Of all the places around the world to have your engagement photos taken, the Opera House on Sydney’s famous harbour has got to be one of the most exquisite options. If you’re a sucker for incredible architecture, you’ll no doubt be in love with the curved sails of the building, casting a one-of-a-kind silhouette against the Sydney sky. It is here, in the heart of the city, on Gadigal land, that I feel most inspired and excited to be a photographer. When the celebration of nature, architecture, and human connection all collide to tell a story unlike any other.
Want to plan a romantic engagement shoot at the Sydney Opera House in Circular Quay? Here are the 5 easy steps to making this happen…
Step 1: Find a Photographer You Click With.
The most important part of planning an engagement photo shoot is finding the right photographer. Your photographer should be able to capture the unique beauty and architecture of the Sydney Opera House in a way that stands out from all other photographers. Make sure you find someone whose work speaks to you on a creative level and who is also technically skilled at working in a variety of lighting and weather conditions.
Step 2: Wear Neutral Colors.
Even though you want to look your best for your special day, make sure to choose clothing items with subtle colours. Avoid patterns, logos and words on your clothes. Remember, when you are doing an engagement shoot at the Sydney Opera House, the main character is the iconic architecture. You and your fiancé are merely playing supporting roles in this shoot.
Step 3: Meet at Circular Quay Station Before Sunrise.
Sleep is for the weak. To avoid all the foot traffic and tourists that come later, it’s best to meet up with your photographer and start shooting as early as possible.
Also, mornings in Sydney are simply stunning. The sun rises over the ocean from the East, and I don’t think we Sydney-siders get to appreciate it often enough. Bonus points for doing the shoot in Summer, when you’ll benefit from longer sunrises, giving your photographer more time to play around with different lighting and angles!
Step 4: Bring Something Reflective.
To get even better shots, bring something reflective like a mirror, a glass prism, or even your own iPhone screen, so you can get creative shots of iconic landmarks like Sydney Harbour Bridge reflected on top of the Opera House in one frame.
Step 5: Grab a Coffee After Your Shoot
After all that hard work, reward yourself by grabbing some coffee at The Rocks. If you’re a tourist, I recommend an Oat Flat White from Aslan Coffee Roasters (Don’t ask me how they managed to avoid getting sued by C.S. Lewis’ Estate, but their coffee is good and that’s all that counts!)
Do we need a permit to do an engagement shoot at the Sydney Opera House?
Currently, there is no need for a permit if you are taking engagement photos on the public grounds around the Opera House and Circular Quay. You can walk right up the stairs on the outside of the building and stand close to the building without specific permission. It’s a common photo location, so security guards are very quick to identify what your purpose is there.
What if we want to take engagement photos inside the Sydney Opera House?
Sydney Opera House offers private tours (and more importantly, photography tours) where you, your partner and your photographer will be given access to sections of the House that are not open to the public, and can not be accessed without a guide. As of the time of writing, it costs about $1000AUD for this kind of tour, but is well worth it for some of the most unique perspectives of the Opera House you’ll ever see. Head to the Sydney Opera House website to find more details about this.
What other activities can be done in Sydney after our engagement photoshoot?
Besides a Sydney Opera House engagement shoot, there are many other activities that you can do in Sydney! You could visit the iconic Bondi Beach, spend a day exploring the Blue Mountains, take a ferry ride to Manly Beach, or venture down to Taronga Zoo and get close to some of Australia’s most beautiful native animals! There are endless possibilities when it comes to exploring the beautiful city of Sydney.
Whether you’re visiting Sydney to celebrate your engagement, or you’re a local like me who simply loves the iconic architecture, these five steps will help you plan a romantic, sunrise engagement shoot set against the dazzling backdrop of the Sydney Opera House! If you’re looking for a Sydney-based wedding photographer who specialises in taking photos that make you feel seen and celebrated, click here to get in touch and find out my availability.