Last updated on March 2, 2024 by Stefano Ferro, founder of MEL365, following extensive travelling in Melbourne

Quick reference guide to Melbourne Photography, from street to landscape and cityscape

I was thinking for a while to write a quick reference guide to photography in Melbourne.

There are plenty of opportunities for any photography style.

The most popular area for travellers is the CBD (Central Business District), this is where you can do some great street photography.

Take a tram to the beachside, either Port Melbourne or St Kilda, for some landscape photography.

Finish off with architectural photography in Docklands.

But let’s get down to the specific type of photography with the best spots in Melbourne for that.

In this guide you will see

You can read also

Scroll down on this reference guide for a list 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 usually run every second Saturday or on-demand (private one-to-one sessions). I love this city and I can’t stop myself exploring it alone and with over fellow photographers. If you are interested, you can check here more information on when and what we will do

Check the workshop dates     

Subjects and Photography in Melbourne

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, busy with commuters always in a rush.

That gives us photographers plenty of opportunities.

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

Another great spot is Southern Cross station

Street photography in Southern Cross Station
Street photography in Southern Cross Station

I have also organised a full gallery with Street photos I made in Melbourne.

Unusual Landscape

Sometimes it pays off to look up in the sky.

This is for sure an unusual architectural decision.

The impact is really amazing

The Collingwood trains in the air
The Collingwood trains in the air

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/overexposed of 2 steps.

Black & White

This was a 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

For more images, you can check my Melbourne Black&White Photos Gallery.

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

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

For more images, you can check my Melbourne Iconic Photos Gallery.

1/80 sec at f/9, ISO 100, focal length 24mm (Nikon D600 + Nikkor 24-120 1:4G)
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, it 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)
1/160 sec at f/16, ISO 100, focal length 24mm (Nikon D600 + Nikkor 24-120 1:4G)
1/300 sec at f/3.5, ISO 400, focal length 14mm (Panasonic Lumix GX8 + Lumix G Vario 14-42mm)
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 into two layers, the foreground with the Yarra River and the park, and the background, with the city buildings, both connected through the Birrarung bridge.

For more images, you can check my Melbourne City & Land Photos Gallery.

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

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 sunlight?

Many possibilities of interior photography, no worries.

Patterns inside the buildings 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.

For more images, you can check my Melbourne Architecture Photos Gallery.

St.Paul’s Cathedral
St.Paul’s Cathedral

Besides 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 on our mobile.

I do use it quite a bit

Best-Travel-Camera-2016--20160403_175439
Brighton small pier

iPhones and Smartphones have evolved so much.

You can actually take stunning photos and you have also control of lights, focus points and so much much more.

If interested, I run a Mobile Photography Workshop every second Saturday where you can learn a ton on taking control of your camera, improve your composition and enhance your photos.

Check Mobile Photography Courses

Photography shops in Melbourne

This is not by any means a fully comprehensive list, just a few handy shops that provide a good service.

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 : it is still one of my favourites. True, gear tends to be more expensive here however it is compensated by some great advice of the skilled photographers that work at the shop. If you already know what you want I would probably go to the next one in the list
  • digiDirect : another of my favourites for customer service. 
  • Ted’s Camera

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 that I regularly update new models that I test. 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.

Melbourne Map with all the sites in this post

Stefano Ferro - MEL365.com Founder and Editor

About the Author

Stefano is a seasoned travel expert and the visionary founder of MEL365.com, a leading travel website with traffic across 6 continents. With a rich background in the travel industry, Stefano spent four pivotal years at Amadeus Travel Distribution System, gaining invaluable insights into travel technologies and distribution.

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