Best Engagement Session Locations in California by Los Angeles Wedding Photographer Brandi Potter

It’s not a secret that California is one of my favorite places to be. Honestly, it gets better with time, because I find more and more things to love about the state every time I go back. I’m pretty excited to be on the West Coast permanently so I can continue exploring and finding new places to shoot. So for now lets go through all of my favorite spots up until this point in time.

1. Glacier Point – Yosemite

If you can get up here at sunrise then it’s totally worth the early start of the day. You avoid the crowds and get one of the best sunrise views I’ve ever seen. There’s just something magical about sunrise in Yosemite, especially from a high vantage point. (See full session here)

 

2. Leo Carrillo Beach in Malibu

I LOVE shooting in Malibu. I love the ocean and the rocks and the birds and the sand. All of it is just so magical and beautiful. The best thing about Malibu is that the weather is so versatile. I’ve been to Leo Carrillo and it’s been extremely foggy and I’ve been when the weather has been absolutely perfect. It’s great to be surprised and have something different to work with every time. (See full session here. )

3. Black Sand Beach – San Francisco

Black Sand Beach is one of my favorite locations in the Bay Area. It’s mostly private (it’s a bit difficult to get down to and back up) and is beautiful and pristine. PLUS if you like to boulder then you can hit a couple of routes while you’re down there. (See the full session here.)

4. Venice Beach

One of my favorite places in California has always been Venice Beach. I became obsessed with it when I was a senior in high school and started listening to The Doors. The atmosphere and the street vendors are so upbeat and the perfect spot to get that Southern California vibe. (See full session here.)

5. Yosemite Valley

There are so many amazing places in Yosemite, it’s literally the perfect place for any type of shoot. The valley is basically a beautiful playground full of every type of woodsy landscape you could ever hope for. It is important that you stay off of restoration areas though, so keep that in mind while shooting. Practicing the leave no trace policy is so important for all of us to be a part of. (See full session here.)

6. Vasquez Rocks

I love the desert so much so if I can be in the desert with giant rocks then I’m a happy girl. It’s such a cool spot with all kinds of fun shadows to play with. It’s a nice little piece of the desert that’s not terribly far from Los Angeles. (See full session here. )

7. Malibu Pier

Malibu Pier is another really nice beach spot to shoot at. You have the pier itself and then you have the beach area. The sunset is beautiful from the pier and there are even some really great restaurants nearby you can go to after the shoot. (See full session here. )

 

8. Joshua Tree

OF COURSE Joshua Tree is on this list, and obviously it’s not numbered by best to worst, because otherwise Joshua Tree would be towards the top of the list. It’s such a magical landscape that’s perfect for shooting and exploring in, you’ll want to make an entire weekend of it. (See full session here.)

 

9. In a Sequoia Grove

Being inside a Sequoia Grove is a magical experience. It’s like stepping into the past and seeing the world as it was centuries ago. There are several places you can go to in California for this, but please remember to be respectable of the trees and wild life.  Stay on the trails, don’t jump fences, and be careful not to trample new growth. (You can see a full session in Mariposa Grove, here.)

10. Hawk Hill – San Francisco

We definitely saw why it’s called Hawk Hill when we were shooting. We witnessed several hawks overhead which was pretty cool actually. Hawk Hill overlooks San Francisco and is incredibly easy to get to + it’s gorgeous. (See the full session here)

11. Yosemite

Again with Yosemite. Honestly, it’s just an overall magical place with so many hidden gems. You can’t go wrong if you choose to do your session there, or even to get married there. It’s a wonderland of all things outdoors that’s just waiting to be explored. (See the full session here.)

 

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