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Locations and Suggestions For Your Engagement Sessions

Engagement sessions are a great way to get to know each other a little more before your wedding.  It’s a chance to see how we work together and it helps make you more comfortable in front of the lens on your wedding day. All engagement sessions are shot on location, usually at a park, beach, downtown area, or even shopping center. I encourage clients to find an idea that’s meaningful to them, maybe some activity or location you enjoy together. If you’re having trouble thinking of a location there are many suggestions listed below that might be of interest to you. From Romantic to fun I am sure we have a place that will be right for you. Keep in mind that some locations listed below might require a permit to photograph on the premises.

Laguna Beach(Laguna Beach does not allow photography during the summer) Art galleries to the sculptured gardens downtown Laguna is a quaint location with some amazing storefronts and hidden ally ways. Beautiful rocky beaches, tide pools, park settings and amazing sunsets make this a picturesque location perfect for photos in the non-summer months. The only downside is that you’ll be competing for a spot with plenty of other photographers, I don’t recommend these locations on weekends or from May to October. (There is a $100 Permit Fee to shoot in Laguna)

Some Laguna Locations: Top of the World, Hotel Montage, Heisler Park, Downtown Laguna

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Balboa Island, Newport Beach –A great carnival boardwalk environment with views of the marina and a block from the pier, it’s a fun and playful area for couples. I do not photograph here in the summer. (May to September)

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Huntington Beach Pier / Downtown Huntington Beach – For that mix of the beach and urban surroundings this is a great location for couples wanting both styles. I don’t recommend these locations on weekends or from May to October.

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Other Beach LocationsHotel Montage, Victorian Beach (only at low tide, very popular spot), Santa Monica Pier or La Jolla Beach with rock caves and cliffs.   I don’t shoot at beach locations in the summer because of the crowds. They are too difficult to photograph at.

Wilderness and Regional Parks

Orange County has some beautiful rustic parks that might be just what you’re looking for.  These areas are great to photograph year round and are always changing with the seasons. Listed below are a couple of the locations, more can be found in the Orange County area by going to

Irvine Regional Park – This is a great park location that’s close to home but offers a wilderness look, wooden fences, great views and some beautiful trails.

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Thomas F Riley Wilderness Park – One of my favorite locations to photograph at.  Rolling hills, wildflowers, a butterfly garden, tons of open space and trails.

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Huntington Central Park – Located in the middle of Huntington Beach this park covers over 350 acres of land with lakes, grass fields, wildflowers and large hedges.

Mission San Juan Capistrano – (A Fee of $75.00 for one hour of photography) Beautiful old architecture surrounded by gardens, a great place for engagement sessions. Best to shoot here during the week and not in the summer for a less crowded location.

San Juan Capistrano / Los Rios District  In this area, you can walk the streets of the Los Rios District, explore the train depot and the adobe structures and gardens, quaint storefronts and homes make for a cute backdrop to any pictures.

Los Rios District Engagement Locations

Shoreline Village – This location has been the backdrop for many television shows and could be perfect for your session. It is a bright colorful location with bridges, buildings and even a carousel.  A beautiful lighthouse can be seen in the background surrounded by a marina and the Aquarium of the Pacific. Also, try the Queen Mary, View more from shoreline village

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Santa Ana Art District – Great spot for that urban feel.  There are lots of old buildings and storefronts, alleyways and rooftop views.

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Old Town Orange / Chapman University– Great location with an old town feel.  There are lots of old buildings and storefronts, alleyways, fountains and Chapman University is also a great spot for some pictures on the weekend.

Balboa Park / San Diego Zoo – Balboa Park is a great location with amazing architecture, museums, and gardens.  While were there why not visit the Zoo!

Balboa PArk Engagement Session San Diego Locations

Other San Diego Locations to consider are The Gas Lamp District, Torrey Pines State Park, Solana Beach, La Jolla Beach and Belmont Park.

Hotel del Coronado – Coronado Island
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Downtown Los Angeles (Great spot on Sundays, most of the businesses are closed so not many people around) Great spot for engagement sessions!  The city behind you, the architecture of the concert hall and the city streets are a breathtaking sight.

Other Los Angeles Locations:  Griffith Park Observatory (Only on Mondays), Abandon LA Zoo at Griffith Park, Santa Monica Pier, Old Movie Lot Paramount Ranch, Venice Canals, The last bookstore ($75 fee), Greystone Mansion ($300 fee), Huntington Library (fees do apply), Solstice Canyon, Arlington Garden, Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden ($50 fee +)

Mountain Locations(Perfect during the summer months) We have some beautiful mountain areas that make for some really beautiful pictures.There are not usually a lot of people around so it makes for a great spot. Lake Arrowhead, Big Bear, Mt Baldy, Los Angeles National Forest.

Big Bear Lake –  Big Bear Lake is a bit of a drive but really has some beautiful locations around the lake to shoot.

Big Bear Engagement Session Location

Lake Arrowhead – Closer than Big Bear and one of my favorite locations. Start out by the lake and then head over to one of the mountain turn offs for some amazing views of the Inland Empire at sunset.

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Desert Locations: (I do not photograph here is the Summer, except for the Ariel Tramway)

Palm springs, Palm springs windmills, Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and top of the mountain, Joshua Tree, Salton Sea, Salvation Mountain.

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Not sure what to wear for your engagement session? Take a look at a new post with suggestions that will help.