We’ve all been there, you’re shooting the bride and groom on location at one of Sydney’s (or any well known location in the world‘s) landmarks and you are stumped on how to pose the newly wedded couple and their bridal party.
It initially seemed so easy, how can a photograph of one of the most famous landmarks really be that difficult to capture? Trust us, when the day comes and the light is fading, the bridal party is hungry, it’s not hard to lose focus and forget how best to pose a wedding party.
Well worry no more, we are here today to share with you a few pointers for shooting wedding’s around major landmarks to not only showcase the amazing location but to put your bride and groom in the best pose for the shot. We will go over composition, lighting and choice of lens to showcase the best of both worlds (Landscape and Portrait).
Lets start off the list with Sydney’s famous Queen Victoria Building. This iconic building is stunning from any angle, an angle most Sydney-siders have seen time and time again, however, once you venture inside to the northern end, you will be presented with the most amazing stain glass windows atop of the grand staircase in which you climbed.
There is enough in this photo to really showcase what this building is about without the distraction of any of the shopfront advertising or the pedestrians that accommodate each floor on any given day.
We absolutely love the leading lines from the staircase rails, the shades of arctic blue that leaches in from the stain glass windows and the use of symmetry throughout, including the subtle reflections from the glass panels.
We suggest shooting wide, like a 24mm or 35mm lens to really appreciate this space, but make sure to hold that pose and get in close too, those windows are amazing to fill your frame when you’re up close as well.
When shooting indoors with many lines, ensure to compose it as straight as possible, use the grid lines in your camera to eliminate hours in the editing room later!
Stepping just outside is the newly constructed George Street, the main artery of Sydney’s CBD. This street has since been transformed from a bustling bus and car congestion into a shared walkway with lightrail services which now offers up some amazing possibilities for photography.
The leading lines of the light rail tracks really draw your eyes forward to the bride and groom, a simple photography trick that once you master, you will always be searching for.
Every major city has a particular landmark that is synonymous to it’s location, be that the Eiffel Tower in Paris to the Statue of Liberty in New York City. And like most major cities around the world, Sydney comes with a landmark of grandeur in the form of the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge.
And you can bet your little cotton socks that this bridge is in the back of the bride and groom’s mind, if not for them, but for their families from around the globe to be showcased in their wedding album.
When shooting such landmarks like the Sydney Harbour Bridge, it sometimes pays to be a tad subtle so not to feel so touristy, this could mean travelling a little further afar from the usual photography hot spots, maybe getting a little lower or possibly higher, or cropping in to force the viewers focus on what you envisioned.
The above photo was actually a victim of circumstance. Due to the suns direction, being front forward, there was no flattering way to photograph the bridal party with the harbour bridge in the background. By moving far away, not only is the suns direction not an issue anymore, (especially for squinting eyes), but we also now get a sense of scale by showing off the large building behind them that is being dwarfed by the Sydney Harbour Bridge beyond that.
Download a sunrise / sunset app to know where the sun will be at any given time. We use Golden Hour by Blackbird.One which can be found on both Google and Apple app stores.
There are also times when shooting iconic locations that you find yourself in the shadows of their structure. In these cases, go for a wide angle lens like a 24mm and position the bride and groom slightly off center using the rule of thirds, to balance the landmark with your couple for perfect framing.
Or you can use a slightly more telephoto lens for a more force perspective, which will bring the bridge (background) closer to your subject (foreground), we suggest a 70-200mm lens.
With Sydney being so lucky to be located on a harbour, the Sydney Harbour Bridge in turn has many vantage spots to be photographed from. If you happen to find yourself shooting a wedding North of Sydney like in Bradley’s Head for this below example, then there is always a way to find a way to sneak the bridge in without overshadowing the couple.
Or if you want to have that unique perspective without any interruptions, then charter yourself a yacht and place the bride and groom with front row seats, just remember to take your ginger tablets!
While you are at it, you can always walk onto the steps of the Sydney Opera House to take some magical photos. Best of all it’s free, the only challenge is to hide all the tourists that visit daily!
Last on the list is a few other favorite famous Sydney landmarks we love to take our bridal group. In all these locations we aren’t as much looking to showcase the entirety of the landmark, but more use the archways and or doorways to flatter the bride and groom while still showing off the architecture.
You can find this in places like Manly Pavilion which has stunning archway hallways that showcase the beautiful exterior structure.
The same can also be said about the yellow Sydney sandstone of No. 1 Martin place and the historic archways of the Paddington Reservoir.
The last photo on the list really ties in everything above, it’s a landmark (albeit not very known) and it’s a doorway, so not quite being the archway. But this beautiful cottage found in The Rocks, Sydney, is like any amazing city structure from around the world, it offers itself symmetry, history and beauty that will take your wedding photography to the next level.