Quick reference guide to photography in Melbourne (any photography type is possible!)


I was thinking for a while to write a quick reference guide to photography in Melbourne. There are plenty of opportunity for any photography style. Being a city with a New York style centre (called CBD, Central Business District) you may favour some street photography.

Otherwise you can go through parks or along the beach side for some landscape and travel photography. Finish off with architectural photography in Docklands.

[updated 11/07/2016]

You may have seen already the post on the top 5 Melbourne locations (now expanded to many more that 5) and you can download the FREE loocation photography for the CBD (with the most iconic and unusual, or unknown, site to visit)

By the way, did you know that photography in Australia started in 1840, that was almost 180 years ago. Quite surprising, but not as much as knowing that the RMIT University in Melbourne introduced the first photography course in 1887. I love to read Wikipedia for all these insights 😀

This reference guide, beside showing all the photography styles possible in Melbourne, lists also few of the places where you can buy a camera or you can repair it (always essential when you are in a new environment and you experience a problem)

I visit few of these sites in the workshops I usually run every first Saturday of the month (sometime twice a month). I love this city and I can’t stop myself exploring it alone and with over fellow photographers. If you are interested to the workshops I run for Travel Photography Tours you may have a look here and remember to use the promotional code “MEL365” for a $10 discount on any booking.

It’s time to start to check each category. Enjoy and let me know what you think

Street Photography

I do not usually venture too much in the city for some street photography and this is one thing I want to do more in future. The most important thing is to get out there and catch the moment as I did for this photo made at Flinders Street Station. I like this area around 8am and 5pm when the commuters come and go. That leaves any photographer many opportunities

1/60 sec at f/4, ISO 100, focal length 28mm (Nikon D600 + Nikkor 24-120 1:4G)

If you are starting Street Photography , or would like to start, I suggest to check Eric Kim Street Photography free courses. His work is just amazing as well as all his videos and, personally, I am really looking forward to meet him as soon as we cross our roads (he will be in Melbourne in October, btw)

Unusual Landscape

Sometime it pays off to look up in the sky. This is for sure an unusual architectural decision. The impact is really amazing

This photo was made using 3 exposures and the HDR technique. The central exposure was done with shutter speed 1/160 sec at F/4, ISO 200, focal length 40mm (Nikon D600 + Nikkor 24-120 1:4G). The other two photos were under/over exposed of 2 steps.

If you are keen in learning more about HDR and how it works I can only suggest the Tray Ratcliff website Stuck in Custom. It’s a good starting point and you can move from there

Black & White

This was an hard decision to take. I have many black and white photos, especially in the city. I thought however that a long overexposed photo, 100% de-saturated, of a small pier in St.Kilda was a shot to be included in this list. Melbourne is an easy going city and this picture gives absolutely a sense of it.Having the 3 people seating at the end of the pier watching the horizon helped to give a sense of dreaming as well

13 sec at f/13, ISO 100, focal length 60mm, exposure compensation +2 steps (Nikon D600 + Nikkor 24-120 1:4G)

Vintage Photography

I was walking along the river. It was dusk time and there were few rowers out in the Yarra. I decided to decrease the saturation in post-production and give a vintage effect, as sometime I had with expired films. I liked the end result. The Yarra river at sunset time is a great place, with the rowing clubs busy with the business people looking for some exercise after a day in the office.

I suggest the river as well as Albert Park for some vintage phtography

1/30 sec at f/18, ISO 100, focal length 35mm (Nikon D600 + Nikkor 24-120 1:4G)

Iconic sites

This is really a difficult subject. This is where I have my most challenging time. You always read in any photographic magazines and websites that you need to find a different corner to have a shot that stands out from the crowd. Easy to say it, hard to make it. When I take a photo of an iconic site I usually google the place and see what is around. The typical result is…..everything you can think of.

Based on my experience there are three ways to have a better composition. First, check around for a high point of view, this could be a building closeby or even better a multi-storey car park. Second, if you are in a city, check for the sunset light reflected by any skyscraper around. Third, add an iconic person together with the site. In the case below I waited for the sunset light coming from a closeby glass building which worked as a gigantic light reflector. Go to Flinders Street Station around 2 hours before sunset for a similar composition

1/80 sec at f/9, ISO 100, focal length 24mm (Nikon D600 + Nikkor 24-120 1:4G)

Action Photography

The skate parks are always great places to catch awesome images. The big one in St.Kilda is just the perfect site to visit. Located in front of the beach is a fantastic spot to be at sunset

1/160 sec at f/16, ISO 100, focal length 24mm (Nikon D600 + Nikkor 24-120 1:4G)

Melbourne-Daily-Photo-Blog-DMC-GX8_ Lumix_ Review-P1010035

1/300 sec at f/3.5, ISO 400, focal length 14mm (Panasonic Lumix GX8 + Lumix G Vario 14-42mm)

Green and the city

Any city has green areas, Melbourne has lots of them. Mixing buildings and green areas is never easy. This is a great spot as you can split the photo in two layers, the foreground with the Yarra river and the park, and the background, with the city buildings, both connected through the Birrarung bridge

2 sec at f/5, ISO 100, focal length 24mm (Nikon D600 + Nikkor 24-120 1:4G)

Hidden city sites

This is a real hidden corner of the city you should not miss and guess what, it’s right in the center of the CBD (Central Business District), just an easy walk from Federation Square

30 sec at f/11, ISO 100, focal length 24mm (Nikon D600 + Nikkor 24-120 1:4G)

Photography in Melbourne can also turn in great surprises, as this chamber I found under South Yarra with the entry along the Yarra River

Melbourne-Daily-Photo-Blog-chamber- drain- Graffiti- High- Melbourne- River- school- sewage- South Yarra- stormwater- tunnel- water-SouthYarra_20131217_036

For this photo I used a technique called Light painting. The light in the tunnel was poor, to say the least. I decided to have a shutter speed of over 5 minutes and with a torch illuminate the graffiti areas. In this way I had a correct exposure just where I wanted

Interior Photography

Is it a rainy and foggy day? Are you walking around the city in the middle of the day with that harsh sun light? Many possibilities of interior photography, no worries. Patterns inside building are a great subject. I loved the floor of the St.Paul’s Cathedral and even better the two priests in front of the altar.

Beside the churches and cathedrals, great subject in the rainy days, you may have a look also to the galleries between the famous Melbourne lanes. The Historical Collins 333 below is a great example of what you can find. This is also the most unknown gallery, another  great subject for our photography in Melbourne

Historical Collins 333, the CBA Bank in Melbourne - Understanding focal length

Historical Collins 333, the CBA Bank in Melbourne – Understanding focal length

Mobile Photography

There is a famous photography quote that says “The best camera is the one with you”. And guess which camera is always with us, the one in our mobile.

I do use it quite a bit


Iphone-Mobile-Photography-Course--panning skaterAnd I like the results as well. With the new mobile you have some kind of control. It was the case of the photo on the right side, made using a technique called panning

Photography shops in Melbourne

This is not by any mean a full comprehensive list. If you want to highlight anyone that I missed, please add a comment below and I will modify the list, as easy at that

  • Michaels in Cnr Elizabeth & Lonsdale St: it is still one of my favourites. True, gear tend to be more expensive here however it is compensated by some great advices. If you already know what you want I would probably go to the next one in the list
  • Camera House in 176- 178 Lonsdale St: another of my favourite for the customer service, some great advices. My only suggestion is to buy online after you visit the shop. The Camera House website tends to have more competitive prices
  • Vintech The Camera Service in 358 Lonsdale St: another shop in the same area
  • Ted’s Camera in 235 Elizabeth St

If you are after a camera, my suggestion is to start with Michaels and walk down Elizabeth and Lonsdale to compare prices and suggestions.

Have a look also to the Best Travel Camera guide updated on a monthly basis with the new models. This may help you even more before going to the shop.

Once you made your mind on the gear you want, you can also check online. You may always find better offers, however there is no professional service that may help you for a start up period

If you have problems with Nikon, Canon, Leica or Fuji in Melbourne head to Camera Clinic (56 Easey St, Collingwood). They are the Official independent support for Victoria. My experience with the service was not that good I must say and I ended up dealing directly with Nikon Australia in Sydney, however you can have better luck.

Please support this site buying your gear online at Camera House or DWI

Melbourne Map with all the sites in this post

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Stefano Ferro
Stefano is a cycling, movie and life style photographer with a big love for landscape & travel photography. When in Melbourne, his hometown, you will see him cycling around at sunset or sunrise looking for the best spot for a photo of this beautiful city. It is quite amazing how much photography gear he can pack on his bike :o

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    • Mark
    • February 5, 2016

    Thanks for this, Stefano! You have taken some beautiful shots. I’ll visit a few of these locations.

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