Top Engagement Photo Shoot Spots in Nor Cal
From rolling hills to beachside cliffs, California has beautiful scenery all around. Enchanted forests, rolling hills,
breathtaking valleys, and romantic vineyards – there is so much beauty to choose from! Just scroll down and
you’ll know what I mean!
For some of the most gorgeous engagement photos, here are the top five spots in Northern California you won’t
want to miss:
1. Marin County
The Marin coastline is located close to Golden Gate Bridge, a short drive outside of San Francisco. If you are
looking for a location away from crowds, Rodeo Beach is a great place to start. From there you can head up to
the cliffs to capture stunning views of the ocean. The cliffs frequently have fog passing through, which can add a
magical feel to the pictures as well. Point Reyes is about a 1.5-hour drive away from the city.
A popular spot for pictures is at the Cypress tree tunnel, which offers beautiful symmetry and depth. It’s not
surprising that this spot is so popular for photographers, and you may run across some if you end up going there.
Closer to the Point Reyes shoreline is the Point Reyes Lighthouse – a beautiful, historic building built in 1870,
surrounded by breathtaking views of the ocean. For accessibility and other information on the Point Reyes
Lighthouse, visit the National Park Service – Point Reyes webpage.
One last destination (as if Marin County did not have enough beautiful places listed already!) is Muir Woods National
Monument. As the sun rays beam through the trees, spreading light to the whatever they touch, you can get whimsical
pictures that capture light in a dramatic way. If you want to avoid the crowds and parking issues, plan to come on a
2. Lands End/Sutro Baths
The Lands End Coastal Trail in San Francisco is a short stretch of trail that includes both forest and ocean views. The
trail winds through cypress trees along the cliff edges. The Coastal Trail starts just above the Cliff House Restaurant –
a nice place to eat after you get hungry taking all those pictures! The trail is moderate with a few steep stairways, but
you don’t have to go through the whole trail to get a few beautiful shots. The trail opens up to the most breathtaking
vistas: the bay, Golden Gate Bridge, and the steep cliffs of Lands End. Exercise caution and stay on the trail and away
from the steep cliffs. There are plenty of safe and accessible spots to get beautiful pictures.
Sutro Baths is located at Lands End just north of the Cliff House. Explore the historic, concrete ruins of Sutro Baths built
in 1894. The Sutro Baths were demolished in the 1960s and a fire burned up what remained of the facility. These ruins
now provide both a stunning and modern place for photo shoots. As you walk on the concrete ruins surrounded by water
and when the sun hits at a certain angle, it creates reflections in the water that make for stunning photos.
3. Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is one of the world’s greatest natural wonders, a well-known and popular tourism spot, and a great
photo shoot spot for nature lovers. It has some of the most beautiful views in the United States. Yosemite Valley and Glacier
Point are great spots to take pictures, with rivers, forests, waterfalls, and serene meadows. Glacier Point is accessible by
car from approximately May through October and provides a spectacular overlook of Yosemite Valley, the famous Half Dome,
and Yosemite Falls. Yosemite Valley offers views of multiple waterfalls, one of the most famous views of Yosemite Valley
(the Tunnel View), and El Capitan and Bridalveil Fall in the distance. Sentinel Bride, located in Yosemite Valley, has a
beautiful view of Half Dome reflected in the Merced River.
Keep in mind the weather and park conditions before you decide if you want your photo shoot in Yosemite. In the winter
and spring there is usually snow, and some roads may be closed or chains may be required. In the spring, the waterfalls
are abundant with water, and in the fall, some waterfalls are dry and fires are common in the area. For current park
conditions, visit the National Park Service website.
4. Lake Tahoe
An underestimated photo shoot spot, Lake Tahoe offers beautiful views year-round. Emerald Bay is a great place to
start. For a variety of pictures, take some from the picturesque overlook (known as “Inspiration Point”) and then head
down to Emerald Bay Beach and Vikingsholm Castle. In late September through October, the leaves start to show off
their beautiful splendor as they change colors. Drive down Emerald Bay Road, and you won’t be able to resist taking
pictures by the tall aspen trees changing colors.
If you’re interested in other locations that have beautiful fall foliage, visit The Top 10 Best Places for Fall Colors in
Lake Tahoe. Another beautiful spot in Tahoe is Sand Harbor beach, with its crystal clear blue water, large boulders,
and soft sand. Lake Tahoe has beautiful sunsets, and when combined with the lake in the background, it calls for a
beautiful backdrop you won’t want to miss.
Napa Valley is known for its rolling hills covered with vineyards. If you want something Tuscany- inspired, romantic, and
charming, Napa is the place to go! Domaine Carneros winery has a beautiful entry to the winery, with a few flights of stairs
surrounded by flower gardens, greenery, and vineyards. Castello di Amorosa is a medieval-inspired 107-room castle and
winery. Greenery and vineyards surround the castle, and you’ll feel like you’re in Tuscany.
At the center of Napa Valley is a charming town called Yountville, with stone and brick walls, ivy-covered buildings, vineyards,
and picturesque little spots everywhere in the Yountville Marketplace. Although there are many beautiful wineries in Napa,
one more worth noting is The Hess Collection Winery, with its stunning, ivy-covered wall and brown double doors. These are
some of the many beautiful spots Napa has to offer. Your photographer should check with the wineries before taking pictures
at the venue, as some wineries have rules and limits in place or require advance notification.