The Dandenong Ranges offers so many beautiful and amazing locations where sessions can be held and these are just some of my personal favourites. If you have another spot in mind or would like your photos shot in your own home or on your property I would be excited to discuss the details with you.
This location offers a combination of soaring eucalypts and stunning tree ferns. With fallen logs, winding paths and a small creek it is a fantastic place to explore with children. It is a secluded spot and passerbys are a rarity so it is an ideal option for those that don't want onlookers while being photographed. This location is a 200 metre walk along a pram friendly path from the nearest carparking and is perfect for morning or dusk sessions and if we are lucky we might even spot a wallaby. As part of the Dandenong Ranges National Park dogs cannot be included in sessions at this location.
The Arboretum is perhaps the most iconic and most popular spot for professional photos in the whole of the Dandenong Ranges and for that reason it is best suited to those who don't mind an audience. It offers a range of European trees including birches and conifers which create a great spot to play hide-and-seek with your children or to capture more intimate shots if doing a couple shoot. In Spring the open field fills with wildflowers and year round the view to the Yarra Valley and beyond provides a stunning backdrop, especially at sunrise or sunset. Much of the area is sloping and without paths so it is best suited for those without mobility issues. Unlike many more secluded spots this location does have public toilets available.
This forest actually links to the forest at Selby but this area has a totally different feel. It offers a large cleared area of grassland surrounded by beautiful gum trees and the area is home to hundreds of butterflies during the summer months. There are dragons nests to explore which have been built by locals and a wide open path to travel along. Kookaburras are plentiful and lyrebirds can sometimes be spotted in the undergrowth. This spot is ideal for dawn or dusk sessions and is a 400 meter walk from the nearest carparking. As part of the Dandenong Ranges National Park dogs cannot be included in sessions at this location.
Located alongside the Puffing Billy train line the walking trail between Cockatoo and Gembrook is wide, smooth, well maintained and mostly flat making it a perfect option if anyone in your group has mobility issues. With less tree cover than other locations this is definitely a spot that needs the soft light of dawn or dusk and it provides the chance to capture silhouettes and photos with the sweeping hills and paddocks beyond. In the right weather conditions it provides an intense glow to sunset photos due to its wide open big sky setting. There are several points where vehicles can drive right up to the path making access extremely easy.
This one is truly a hidden gem and you almost feel like you are sneaking into an abandoned private yard despite this being a virtually abandoned publicly owned space that was once a commercial nursery. The area is cool and shaded with moss covered trees, stone walls and steps and provides a slightly dark and moody look with an almost mystical feel. This location is roughly a 400 metre downhill walk along a path that is littered with branches and leaf debris but can be navigated with a mountain buggy or off road style pram. It's position in a valley means this spot is perfect for morning or mid-afternoon sessions but it is unsuitable for dusk shoots as the sun dips behind the hills early here.
Emerald offers several adjoining areas of parkland that offer a variety of European and native trees and flowering shrubs. The range of plantings means it provides a different look with each season and it is especially spectacular when the Autumn leaves turn in April and May and fairy-like toadstools can be found. It the perfect place to engage little people by having them do a nature scavenger hunt or to hide amongst the trees. The area has public toilets and is immediately accessible from the carparks and for those who can make a stroll it provides a versatile range of backdrops to provide added interest to your gallery of images.