Southern California has so many locations to choose from when looking for an engagement session location but these are my favorite. Having been privileged to travel all over southern California photographing engagement sessions and weddings, I have been to some pretty gorgeous locations. I wanted to put a blog that had the top places in Socal to help you choose the location for your engagement session.
Vasquez Rocks is a popular engagement session desert location. This is one of my top desert locations because it’s less than an hour from Los Angeles and the rock formations are unlike any other. You can come here all year long and it will look the same.
One thing to note: I recommend going about 30 minutes before your session. Whether you have a sunrise session or sunset session, you will have to leave your car outside of the park to avoid getting it stuck inside after the rangers close the gates.
Look at more images from this amazing Vasquez rocks engagement session.
So underrated and beautiful! The Prime Desert Woodland Preserve is perfect for all photo sessions. Get the look of Joshua Tree National Park without having to make the drive.
Malibu is full of amazing engagement session locations but one of the most popular (for good reason) is Malibu Creek State Park! Want that boho look? Well, this is the place to get that. The best time to come here is during summer when the grass is very dead and tall, but you can come all year long and it still looks amazing! It’s a bit of a walk so don’t forget to bring comfortable shoes.
Rancho Palos Verdes has so many locations to choose from. You really can’t go wrong choosing this location for your engagement session. Here are some images of my favorite locations.
Tip: If you want to go to multiple locations here, I recommend an adventure session. We can really explore these locations and you could have multiple pictures with different outfits.
Joshua Tree National Park is an all time favorite! The combination of the rock formations and joshua trees is unreal. Not only that, almost every location you go to here is very different. Here are my top locations to explore and take your photos at: Jumbo Rocks Campground, Cholla Cactus Garden, and Hidden Valley Campground. There are plenty of other locations here so feel free to inquire and let me know what you’re looking for.
One thing to note: You will need a photo permit for your engagement session and elopement. Here’s a link for more information. If you book a session with me, I will take of everything so you won’t have to. Also, I recommend an adventure session so we can explore a few places.
Angeles National Forest has some of the best locations for engagement sessions. Many of these are hidden gems and that makes them so much more special. You can get both a forest vibe and extraordinary sunset like the images below. You can’t go wrong either way.
This location looks like Joshua Tree. If you want a location that looks like Joshua Tree National park but don’t want to drive far and want to save on travel fees, I recommend this place. This location has rock formations, Joshua trees, sand, and an awesome view of the desert. 10/10 would recommend this place for your engagement session.
Sunset Cliffs is perfect for engagement sessions and elopements in San Diego. The rugged cliffs make it a very popular spot and an amazing place for your engagement photos.
Pro tip: Arrive early especially during warmer months so you won’t have to be looking for parking. Also, if you choose this location, I recommend having your session here during the week.
If you want a forest vibe in your engagement photos, look no further because this is the place I recommend aside from Angeles National Forest. In case you didn’t know, Southern California has its own Redwood Grove. Normally you have to travel to northern California to be able to see these trees, but luckily Southern California has its own.
Oak Canyon Nature Center is an amazing location in Orange County. It’s one of the few locations that photo permit is affordable.
Torrey Pines State Reserve is another popular location in San Diego. You can get some pictures on the cliffs and end your session at the beach. You can get very different backgrounds within the same location which I personally love.
Los Angeles has many hidden gems and this is one of my favorite. Bronson cave is also known as the batman cave. It isn’t too far from the Griffith observatory and would recommend it if you want to explore more of the city.
El Matador Beach is a very popular engagement session location in Malibu. This beach has it all: cliffs, rock formations, coves and epic sunsets.
Tips: Recommend you go at least 30-40 minutes before your session because the parking lot gets very full and you still have to walk to the beach which will take 10-15 minutes. If you want to beat the crowd, I recommend a sunrise session. You will most likely have this place to yourself.
The Griffith Observatory is one of Los Angele’s most iconic landmarks and engagement session locations. It’s perfect if you want a combination of architecture and natural landscape. This location is also perfect if you want something that represents Los Angeles.
Ferndell trail is the perfect second location if you have an adventure sunrise session at the Griffith observatory. It is about 5 minutes away and there’s plenty of street parking.
This location is very popular and for good reason. The architecture at this place is amazing. This place has so much personality. It’s one of my favorite places in Pasadena.
These are my favorite southern California engagement session locations but here are other options.