For those of who read my Art of Travel Photography series, you know that one of the most important tips for taking good travel photos is to understand what you will be photographing before you travel. This is important for a number of very good reasons. First and most importantly, if you aren’t familiar with what is at your destination, you might not even make time to see some of the amazing things you could have seen, let alone photographed them.
Even if you do have a good itinerary planned that covers all of the top things that you would like to see at your destination, understanding exactly how you are going to photograph these subjects or locations before you travel can save you valuable time. I like to know where the best spots that give you the best angles are before I arrive. That way I am not wasting valuable travel time trying to figure out where to take the best shots.
Finally, understanding what you want to photograph and how you want to photograph those subjects or landscapes before you travel will help you prepare what type of gear you will need to have with you. For instance, what time of day is best to photograph at these locations? Where are the best spots at these locations to capture sunrises or sunsets? What type of lens will be best for capturing the subjects or landscapes at these locations? These are just some of the questions that the proper advanced research can answer.
With about a month to go until our trip to Australia and New Zealand and the itinerary for our trip all set, I figured now was as good a time as any to start doing the photo prep for the trip. In this series, I am going to walk you thru my photography prep for each of our destinations in Australia and New Zealand. If you haven’t had a chance to review my planning process for our Australia and New Zealand trip, I have linked those articles for you to review below.
In the third installment of my photography planning for the trip, I am going to cover our third destination, which is Melbourne, Australia. I am going to outline the research I did on what the top photography locations in Melbourne are, where it is best to photograph in those locations, which time of day it would be best to photograph the locations, and what type of photography equipment I will need to get my desired shots.
- Part 1 – Photography Planning for Sydney, Australia
- Part 2 – Photography Planning for Cairns, Australia
- Part 3 – Photography Planning for Melbourne, Australia
- Part 4 – Photography Planning for the Great Ocean Road
- Part 5 – Photography Planning for Lake Tekapo, New Zealand
- Part 6 – Photography Planning for Mount Cook, New Zealand
- Part 7 – Photography Planning for Queenstown, New Zealand
- Part 8 – Photography Planning for Te Anau, New Zealand
- Part 9 – Photography Planning for Wanaka, New Zealand
- Part 10 – Photography Planning for Fox Glacier, New Zealand
Resources I Used
When doing photography planning for any trip, the first step I take is to do research on the location to see what there is to photograph, where the best places to photograph those subjects or landscapes are, and when and how to photograph them. When it came time to do my research on Melbourne, here are some of the best resources that I used to do my research.
- Matt Lauder Photography – Best Melbourne Landscape Sunrise and Sunset Photography Spots
- AWOL – The 10 Most Instagrammable Spots In Melbourne
- Mel 365 Photography – Top 30 sites for photography in Melbourne
- Instagram Photos with the #Melbourne Hashtag
- A Search of “Melbourne Australia” on Pinterest
With these resources in hand, I sat down to start looking for places and things that I would like to photograph in the Melbourne area. By doing this research now, it will ensure that I don’t miss photographing anything spectacular when I arrive in Melbourne and it will also help save me time trying to determine when and how to photograph the subjects and locations that I have identified. If you would like to learn more about the process I use when I do my photography research, I would suggest that you check out my Art of Travel Photography – Planning Your Shots guide.
Photo Spots I’ve Identified
After doing my research, I identified ten locations in Melbourne that I really want to take photographs at. I am going to cover each of these locations in greater detail, but as a summary, I have included a map and a list of all ten locations for you to review below.
|Brighton Beach Boxes|
|Southgate from Princes Bridge|
|The Webb Bridge|
|Heavenly Queen Temple Viewpoint|
|Birrarung Pedestrian Bridge|
|The Nylex View|
|Wurundjeri Spur Lookout|
|Rutledge Lane Graffiti|
Brighton Beach Boxes
The first photography locations that I am highlighting in the city of Melbourne is one of the more unique locations that I will be highlighting in my photography planning sessions for our Australia and New Zealand trip. Like most beaches in Australia, Brighton Beach is a beautiful beach, but what really sets this beach apart and what really has me excited to photograph it is the colorful beach boxes that are located along the beach. These colorful structures should make subjects for some amazing beach photographs. I would recommend bringing a wide-angle lens to capture beach landscape shots, but also make sure you have a lens with enough reach to get some good closeups of these beautiful structures.
Fortunately for me, the sun will be setting almost directly off the coast of Brighton Beach when I will be visiting Melbourne towards the end of September, so this will mean I should be able to get some fantastic sunset shots with the beach and the beach boxes in it. If you are planning on getting some shots during the Golden Hours at Brighton Beach, I would recommend carrying a sturdy tripod with you.
Southbank from Princes Bridge
The second photo spot in Melbourne that I would like to highlight is a great spot along the Yarra River in downtown Melbourne that offers some excellent views of the downtown area. From the north side of the Princess Bridge, you have some beautiful views of the Southbank neighborhood of Melbourne. As you can see in the Google Street View photo I posted above, it is a very scenic view of a beautiful part of downtown Melbourne. I would definitely recommend bringing a wide-angle lens with you if you want to shoot from this location as you are going to want to have a wide field of view to capture the downtown area.
Unfortunately, when I will be visiting near the end of September, the sun will not set up to take the ideal sunrise or sunset shots while facing the Southbank neighborhood from the Princess Bridge. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t get some great sunrise and sunset shots from this spot. If you are going to visit Melbourne in late November or early December, the sun will line up really well to get some great sunset shots of Southbank from the Princess bridge. Make sure you have a sturdy tripod if you want to get these shots.
The Webb Bridge
The Webb Bridge is one of the most interesting designs for a bridge that I have come across and it is something that I would really like to photograph. I did an extensive amount of research using Google Street View to find the best location to photograph this interesting bridge and I have included a map with my recommended photo location for you to review below. Because you will be in so tight with the bridge, you will want to make sure you have a wide-angle lens with you when photographing from here.
Lucky for me, when I will be visiting Melbourne in late September the sun will line up to set in the perfect position for me to get some great sunset shots of the Webb Bridge. As you can see in the maps above and below, the sun will be setting directly over the bridge from the vantage point I have pinpointed to take my photographs. As always, if you are going to be taking sunrise or sunset shots I would strongly recommend having a sturdy tripod with you.
Heavenly Queen Temple Viewpoint
The Heavenly Queen Temple is another landmark in Melbourne that I am very interested in photographing, so I spent a considerable amount of time determining which location would be best to shoot this amazing place. If you want to know where I would recommend shooting your shots of the temple, please see my photo map below. Having a wide-angle lens will be good for the overall landscape shots, but I would also recommend bringing a lens with enough reach to get some closeups of the temple as well.
I should be able to get good sunrise and sunset shots of the temple when I visit in late September because of where the sun will be rising and setting and where I identified as the best places to take shots. If you would like to get some good sunrise or sunset shots of the temple, I would advise bringing a sturdy tripod with you.
Birrarung Pedestrian Bridge
Another very interesting bridge in Melbourne that looks like it would be great to photograph is the Birrarung Pedestrian Bridge. Located in the Birrarung Marr, this bridge has some very interesting architecture. I have included map below that details how to photograph this interesting bridge. I would recommend having a wide-angle lens with you when you shoot this shot as you are typically in tight from the location I highlight below.
Unfortunately, when I will be visiting Melbourne in late September the sun doesn’t rise or set in an ideal location to get some sunrise or sunset shots with the bridge. However, if you will be visiting in late November or early December, you should be able to get some great sunrise shots with the bridge. If you do decide to get some sunrise shots of the bridge, make sure you have a sturdy tripod with you.
The Nylex View
The Nylex view is named after the large Nylex Plastic sign that is a distinctive feature of the view up the Yarra River from this particular viewpoint. The sign sits on top of large silos that are often decorated by art. Not only is the view of Melbourne from this spot pretty, but the Nylex sign is an interesting feature to include in your photographs. I would recommend bringing both a wide-angle lens and a lens with enough reach to get some closeup shots of the silo.
Unfortunately, when I will be visiting Melbourne in late September the sun will not be rising or setting in a spot that will allow me to get good sunrise or sunset shots from the Nylex viewpoint. If you were to visit Melbourne in July, the sun should be set directly behind the Nylex sign from the viewpoint. This should allow you to get some great sunset shots if you have a sturdy tripod with you.
Wurundjeri Spur Lookout
If you are interested in getting some great elevated shots of the city of Melbourne, then this is the viewpoint that you are looking for. Melbourne is a beautiful city and this viewpoint allows you to get most of it in one shot. If you decide to visit this viewpoint, make sure you bring a wide-angle lens with you so that you can get some great landscape shots of the city skyline.
Unfortunately, when I will be visiting in late September the sun will not be rising or setting in a position that will allow me to get great sunrise or sunset shots from this viewpoint. However, if you will be visiting in late November or early December, you should be able to get some great sunset shots from this spot. If you do decide to try and get some sunset shots from the Wurundjeri Spur Lookout, make sure you bring a sturdy tripod with you.
If you are into doing street photography when you travel, then you are going to love this spot. There is a lane in Centre Place that is especially photogenic. This lane has a lot of interesting signs and is typically full of some really neat graffiti to photograph. To give you an idea of how to get there and where to photograph, I have included a photo map for you to review below. If you do visit, I would recommend bringing a wide-angle lens with you because you will be in fairly close quarters when shooting.
Because you will be shooting in a tight lane at this location, there really isn’t much opportunity to get good sunrise or sunset shots at this spot. Even if it weren’t as tight, the sun won’t be rising or setting in a location that would allow me to get good Golden Hour shots at this spot anyways. If you are looking to get some good sunrise or sunset shots in Melbourne, I would prioritize the other spots I outlined in this article for that.
Rutledge Lane Graffiti
If you love shooting street art and were intrigued by the Centre Place photo spot that I highlighted above, then you are going to definitely want to check out this Rutledge Lane spot as well. Rutledge Lane may even have a more impressive collection of graffiti than Centre Place. In fact, the whole lane is typically covered in street art. If you do decide to visit to take shots of the graffiti, make sure you have a wide-angle lens with you as you will be in close quarters shooting.
As with the Centre Place location, it is very difficult to get sunrise and sunset shots at this location because you are in such close quarters in the city. Instead of trying to get Golden Hours shots at this spot, I would visit Rutledge Lane during the daytime and save the sunrise and sunset shots for some of the other locations I highlight in this guide.
The final photography spot in Melbourne that I am highlighting in this guide may be my favorite of all of the spots I covered. Piers are great places to photograph as they are typically surrounded by a beautiful landscape and usually have a lot of very interesting subjects to photograph around them. The St. Kilda Pier in Melbourne is no different. It is located on a beautiful stretch of coastline with the city of Melbourne as a back-drop and there are typically plenty of beautiful boats to include in your shots. If you are going to photograph at St. Kilda Pier, make sure you bring a wide-angle lens to capture the beautiful coast and cityscape.
When I am going to be visiting Melbourne in late September, the sun will be rising and setting in locations that will make it ideal for me to get some great sunrise and sunset shots at St. Kilda Pier. I should be able to get some shots of the sun rising over the city of Melbourne and shots of the sun setting off the coast. If you are going to try and get some good sunrise or sunset shots from St. Kilda Pier, make sure you bring a sturdy tripod with you.
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That Webb Bridge looks cool, and I’m certain you can do a better job of capturing it than Google Street View did. (Did I just reveal that I don’t know what I’m talking about, or do you agree that it’s not a great pic? Be honest. I won’t take offense. 🙂 )
I am 100% in agreement that it isn’t a great picture! I actually look at Pinterest and Instagram to get photo location ideas, then just use street view to try and determine where best to go to get the shots (angle, sunrise/sunset position, etc…). It’s a lot of work, but saves me time when traveling 😀👍
Love your Melbourne iconic spots framed in your beautiful websites
Thank you so much for the kind words!!