Royal Botanic Garden wedding photo

DIY Portrait and Wedding photography in Sydney

Posted on Posted in Australia, Photography & Outdoor Report, Travel Blog
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Sydney is so beautiful that we couldn’t resist spending several more days there. One of our main wishes there was to DIY some wedding photos. Of course, it would be cool to get some iconic Sydney elements in the shots. Here in this post, I would like to share our Sydney wedding photography experience at several excellent photography locations. 

 

Circular Quay

This is the perfect spot to include the iconic Sydney Opera House in the frame as the background. We’ve been there multiple times and the number one rule we learned was to arrive early! By that we mean you’d better come before sunrise, so you can make full use the first sunray hitting the city without the crowds. The direction of sunlight makes the stairs in front of the Sydney Opera House an ideal location for morning portrait photography. The gentle sunshine warms everything and accentuates the nice exterior patterns of the Opera House. So make sure your exposure is on point, and don’t always use a large aperture that blurs the background. 

Sydney wedding photography
Sydney wedding photography

Myself is more of a photographer than a model, and I reconfirmed this when I counted how many photos I was in. Anyway, I managed to sneak in a few shots using the self-timer of the camera. 

Sydney wedding photography
Sydney wedding photography

What if you come here at dinner time, possibly the busiest hour of the day? The crowds are going to overwhelm your frame and there was the disappointment. Well, a few tricks may turn the situation into some interesting photography opportunities. By using a tripod, large aperture, and long exposure we turned the crowds into a kind of motion background of that colorful night. 

Circular Quay night portrait
Circular Quay night portrait

Circular Quay night portrait

Circular Quay night portrait

 

The Royal Botanic Garden

Right next to the Sydney Opera House, the Royal Botanic Garden is a true gem of the city and will no doubt be one of the most popular Sydney wedding photography locations. Again early morning would be the best time shooting in the garden. I have been trying out a couple of post-processing tones for different tastes. The first one is the glorious, enhanced golden sunshine. The warm sunshine is essential in this kind of post-processing, otherwise, the artificial golden color makes the sky pale instead of blue.

Royal Botanic Garden portrait
Royal Botanic Garden portrait

My second set of pictures took advantage of the green plants, the natural framing in the garden. I desaturated the green color after some curve adjustments, to make it more natural and “cinematic”. The control of saturation and tonal contrast is very important in this kind of shots, especially to avoid the cellphone photo look.

Royal Botanic Garden portrait photography
Royal Botanic Garden portrait photography

In the third set of photos, I played with lens flare and sunbursts. Here is where expensive equipment pays off ( my lenses are not on that list). Some lenses have beautiful and characteristic lens flare when facing the sun. But if you are like me who is using non-specialized lenses ( for this set of photos I used my GH5 + speed booster + Sigma 18-35 F1.8), experimenting with your position against the sun would be a good starting point. Even a tiny movement of the lens would create a huge difference in the final image. Another tip is to find a composition in which the sun is partially blocked by something like tree branches or leaves. This could reduce ghost and make the flare more controllable. Sunburst is another interesting element to incorporate into the frame. It adds a tiny bit of mysterious feeling and in many cases is just lovely to see. Make sure to use small aperture values with a wide focal length for a better effect.

Sydney portrait photography
Sydney portrait photography

 

Luna Park and Blues Point Reserve

I put these two places together as they are close to each other, and are both excellent spots for incorporating the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House in the shots. I would definitely prefer coming to these locations in the morning as the crowds are no joke at sunset/evening. And you get free street parking early morning as a bonus. 

Sydney wedding portrait
Sydney wedding portrait

There is a classic view from the Blues Point Reserve in the early morning. I particularly like the proportion of each element you can put in the composition. It makes the photograph simple, nothing fancy, which is exactly what I need for an image to put up on the wall, for a long long time. 

Sydney wedding photography - Blues Point Reserve
Sydney wedding photography – Blues Point Reserve

I hope you enjoyed our DIY Sydney wedding photography experience. If you have any questions or comments,  feel free to leave them below. Cheers!

 

Related Topics:

Sydney photography spots (cityscape )

 

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