As a Melbourne Fashion Photographer I come across a lot of photography locations as well as clients seeking bizarre and new locations for their next shoot. The city of Melbourne is a city of roughly 3 to 4 million people and is quite young in comparison to many European cities. The architecture reflects this and it can sometimes be a challenge finding location for clients that fill certain criteria that is more suited to Europe. With fashion photography we often try and sell a story. The photos needs to convey a mood and feelings. It is the photographers that need to -dress up- the clothes with something more. Fashion photography then draws on sets, locations, props and models to create something that will engage the viewer and the clients know this. A sun-filled morning in an old house may speak about softness, comfort and natural beauty, whereas or cold and stark warehouse might convey strength or a darker edge.
Melbourne has warehouses and sun filled houses. What we lack is the castles, the mountains and the snow. We lack some of the charm of the 18th century architecture which photographs beautifully. Sure, locations exist but they are usually photographically exhausted by many photographers and clients. We do have beaches, some forests, lakes and, you guessed it, more beaches.
So the search for fashion photography locations in Melbourne can be quite tedious, especially when it comes to building and interior locations. We don’t have many Hollywood-Hills style mansions or Scottish Castles. Luckily location scouts have made this easier by embarking on tracking down every last photo opportunity through manually scouting, word of mouth and sometimes even set-building them from scratch. I find the fact that Australia in general being so large, it can be time consuming finding locations so these photography location scouts can be invaluable and great time savers.
Ultimately, if time is on your side I would suggest scouting the inner suburbs of Melbourne yourself. Take photos, explore and get a feel for the vast range of alleys and warehouses available to photograph. Travelling into rural areas might see you only visiting one or two photo spots before realising you have spent the entire day driving.
Fashion clients budgets are definitely not what they used to be so finding locations quickly and cost effectively is important and as a fashion photographer I need to help my clients do this fast. Scouting companies is what I use in most cases. Occasionally I will explore myself if it is local or time permits to venture further. Of course, whilst on fashion assignments it’s always important to keep an eye out and take lots of photos of your surroundings, not just in Melbourne but where ever you venture. You never know what you might see and when you might need it.
If you are a client looking at shooting in Melbourne I would suggest a local photographer who has ties with good location agents to help you out.