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Best Engagement Photography Locations in California

California is the place to go if you’re looking for adventure, sunshine, and fabulous food. From gorgeous coastal towns to snowcapped mountains – there’s something in California for everyone! Also, the weather in this state changes with the seasons in various regions, making it a perfect destination for year-round exploration. With its beautiful beaches and iconic locales (think Hollywood Sign), the Golden State easily qualifies as one of the best engagement photography locations.

Imperial Sand Dunes

The Imperial Sand Dunes extend for 40 miles and average 5 miles wide, making it one of the most epic destinations on the list of the best engagement photography locations in California. The dunes are formed by ancient desert sand grains and they lend a timeless feel to photos. A trip to the dunes requires a bit of a drive and plenty of walking, but the photos you can capture here make the trek more than worth it. Give yourself plenty of time to explore and check the weather apps so that you know what to expect.


imperial sand dunes engagement lin and jirsa photography


Simplicity at its finest! No need for extra props to make your photos stand out. The location itself will do that for you! The dunes are the perfect place to be if you’re looking for some peace and quiet. Photographers often do a great job at making locations look empty, even when they’re bustling. But this location offers plenty of open, empty space in all directions. For photos, that’s a great thing! Moreover, golden hour over the sandy ridges looks divine!

Photo by: Lin and Jirsa 

Address: Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area, California 92227, USA

Official site:

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

The Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is a staple of California’s natural landscape. In fact, the reserve was created with both environmental protection and native wildlife preservation in mind. When you walk through the redwoods and see the ocean views, it’s hard not to be impressed by nature’s beauty. Given its unique topography, Torrey Pines provides plenty of opportunities to pose for those romantic shots between the mountains and the ocean.


torrey pines engagement lin and jirsa photography


The Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is a trove for environmentalists and nature lovers alike. The rugged cliffs protect the southern end of these bluffs from development, while providing awe-inspiring scenery thanks to its proximity to the ocean, especially when viewed against the vibrant San Diego sky backdrop during sunset hours or sunrise in early mornings!

Photo by: Lin and Jirsa 

Address: Torrey Pines State Reserve, 12600 N Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA

Official site:

Paramount Ranch

The Paramount Ranch is a special place in Hollywood. Some of the most memorable moments and events from cinema have taken place here, making it extra special for movie fans! You can even have the whole ranch to yourself as you explore the area and take ample of photographs. Whether for your engagement session or an artistic photo shoot, this place will provide the perfect cinematic backdrop.


paramount ranch engagement lin and jirsa photography


They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, this one will make your jaw drop to the floor because of the star factor outcome of your photos! Also, your dream wedding or star party is now a reality at the Paramount Ranch. You’ll be able to enjoy music festivals and classic movie nights, while looking out over some amazing views too!

Photo by: Lin and Jirsa 

Address: 2903 Cornell Rd, Agoura Hills, CA 91301, USA

Official site:

Balboa Park

Balboa Park is a diverse, lush place where you can enjoy the cultures of many different people. Explore all of the spots, from garden-like grounds with fountains to forests full of life. You can also wander through the classic Spanish architecture, while also feeling mid-century modern thanks to the eye catching flair that runs throughout the location. Don’t forget to wear your favorite dress or that suave ensemble too, as you make your way towards the expansive park for your lovely engagement photo session. Discover endless romance here at this enchanting spot.


balboa park engagement lin and jirsa photography


Cross “visiting more of the world’s best museums” off your bucket list! From dinosaurs and space travel to science and human endeavors – there’s something at Balboa Park that will spark your interest! A whole range of activities means there is always something new for you to try. You’ll have a blast with all the art and music classes here as well. Plus, there are strolling musicians who will play for you!

Photo by: Lin and Jirsa 

Address: Balboa Park, San Diego, CA, USA

Official site:

Los Angeles Arts District

The Los Angeles Arts District is one of the most sought-after engagement photography locations in Downtown. It’s a must-see for any art lover who wants to experience LA at its most creative, colorful, and diverse. The eclectic mix of cultures has created some truly breathtaking architecture that will no doubt inspire you, both visually, as well as culturally speaking. It’s no wonder this place is on the top list of the best engagement photography locations in California.


los angeles arts district engagement lin and jirsa photography


Art and music lovers can’t get enough of the Arts District with a lineup of galleries and music venues, where you can catch talented bands playing live every night. The area has also seen an influx of young professionals who are excited to live there, adding vitality to this artsy community. Tourists and locals alike love this legendary place.

Photo by: Lin and Jirsa 

Address: Arts District, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Official site:

Coronado Ferry Landing

Coronado Ferry Landing has a picturesque view that almost seems intentionally design for engagement photography! The scenic location and easy access to the beach makes it easy to be captivated by this island locale. There are shops for all of your needs, as well, including jewelry stores and amazing restaurants that feature just about every type of cuisine you could want. Get ready to strike a pose and put on your best smiles in front of this beautiful backdrop.


coronado ferry landing engagement lin and jirsa photography


Gourmet food and exquisite service awaits you! The minute you step into this outstanding area, your senses will be overwhelmed by the most delicious smells, not to mention sounds, with classical or upbeat music playing nearby. You’ll be treated like royalty as waiters walk by with trays filled with gourmet food for people to enjoy. It doesn’t matter if it’s an anniversary celebration or just dinner out. In essence, your day will be filled with excitement and romance all at once!

Photo by: Lin and Jirsa 

Address: Coronado Ferry Landing Park, 1201 1st St, Coronado, CA 92118, USA

Official site:

El Matador Beach

El Matador Beach is a great place to be if you’re looking for some time alone with your thoughts or a casual date with your partner. This incredible engagement photography location offers an unparalleled view of the ocean. You can take a seat at one of the tables in the cliffside picnic area and watch the waves crash on the beach below, or head down to the sand and pose for your own IG-worthy engagement photos! The rock formations that line the beach set this location apart from other beaches in Southern California, giving it unique appeal. The amorous beauty here goes beyond words, making it an easy pick as one of the best engagement photography locations in California!


el matador state beach engagement lin and jirsa photography


Also, a hike to the beach is a great way to spend some time in nature and see how this world thoroughly works. The crashing waves and sharp cliffs are worth the climb. The golden hour sunsets always provide perfect lighting for engagement photos. The views from up there in 360 degrees will take your breath away with its majestic grandeur!

Photo by: Lin and Jirsa 

Address: 32200 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265, USA

Official site:

Pfeiffer Beach

Pfeiffer Beach is a hidden paradise in the Big Sur area that features one-of-a-kind, breathtaking scenery. It’s hard to miss the prominent arch at this beach. Waves break against it, sparkling in a variety of colors before they’re absorbed by its surface and letting out their own unique melodies on their way back down again. The sunlight even passes through it, creating a magical outcome! Certainly, this natural wonder is a must-see for any visitor.


pfeiffer beach engagement lin and jirsa photography


Pfeiffer Beach offers photographers great opportunities for sensational images!

Photo by: Lin and Jirsa 

Address: Pfeiffer Beach, California 93920, USA

Official site:

The Huntington Botanical Gardens

The Huntington Botanical Gardens consists of a wondrous 130-acres, featuring 16 various majestic gardens. The variety in greenery and plant life here is awe-inspiring, with some sections resembling more of a tropical forest than a botanical garden! Experience a fairytale-like photo shoot as you explore scenic pathways through the blooming flowers and glistening trees. Just imagine the bewildering beauty that will come out of your engagement photos as well.


the huntington botanical gardens engagement lin and jirsa photography


For those who enjoy gardening in their spare time, this is a great place to visit! The Huntington has an extensive collection of botanical living collections, which are highlighted by pristine orchids and winsome camellias. They offer lectures, workshops, and demonstrations that allow visitors to learn about flora species first-hand. You can also buy them from their indoor nursery!

Photo by: Lin and Jirsa 

Address: 1151 Oxford Rd, San Marino, CA 91108, USA

Official site:

Newport Beach Vineyards and Winery

Newport Beach Vineyards and Winery offers excellence in winery! Talking about the best wines in all of California? You won’t find a better place than here. They’ve got a little bit of everything for everyone to enjoy – whether you’re looking for an extensive list or just want something classically rare to appreciate! You can take a taste of delicious red and white wines while overlooking the splendor of the ocean. Cherish the panoramic scene from your engagement photo session as you ease into that natural and heart-to-heart pose.


newport beach vineyards and winery engagement lin and jirsa photography


Personalized weddings and intimate events are not the only things this winery is known for. The staff at this one has a knack for crafting award-winning wines since 2001! With over 15 years of experience, it’s no wonder couples love coming here to get married or host their next party on site with expertly trained wine specialists by your side every step of the way!

Photo by: Lin and Jirsa 

Address: 2128 Mesa Dr, Newport Beach, CA 92660, USA

Official site:


For many couples, the day of their engagement session will be the one they’ll never forget. That’s because it’s not just about capturing beautiful moments together. This is an opportunity for you two to share something more personal. Choose a location that represents the both of you on the deepest level! Does he likes the sound of the waves and walking at night? Does she like coffee dates and colorful flowers? These are the details to note when crafting your very own engagement photography session. Make it all about the both of you, and the sky will only be the limit!

Downtown Los Angeles

As an increasingly popular destination, Downtown Los Angeles has become a hub for dining and entertainment. Many new places have popped up on just about every corner in the area, including some incredible restaurants with fresh cuisine and live music venues! Visitors won’t be disappointed! The vivid beauty of the astonishing city lights will make an exquisite backdrop for your engagement session. Cherish the lively atmosphere that Downtown LA has to offer!


downtown los angeles lin and jirsa photography

Photo by: Lin and Jirsa 

Santa Monica Pier

The iconic Santa Monica Pier is a beacon for travelers and photographers alike! It juts out into the Pacific Ocean at its intersection with Colorado, and it is rich with local history. Here, couples will have the time of their lives as they pose for spontaneous and fun shots. Truly, this is a feast for photographers, as you make your way towards the pier in anticipation for a perfect day for your engagement photo session.


santa monica pier engagement lin and jirsa photography

Photo by: Lin and Jirsa 

Thomas F. Riley Wilderness Park

The Thomas F. Riley Wilderness Park is a hidden sanctuary where you can find the peace and tranquility that most people only dream of. In addition, this beautiful area houses plenty of native plants and various animals. The area is perfect for bird watching and other outdoor activities, too. It even has rolling hills with canyons in between, making it an absolutely gorgeous spot! In addition, the lighting in this place is stunning. You can simply set up a picnic blanket and have that natural and chill photo shoot! Talk about being one with nature for your engagement.


thomas f riley wilderness park engagement lin and jirsa photography

Photo by: Lin and Jirsa 

Joshua Tree National Park

Come visit Joshua Tree National Park and experience all that it has to offer! This place is home to several interesting and often unexpected backdrops for engagement photography, including unique rock formations, beautiful cactus gardens, 360-degree views (from Ryan Mountain), and old western vibes. Some of the spots, like the popular Hidden Valley, require a bit of a hike (about one and a half miles), but it’s perfect for couples willing to go on a desert adventure for their engagement photos. Make plans to visit in the winter or spring, if possible, to avoid the crowds and summer heat.


joshua tree engagement lin and jirsa photography

Photo by: Lin and Jirsa 

Noguchi Garden

Isamu Noguchi’s “California Scenario” is one of Southern California’s most iconic locations. The layout and features make it feel like an interactive outdoor gallery! The contemporary art features various distinct pieces, like the pyramid and running stream, that span five decades worth of work by this master sculptor. It also showcases indigenous plants and materials in an interesting way.


noguchi garden engagement lin and jirsa photography

Photo by: Lin and Jirsa 


When planning your engagement photography session, it’s important to connect with the details that are significant to you as a couple. Personal stories are always fun to incorporate as well, like where you met or what you were doing when that first “I love you” happened! Whatever you decide to do, you will have plenty of options for capturing incredible engagement photos in California.


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Browse your favorite California Engagement Session Locations by Maps.


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