the city – including the bug-eye shaped domed roof. To get to it, head to the upper level in between Cath Kidston and Kiehls. There you’ll see a space that leads to the lifts and stairs that go to the car park. Simply take this lift to the top level!

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That concludes our whistle-stop introductory guide to Birmingham – check back soon for future guides!

All images by @BethAstington, @FraserMcGee and @Annabell_Lamba