Top 10 Stunning SoCal Locations for Engagement Photos

Looking for where to take your engagement photos in Southern California? SoCal is FILLED with a variety of places to take your engagement photos! Celebrate that newly engaged life by picking your favorite location & scheduling a fun engagement session to capture this special season. Here are our top favorite places all around SoCal, from unique city spots to breathtaking nature locations.

Table of Contents (click to jump around!)

Explore the City

Think: city skylines, rooftops, your favorite eateries or a vintage record shop, and more! If this sounds like your jam, then consider exploring the city for your engagement photos! Southern California (particular Downtown Los Angeles) is filled with a ton of spots to consider for a city engagement session.

Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA)

Explore DTLA for some fun, city engagement photos. From the Los Angeles bridge, to funky retro walls, show off your love for the city by having your engagement photos taken here. You can even make it a fun date by grabbing some coffee or ice cream in one of the many Los Angeles spots!

View an engagement session in Downtown Los Angeles
View an engagement session across the LA Bridge

Vista Hermosa Park (Los Angeles)

Go here for that 500 days of summer feel! It’s a sweet little park in Los Angeles that does have a small bench overlooking the city. Plan a nice picnic and take your engagement photos at Vista Hermosa Park in Los Angeles!

Downtown Pasadena (Pasadena)

Less than 30 minutes from Los Angeles! Take your engagement photos in Downtown Pasadena (it also makes for a fun date night). There’s plenty of little alley ways, staircases, and even a little park nearby that you can explore. Or grab some coffee & ice cream and make it a date night! It’s definitely a fun option close to Los Angeles to take your engagement photos. 

Rent a studio! (found all over SoCal!)

If you don’t care to walk around the city too much, but still want an urban feel, you can consider renting a studio! There are plenty to choose from in Los Angeles, San Diego (usually the main cities), which could let you get really creative in the types of backdrops and settings that studios offer. If you aren’t sure where to look, let us know and we’ll send over some favorites!

Beach & Coastal Views

California beaches are truly one of the best (and the sunsets are UNREAL). If you love the ocean and don’t mind getting a little sandy & wet, then a beach session might be for you. Here are a few of our favorites around Los Angeles and Orange County. 

Malibu (Los Angeles)

Check out Malibu for some gorgeous coastal views. You can even incorporate some grassy fields or golden meadows, depending on where you go. Some of their beaches have fun rock formations on the shore as well! Plenty to choose from in Malibu, and it’s only less than an hour away from Los Angeles.

Balboa Island (Orange County)

Spend a day in Newport Beach with your hunny! A quick ferry ride will also get you to Balboa Island, where you can have a date night with ice cream, an arcade, and the ferris wheel. This is a fun option if you want something a little more casual, playful (and you don’t necessarily want to be in the sand the whole time). 

Sunset Cliffs (San Diego)

Sunset Cliffs is located in San Diego, California. It’s about a two hour drive from Los Angeles, but it’s a popular spot that’s known for its stunning cliffside views. Since it’s a well known area, we do recommend coming on a weekday to avoid the crowds! Or consider a sunrise session. It’s early but the view is gorgeous. 😉

Deserts & Stars

Not into the city or beach? Enjoy the sunshine by heading over to the desert! Since you’re away from the city, it’s also a great way to get star photos at night. Or make a camping trip out of it and document the adventure during your engagement session. There’s so many ways to make your engagement photos a fun & true reflection of who you are!

Joshua Tree (San Bernardino)

Take your engagement photos in Joshua Tree National Park! Beyond Joshua Trees, there are jumbo rocks, cacti (which is particularly gorgeous when golden hour hits!), beautiful pink sunsets, rock formations, and stellar star shots. Note: entrance fees & permits may apply, but it’s well worth it to make the trek here.

Palm Springs (Riverside)

Explore Palm Springs for your engagement photos! You can take a trip up the aerial tramway to San Jacinto mountains, or visit. the windmills for some desert fun. 

Vasquez Rocks (Los Angeles)

You don’t need to drive all the way to San Bernardino or Riverside to get the desert vibe. Visit Vasquez Rocks for your engagement photos! It’s about 45 minutes to an hour away from Los Angeles, but you’ll feel like you’re right in the desert. It’s home to some gorgeous rock formations. Fun fact: a ton of musicians, artists and movies have also been filmed here (like Star Trek!).

Lakes & Trees

More of a forest person? Love trees & lakes? Southern California is home to many different types of sceneries, so if the desert/beach/city isn’t your vibe, take a look at these options!

Big Bear (San Bernardino)

Head up to the mountains and explore Big Bear Lake! About 2-3 hours away from Los Angeles & Orange County, but the drive is worth it for the beautiful lakes and greenery. If you’re taking your engagement photos during the winter, you might even encounter some snow. 

Carbon Canyon (Orange County)

If you’re looking for where to take your engagement photos in Orange County, Carbon Canyon is a great option. Located in Brea, Carbon Canyon Regional Park is home to Orange County’s only grove of redwoods.

8 thoughts on “Top 10 Stunning SoCal Locations for Engagement Photos”

  1. California looks so diverse! Malibu seems like the perfect quintessential beach for engagement photos, but now I want to check out San Diego too!

  2. I’m bookmarking this blog, I’m shooting in Joshua Tree and Palm Springs and this blog is an incredible wealth of knowledge. You know your locations and you KNOW how to absolutely capture them brilliantly and leave nothing out. Beautiful images and so SO much helpful info <3

  3. What gorgeous imagery you create– thanks for putting this together, as I know nothing about Southern Cali! There are so many different options depending on the personalities of the couple! <3

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Kristine & Charles

Meet Kristine & Charles

Heya! We’re Kristine & Charles, two wedding & elopement photographers based in Southern California. Los Angeles is home, but we travel all over our golden state and beyond. We’ve captured weddings & elopements all along the west coast, and have fallen so incredibly in love with what we do.

Storytelling is something we’re passionate about – from the large celebrations to the quiet moments in between. All of it is beautiful & all of it is meaningful. 

If you’re ready to start planning your elopement adventure or an intimate wedding with loved ones, reach out and let’s get the process started!

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