Up for Discussion: Photographing Melbourne
Late last year I talked to you about doing posts about different places around the world. There is so much tourist information about places to see and what not, but I have wondered how it would be to have information on places for photographers, that is specific to what a photographer wants to know about taking photos. I also don’t think only one person has the answers, or all the places, so I think this should be interactive, in a way, a community project. I am going to start this post, and then if others know places and things to photograph in Melbourne, then add it to the list. Leave your ideas in a comment and I will add it to the post.
The type of things or information you need to give:
- The place
- Where it is if relevant
- best time to photograph
- do you need special permits or permission
- can you use tripods
The idea is that someone who wants to come to the city or place can get a great idea of places to take photos, and when.
I would love to hear from people who would like to start the post for where they are as well, if you are interested, you will need to provide the photos, and start the conversation. Email me.
I am thinking of doing one of these once a month, however, if they are popular, then might look at doing them more often. I will also start an archives page so people doing research can find the posts easily.
This will evolve, so hopefully they will get better.
Flinders Street Station
This is one of our iconic train stations, and a rather unique looking building. It is located on the corner of Flinders Street and Swanston Street. Love it or hate it, an image of it has been known to make Australians overseas very homesick. It is possibly one of the most photographed buildings in Melbourne, and it is one of the major train stations as well. It is a meeting place, we all like to meet each other under the clocks.
To take photos of Flinders Street Station from the road, you need no special permits. You can photograph any building from the road. If you want to take photos inside the station, then you need a permit, they are free, you simply go to this page and print the permit, read it, sign it and carry it with you.
It is incredibly rare to find the station with no people, it is always busy. It is best to just except that people will be sitting on the front steps or just standing around and people will be coming and going.
The iconic shot of the car trails in front of the station can be done anytime when it is dark and people have their car lights on. I have found Friday night can be the best, or other week day nights. There are more cars around, though there are also more people. You can use a tripod, but you have to be careful of where you set it up, but there are places, usually right on the corners were you will have not much trouble.
Melbourne Central is a shopping centre, and also one of the underground stations comes out underneath it, so it is one of the major entries into the city from the “top” end. It is a privately owned centre, and photography isn’t actually allowed, but because the shot tower goes up the middle of it, they recognise that people will want to take photos of it, so they don’t worry about people taking photos there. It is not possible to use a tripod, there are too many people.
The Yarra River runs through the middle of Melbourne, but really is at what we call the bottom of the city. You have the city on one side and Southbank on the other. You can pretty much take photos anywhere you want along it, both day and night. Though if you are taking photos across the river to the city during the middle of the day you will be facing the sun.
Some of my favourite shots of Melbourne and the river have been done at night. You can get some fantastic shots along there. There is usually no problem with using a tripod. You may want to be careful around the Aquarium it is becoming a popular place for homeless people to go, and unfortunately, the number there are increasing.
If you are near Flinders Street, in the morning you may get a sunrise looking east along the river, and in the afternoon a sunset looking west. I’ve seen some amazing sunsets done along the river, haven’t quite got one myself, but plenty of time for me.
If you want to do street photography in the streets of Melbourne, there isn’t a problem. If people are in the streets, then the law here is basically that you can take photos. In Australian Copyright Law you can’t copyright your face. You do have to be careful though, some places may seem public, but they aren’t, like the Block Arcade, while it seems like a public place, it is privately owned.
This arcade is off Collins Street and Elizabeth Street. There are two entrances. The Elizabeth Street Entrance is between Collins Street and Little Collins Street, whereas the Collins Street Entrance is between Swanston Street and Elizabeth Street.
As I just mentioned this place is privately owned and operated. They understand that as it is one of the oldest arcades in Melbourne and well known, that people want to take photos in it, and you are allowed to. You can use the photos for personal use, but not commercial. I’ve never tried to use a tripod in there, so I don’t know how they would feel about you using one. It is a very busy arcade, so I would imagine that it would not be ideal.
It is only open during shopping hours, so if the shops are open it is open. If you want photos with no people, or almost no people, then I would suggest getting there very early in the morning. It is open 7 days a week.
National Gallery of Victoria
It is just over the river down St Kilda Road and is open 10am to 5 pm everyday. There is another part to is which is in Federation Square, this is for Australian Art, and the first one I mentioned is for International Art.
You are allowed to take photos pretty much anywhere you like inside the building, of both the building and the artwork. NO FLASH is allowed. The only places you really can’t take photos is special exhibition, and they usually have big signs telling you no photography. Tripods are not allowed.
This is our version of the London Eye. It is a bit hard to find over in the Docklands, but you can see it from a long way and you just walk towards it. You can take photos of the Star, from the ground and up in the air. If you want to take photos of the city you can, but you are not allowed to use a tripod while on the Melbourne Star. It is open every day from early to about 10pm.
They have a website and there is information there about booking tickets and when it is open. Melbourne Star Website.
This is a laneway made famous for the graffiti that is all over the walls in the lane. The lane is near Federation Square, well across the street, and you get it to via Flinders Street or Flinders Lane, between Swanston Street and Russell Street. It is a very popular place for tourists to go, so if you want photos without people, you will need to wait for lulls or go there early. It isn’t the type of place that ever closes, so you might be better off getting there early in the morning. It is a public street, or public lane. You can use a tripod there. On the weekends it is even busier as it is becoming a popular place for people to have their wedding photos done.
Adding to it
It is my hope that other Melbournians and people who have visited can add more places and information to what I have started. Please leave your information in a comment, or send me an email. It would be great if all I had to do was cut and paste what you have written. If you have an image to accompany what you have written, even better.
Gallery, I am including the above photos, but some others of the places I’ve talked about.