We work with couples who are savvy perfectionists. They want their wedding day to be organised down to a tea and be completely representative of them as a couple. Their day is to be unique, individual and bespoke. Part of what we teach our brides is that they should work closely with their photographer to find a beautiful and somewhat unknown spot to take their photographs. To find a spot that truly represents them. So Dan O'Brien from Next We Meet Photography and I spent a few days scouting for unusual and possibly unknown wedding photo locations in Sydney City and Lower North Shore.
Find hidden treasure
Seek beauty in man made structures
Take a little of the cheese out of iconic photo shots
We avoided the typical spot on Observatory Hill, Circular Quay or Botanical Gardens Sydney. Whilst these spots are indeed spectacular they are very common spots for brides to snap their wedding photos. What we discovered was an array of wonderful spots that give you the city's famous landmarks and natural beauty but with an edge. If you want to be the only bride in the area and not competing for the last bit of light of day, then why not try some of these hidden gems.
If you are planning a north shore wedding then Bradley's head is the perfect spot for both your ceremony and photos. To get to the spot you need to] drive through a long windy road into the bush and out on to a spectacular headland. This spot looks out over Sydney harbour and to the city from an easterly perspective. Dan said when we explored this magical spot, "there are numerous locations all in the one spot. It's great for harbour photos as well as garden or old stone photos". You can be adventurous and fun as a couple climbing or hiding behind the big stone fort.
Whilst this is in fact a really popular spot for weddings, we wanted to explore the photo spots around this area that weren't quite as popular. We walked the length of the beach and decided that the island had some wonderful spots where you could look back onto the beach or out to the ocean. "Everyone goes for the rotunda while the island offers a much more picturesque backdrop", said Dan.
This spot has it all - you can get married on the beach, have your photos on the island or to the far right on the rocks, and dine with your guests at the famous Balmoral Beach Pavilion (a place I love as my husband proposed to me there!). The beauty of this spot is you have so many options to play with; you can play in the sand; walk across the bridge; or if you are adventurous like me then climb a tree (the things I do for my couples!!). "And there’s rabbits!". What more could you ask for!
We thought we'd explore some ways that you can still capture up close the iconic landmarks of Sydney - The Harbour Bridge, Luna Park and the Opera House all in one. "A much better harbour vantage point than anywhere else and a couple is not competing with other bridal parties", explains Dan. You can get a really fantastic wide shot, the grass is lovely and green, and if a lovely day you can achieve a really elegant picture of the city. It is also one of the only angles that you can capture all of these wonderful iconic landmarks in one view. Some of Sydney's wealthiest families live in McMahons Point and they like to keep it nice and hidden! Whilst you may find an avid photographer here, you are less likely to see another bride. Whilst a harbour shot may not be everyones first choice, this spot is an amazing option if you have your heart set on one.
Lavender Bay Gardens
This was certainly our favourite of all the locations. A hidden secret garden where gnomes live and butterfly's sweep through the luscious trees. It's a "quiet gorgeous sanctuary that can provide numerous photo locations as well as shelter from the elements," said Dan. We explored the winding paths, fairylike staircases and looked closer at all the little works of art around the garden. Whilst it could get a little dark and moody in the middle of winter, it would be spectacular on a hot day. This is terrific as couples will be less likely to sweat through their photo session, which commonly happens for groomsmen in their tuxedos.
What we loved most about this spot was it felt romantic, the gardens were truly breathtaking and there was endless spots where you could get creative and have fun with your bridal party. The colours were magical and we are sure this garden would look incredibly different throughout the various seasons of the year - so your photos would not look like any other! We can just see some stunning bride surrounded by gorgeous magenta leaves and green grass. What an amazing pop of colour!!
There is also the option to walk down to the wharf. Here you'll find some harbour shots, some urban wall shots (with a awesome grey blue wall!) and can walk all the way up to Luna Park (if you want a bit of cheese at the end!).
Walsh Bay Wharf
We decided to go to a location where there are loads of wedding reception venues. Whilst there are some really typical spots around this area we went searching for an edge and something a bit more quirky. What we found were some really terrific man made objects with a twist - rusting staircases, wharf pillars and 'old yet modern' works of art. "Ultra cool locations for different photos alongside war time structures, etc." said Dan.
When picking a location such as this ask your photographer to look for the unusual - spots that may not be thought of as typically bridal. Your photos will have a real modern edge to them. And, we were super lucky to talk this through with Dan as he has spent years shooting some of the worlds leading musicians when he worked for Warner Music. He works with couples that are creative and unique. Couples who want to have an art edge to their photos so we learnt so much chatting with him about all the possible angles and locations you could shoot around the wharves. It is also a great spot to look out at some of the islands, such as Cockatoo Island or Goat island (also other cool locations).
St Thomas Church
If you are wanting a private church which is spectacularly beautiful for some traditional wedding photos (and for your ceremony) then visit St Thomas Church in North Sydney. This church is particularly special to me as I went to school locally and sung every year in the chapel. The autumn trees outside the chapel made for some breathtaking shots.