Jul 13, 2020
Here’s a rundown of some of my favourite Melbourne wedding photo locations, organised by the mood they give, to show you what brilliant variety we have in our own inner city for weddings: from gritty industrial, all the way over to the most incredible nature within a stones throw of the Melbourne CBD. Included in all locations are Google Maps pins.
These are my top 15 Melbourne wedding photo locations (I have plenty more hidden gems, but you’ll just have to head out on foot and go exploring yourself to find them).
Be sure to tune in for the very last one – some of my favourite little slices of Melbourne alleys. If you’re getting hitched in the city or inner city or eloping in Melbourne, I know these like the back of my hand as well as a whole bunch of wonderful other little known spots.
These are somewhat more popular locations, but when looking at where to take photos in Melbourne i’ve found they’re ripe for putting a unique spin on each and every time, especially if you’re planning a Melbourne elopement.
The Melbourne Treasury building is the go-to spot for registry weddings in Melbourne. With its incredible historic design and layout, it’s one of the best places to take photos in Melbourne. What people often miss though, is that the immediate surrounds of the building have the most brilliant portrait locations, perfect for rain-shielded photo sessions, sunset sessions, all of it. If you look closely, you can see some of these at this Fortyfive Downstairs wedding.
I take so many couples around here, and it can’t be overstated how beautifully soft and moody the light is around the structures themselves. Head down Treasury place and explore, it’s all an easy and quick whip around, especially if you’re then heading south to somewhere like The Deck at Circa.
Just west of the Melbourne Treasury building, is the Treasury gardens. While the gardens themselves are beautiful and lush, what I personally prefer is to use them as context against the treasury buildings behind it.
Walk about halfway up Treasury Place, head down the paths inserting themselves into the gardens, turn around, and you’ve got beautiful lush greenery depending on the time of year, with the incredible heritage buildings right behind you as the backdrop.
The Collingwood and Fitzroy back streets contain some of our earliest historic houses, since they were the first suburbs inhabited when Melbourne did, well, what we did back then, clear everything and everyone in sight and build lots of stuff.
As a result some of the architecture in the surrounding streets is particularly cute and interesting in equal measure, and make for some of the best Melbourne wedding photo locations. As a general area, this is a personal favourite and one of the best places to take photos in Melbourne and a go-to for all the best wedding photographers doing their thing.
Something more of a sleeper location (ie: more classic, and not immediately striking), Carlton has some understated alleys that are beautiful soft backdrops without fighting the rest of the frame.
Enormous stonework, subtle signage and fittings, the laneways here are worth exploring and just a small dash out of the Melbourne CBD.
One of my favourite little lanes. Find it on Google Maps here.
One of my favourite general areas in Melbourne. Further north we hit Thornbury, which has an endless amount of textures, historic structures, and all sorts of weird and wonderful signage and exteriors – oh, and Kenny Lover.
30 minutes here will be spent pretty quickly heading up, down and around High St, with art-deco design left right and centre.
See more of Sam and Pauls wedding on Instagram.
Northcote Town Hall is a must visit for simple Melbourne heritage vibes, beautiful columns and light. If Fitzroy Town Hall isn’t accessible, then this isn’t a compromise, and it provides the same kind of feel, shelter from rain, and beautiful soft light, with no chance of being disturbed, and super close proximity to bars, cafes, and all of the standard Northcote glory.
There’s also plenty of beautiful textures and walls to find on Eastment st and Westbourne Grove, down the side of the town hall.
This one gets a header all of it’s own. The incredible artwork on the side of the Fonda building is a joy to walk past and pop off some frames in front of. Punchy, colourful, geometrically satisfying, this is located just off Smith st, with spades of bars and other historic streets right near it.
A great little stopover if you’re getting hitched at Panama Dining Room or Rupert on Rupert.
I’ve had so many couples stay at the QT Hotel on Russel St, and turning just around to the right of it’s entrance, down Portland Lane, is a no-brainer for some quick portraits when exiting the building to head to the ceremony.
The wall of the Portland Hotel is painted a rich black, and feeds down into deep bluestones below, creating something of an impossible infinity-wall, where it feels like the bluestone is a shelf at the edge of the universe.
And we’re about to lean into the ether, into Gandalf’s embrace, etc.
Until fairly recently, sweeping sections of South Melbourne have somehow managed to mostly avoid being exploited by our general lack of regulation around architectural design for a suburb so close to the city, and so unlike other heritage suburbs, still has plenty of great things to explore without yet looking like a second-year students first foray into geometric design elements.
As a result, as well as easily feeling like it’s a jaunt into the old world, the entire area around the Town Hall, Clarendon St, and industrial back areas have plenty of textures to explore.
Abbotsford may just be our closest answer to anything resembling the back streets of New York or Brooklyn (see these Melbourne wedding venues). Abbotsford has it all: incredibly close proximity to Yarra Bend Park (which doesn’t seem like it should or could sit so close to the city), old heritage streets, imposing industrial buildings, and everything in between.
A 30 minute session in Abbotsford can get chewed up very quickly, and that’s without stopping off at any of the beautiful little cafes littered around the place. One of the best places to take photos in Melbourne, at just a short jump outside of the Melbourne CBD itself.
Looking at the map, Fitzroy Gardens almost sounds ripped out of a Tolkien book. The Faeries tree, Tudor Village, Temple of the Winds. These are all great, but the best parts of these gardens aren’t etched on the map.
Enter from the midwestern paths along Lansdowne St, and some of the more incredible tree-tunnels are visible, then head further in to a couple of “secret” little jungle areas with tight greenery, stone stairs and more.
Carlton Gardens join the Royal Exhibition building. Carlton Gardens are more known for the aisle of trees leading up to said building (and a water foutain) but the best parts of these gardens are actually around the northwestern edge of the exhibition building.
Architecturally there’s a bunch of textural options around there, but what I like most is the setting sun against some of the smaller characterful pieces of garden around there.
Prahran isn’t necessarily the first place you’d think of when looking for the best Melbourne wedding photo locations, but when I lived there, I made a point of taking any couples eloping here from overseas there, for two reasons.
Firstly there’s more than it’s fair share of architecturally stunning historical charm, and secondly, while there’s the allure of taking portraits in the CBD, in my opinion Prahran punches above it’s weight, and saves all of the regular hassles associated with parking in the city itself, while allowing folks spending a little bit of time here to explore a neighbourhood they might have otherwise missed.
First stop from the Melbourne CBD as we head west, Footscray is a gritty gem, and enormously misunderstood suburb (especially from our dear friends of the east).
Footscray has buckets of charm in it’s back streets, and as you head over to Seddon (i’d never heard of it either until I moved there), you’re hit with some of the most incredible cottage-style residences you’ll see in Melbourne.
The pièce de résistance. Melbourne has bucketloads of beautiful alleys, and the main choices become things like how much heritage do you want, vs graffiti, vs tourists, vs calm.
All of the major alleys have their own character, and at any quarter of the CBD there’s a good handful within walking distance, and are usually crowned as the best Melbourne wedding photo locations.
These aren’t necessarily the “main events” here (sorry), i’m instead sharing some of my favourite Melbourne wedding photo locations containing simple light, and simple texture. For more of my secret ones, keep an eye on my melbourne wedding photography workshops.
Jun 14, 2020
Until early 2020, thanks to Covid19, weddings are going to be happening on a smaller scale (or, straight up elopements). With that said, if there’s one thing i’ve noticed in photographing celebrations of all shapes and sizes, there’s always a certain brilliance in intimate gatherings that just doesn’t exist in larger ones, and having a small wedding in the short term still means you can have a larger celebration down the line, with less planning infrastructure. So while we have to wait a little while to have big parties and weddings again, here are some of my favourite small wedding venues in Melbourne.
Ahead of the curve in the small-wedding game, The Altar Electric has been championing the power of intimate weddings for years, and is the brainchild of The Wedding Anarchist, Sarah Dobson, and Anthony Cribbes.
One of the more characterful small wedding venues in Melbourne and nestled in the industrial back streets of Collingwood, The Altar Electric warehouse wedding venue can cater for weddings up to about 30 people, and right down to a cracking shotgun-wedding with just the two of you and your witnesses.
To top it all off, they just upgraded their space, thanks to the incredible styling handiwork of local design and party heroes, Good Day Club.
So whether you’ve got 5 guests, 20 guests, or 30 guests, this brilliant peach palace is a great place to get a fab ceremony done.
When Covid19 hit full-steam and we were locked down to having weddings with a maximum of 5 people in total, local genius Mel of The Ceremony Store came up with a hit concept that quickly spread throughout Australia, and right over into the USA: I Do Drive Thru.
I Do Drive Thru gets you married in a whirlwind ceremony from the safe confines of your car, or anywhere in a public space: just you two, and the very closest of your crew. Get it said, get it done, and get away to celebrate what matters: just the two of you.
Don’t be mistaken by the name: while I Do Drive Thru might sound like, it’s a drive-thru thing, that’s only one side of what it can be. I Do Drive Thru is a small wedding ceremony, done anywhere you like, in exactly any style of intimate celebration that you can imagine. From loud, to quiet, to classy to crazy, and everything in between.
Read more about I Do Drive Thru here, and reach out to them to see if they’re the right fit.
Tess and Sam, married on their family property in Australia’s Kangaroo Valley.
If larger wedding venues aren’t a part of the plan, sometimes it’s best to look inwards to what’s closest: our own family property. With some thoughtful catering and preparation, having a wedding at your home makes for an intimate experience, and something potentially more meaningful when you look back at your photos.
The only concern usually had around having a wedding on family property, is that of cleanup! But keep your crew small, keep the food simple, and it’s a great way to have a meaningful celebration where the only timeline you’re working to is your own.
An Air-Bnb has all the intimacy and timeline benefits of hosting it on your own family property, with the added bonus of being able to get married at any spectacular geographic location of your own choosing. Select a location with adventure nearby and a good kitchen within.
Here, Sarah and Simon had a beautiful small ceremony at an Air-Bnb in a spectacular piece of nature, before enjoying a beautiful afternoon with 4 of their closest friends, and an evening of home cooked meals and games.
Sarah and Simons Australian wedding was featured on the wedding blog Rock n Roll Bride, so head over there for more of their story.
While we’re dealing with only having small gatherings, many of Melbournes most incredible venues are able to scale themselves down to accommodate a more intimate wedding.
To discover a whole lot of other options, here’s a list of incredible alternative wedding venues in Melbourne.
Looking for a large venue? Check out their Indian wedding reception.
Jun 8, 2020
Tanya and Ryan are Jiu-Jitsu diehards, who train together, and Mario-Kart together. These legends had their Two Ton Max wedding in Melbourne right at the 11th hour before Melbourne’s first Covid lockdown. In one of Melbournes most brilliant warehouse wedding venues, these two got it done in style with a crew of the best. I was lucky to be along for the ride with my dear old mate Michelle Grace Hunder, photographing this together for the first time in years (we started out as a wedding duo before going solo).
Enjoy this little peek into Tanya and Ryans Two Ton Max wedding, featuring Melbourne wedding celebrant Shannon Jeans running the show. For more beautiful warehouse, rustic, or alternative wedding venues in Melbourne, check out this post on unique Melbourne wedding venues, featuring Rupert on Rupert and Gather and Tailor.
Two Ton Max website: http://twotonmax.com.au/
Mar 25, 2020
When Sam and Paul got married at their house in Thornbury, right up there as far as “level of importance” to the getting married bit, was a quest to local iconic culinary heroes, Kenny Lover Ice Cream. Just a few frames from a little stopover break between their ceremony and their reception at their Thornbury home. With some of the most incredible colour and light anywhere in Thornbury, take a look at their sort-of-nearly-but-mostly Kenny Lover Wedding (and while you’re here, see some of my nearby other favourite wedding photo locations in Melbourne).
Kenny Lover Ice Cream website: https://www.kennylover.com.au/
796 High St, Thornbury VIC 3071
Jul 10, 2019
Wedding portaits: you’re getting married, you’re organising your vendors, and you’re at the point where you’re facing the classic conundrum that is working out whether you do or don’t want your day turned into a Hollywood film-set, and whether you are or aren’t going to be dragged away from your guests for 3 hours for a portrait session.
Originally published on Polka Dot Bride
There’s no right or wrong way of going about your wedding portraits: the main thing is to look at a lot of images from a variety of photographers, and build up a vocabulary of photos that you connect with (Pinterest being one of the great ways of storing that vocabulary), and understand how and when the portrait session (or sessions) fit into your wedding day.
Here’s a few helpful little home truths and things to keep in mind about your wedding portraits that I’ve found useful in navigating all this:
First up, someones gotta say it: while being totally necessary, your wedding portraits are still, simply not the most important part of your day. Not by a long, long stretch! I say this as a photographer who adores that part of the day (this post here has plenty of wedding portrait examples) and invests a hell of a lot of personal energy into them, both on the day and at 1am in my editing cave in the weeks after. Your photographer should be able to advise on the ideal amount of time for them to get images up to the standard that you’ve fallen in love with on their website.
At the same time, they should be able to confidently make you great images, in a small window of available time. I’ve been in situations where 45 minutes have been allocated, and then rain has erupted, and that reduced to just 5 minutes because they wanted to get into the warmth of their packed barn and on to the beers.
I think that’s fair enough.
And a photographer should be able to confidently deliver you some glorious wondrous images, in that 5 minutes. While I personally recommend 30-50 minutes total to my couples, split across two parts of the day, I was able to work out what was important to do in that 5 minutes, work like a crazy-person and get them a beautiful set in just 5 minutes.
So, step back and ask your wedding photographer how long they recommend for the wedding portraits. Work out how long you’re prepared to spend and have a mutual understanding that on one hand its a beautiful window of calm where you get to be with just each other and on the other hand, it’s also precious time away from your guests.
The first-look is still a little bit of an unknown out here in Australia. It doesn’t help that it’s name has this kind of scary grandeur attached to it. Let’s dispel a few myths, and look at a few of the positives.
The first look is, simply, a moment where you get to meet each other before the ceremony, and inhale a little bit of calm together. It doesn’t take off the magic of seeing each other in the aisle (if anything, it amplifies it).
It does give you the chance to make some portraits immediately after and reduce how much time is spent away from guests later on. Most folks often miss out on the canapés hour, of course there’s no right or wrong approach here, but personally, I’d want to be hanging around my crew for canapés! Remember you can still head out at sunset together, and get the best of all worlds.
This is about having an all-in attitude. This is the test. How far are you willing to go for your portraits, in the moment? This is worth thinking about briefly ahead of time, as it can help you slip into the right state of mind on the day if the weather goes south.
There’s no right or wrong answer: but from a photographic point of view, the more risks you’re prepared to take (within reason), the more wild the photographs you’ll receive will be, and fitting to that particular moment.
Maria and Ingo leapt out into rain and rainbows for their wedding in Tuscany, and I think it was worth every second of that 1-2 minute sprint. Us photographers are a weird bunch, and you can probably always consider us up for running out in a hail storm to get the best shot, so this is really just for yourselves to consider.
The worst thing that can often happen is a bit of dirt on your dress and water in your hair. So get out into the rain, make some wild photos, then load up on some whiskey. That’ll get you warm again.
It’s taking every ounce of strength for me to say this, but, when it comes down to it, there’s no such thing as bad light, only bad photography. Us photographers – we might moan and groan about overhead sunlight (I certainly do!), or about harsh green fluorescent light, and there’s some truth in there being something extra special about sunset, twilight, and all that jazz.
But, this is really important: your photographer should be, first and foremost, a problem solver.
There’s no such thing as bad light – only light that might make them uncomfortable. And if they’re good at their job, they’ll be able to work through that discomfort, solve the challenge of whatever the lighting situation is, and still be able to deliver you magnificent images, and be comfortable in solving problems caused by un-ideal lighting.
A lot of what makes this image work was about carefully bringing it to life in post-production, but a photographer should be able to see great opportunity and know what to do with it. Mix up the indoors, with the outdoors.
With all of that said, I’m still a big believer in crafting the optimum scenario where possible: your photographer will be able to work with you on your timeline and styling to offer any advice to make things that little bit more magic for both your guests and your images.
I’m no stranger to being asked about festoon arrangements, or timings for portraits. Put your faith in your photographer and ask if they have any suggestions. Chances are, we’ve got a brain full of ideas that we’re willing to share, all in the name of getting you the best wedding photography.
Try and prioritise at least some of your portrait shoot later in the day, around sunset and into twilight. This is when the dance of light does some especially magic things.
Like every area of your wedding, you want to do the hard work on the back end, not the front end. What this means is connecting with caterers, stylists, and photographers you feel you can trust, so that on the day you’re not having to intervene. This is especially important with photography and specifically, wedding portraits. A shot list can hinder your photographer, and take them away from doing what we do best: which is being responsive to unfolding moments.
Don’t meet a million vendors for each category, meet a few and spend time with them. Make sure you get those little bells of trust ringing that tell you they’re the one. And then let them do what they do.
Because the best wedding portraits – the ones you’ll print and find yourself sending to everyone – fundamentally come out of ignoring nearly everything I’ve written above, and enjoying a couple of carefree windows with a photographer you feel entirely comfortable with, wherever they end up being taken.
These are a fun couple of portraits to close this article up – because this should all be, well, fun!
Dec 15, 2018
Gather and Tailor is an incredible rustic, industrial wedding and events space on the edge of Footscray, just slightly west of the Melbourne CBD. Couples of all types book at Gather and Tailor Wedding as there are two distinct spaces available to cater to all sizes and scales of celebration: Warehouse One, and Warehouse Two.
I’ve been fortunate to photograph weddings at Gather and Tailor Warehouse every other year, and so here are three couples with different types of celebrations, so you can see how they’ve each used both Warehouse One and Warehouse Two, and hopefully it gives a little insight into what can be done in their incredible spaces.
Gather and Tailor Warehouse One is the smaller of the two, but as with the specs below is still plenty large enough for weddings on the larger end of the dial, while having the space arranged in such a way that it’s also suitable for smaller weddings. The wedding you’re about to see was for Carli and Ennis, and was a communal gift from all supplies involved after a bushfire approached their first wedding in rural Victoria and forced them to evacuate. Incredible to see just how close the fire got.
Take a look at how everyone came together to get them the wedding they didn’t get to, at literally the last minute, have.
Gather and Tailor Warehouse One:
Warehouse Style, flexible blank canvas
Gather and Tailor Warehouse Two is significantly larger in floor space, and one of the most epic blank canvases you can imagine. If having a smaller wedding here, the space should be used and styled in such a way that it doesn’t feel like a tiny huddle in the corner of the Vatican.
The weddings you’re about to see are of Ash and Karan, and Anna and Anna – theirs of which was featured on Australia’s largest modern wedding blog, Hello May.
Warehouse Style, flexible blank canvas
Celebrant Gabriella Christopher Rings Julia Deville BRIDE ONE Dress Ellery Shoes Nicholas Kirkwood Makeup Ross Andrwartha BRIDE TWO Dress Dion Lee Entertainment The Elwood Community Shoes Proenza Schouler Earrings Ellery Makeup Ross Andrewartha Florist North St Botanical Venue Gather & Tailor Catering Pot and Pan Candles The Supply Co Lighting Technical Events Sound Hire DJ Warehouse
Heres some more of my wedding photography, made with couples from all over Melbourne, to the Yarra Valley, to Geelong and beyond.
Gather and Tailor website: http://www.gatherandtailor.com.au/
Unit 11/41-59 Sims St, West Melbourne VIC 3003
Looking for more unique wedding venues in melbourne? If you’re stoked on Gather and Tailor, load yourself up with one of Melbournes best wedding celebrants, and reach out to the team at Gather and Tailor. If you want me along for the ride to capture images exactly like those here, you can book me here.
Nov 5, 2017
Lauren and Nick had a Luminare wedding at the iconic South Melbourne rooftop wedding Venue, Luminare. These stylish legends had a wild and enormous day top to tail, with a Catholic ceremony nearby, before heading into the cavernous rooftop wedding event space of Luminare.
I tagged along with these maestros for the day, along with the marvels over at C2 Films.
Luminare website: https://luminare.net.au/
Also be sure to check out these Unique Melbourne wedding venues.