Northern California is one of the top wedding and engagement photos locations thanks to its beautiful and diverse landscapes! As a Southern California photographer who was born and raised here, I can say this state has many gorgeous and absolutely breathtaking wedding and engagement photo locations that you must see! From the rugged coastline of Big Sur to the rolling hills of Santa Barbara, there are endless opportunities for stunning photos! Here are my favorite Northern California wedding and engagement photo locations to help you plan your wedding or engagement photo session:
Oh, how I love Santa Barbara! Santa Barbara is a picturesque coastal city with a Mediterranean-style climate and plenty of outdoor activities! The city's iconic Spanish Colonial architecture provides a romantic backdrop for engagement photos, while its beaches offer stunning views of the Pacific Ocean! If you know me you know I’m a beach girly at heart so anywhere on the beach is my go-to!
Santa Barbara has several beaches to choose from, each with its own unique look and feel. East Beach is a popular spot for its wide sandy shoreline and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. Leadbetter Beach is another great option, with its rocky cliffs and picturesque pier!
Downtown Santa Barbara offers plenty of options for wedding and engagement photos as well. The historic Spanish-style architecture provides a romantic backdrop for your photos. Stroll through State Street or take a walk along the waterfront to find the perfect spot.
For a more rustic setting, consider taking your photos in the Santa Ynez Mountains. This area features rolling hills, vineyards, and oak forests that make for an idyllic backdrop. You can also explore some of the local wineries or visit one of the nearby lakes for a truly unique experience! No matter which location you choose, you're sure to get beautiful engagement photos in Santa Barbara!
Los Alamos is a small town nestled in the Santa Ynez Valley, just north of Santa Barbara. This charming town offers a variety of scenic backdrops for photos, including rolling hills, lush vineyards, and rustic barns. Los Alamos also has several historic buildings that make great settings for vintage-inspired photos!
One of my favorite locations to shoot wedding and engagement photos are the nearby Jemez Mountains. These mountains offer breathtaking views of the surrounding area and are perfect for capturing those romantic moments! There’s nothing better than being surrounded by panoramic views while running around in mother nature!
San Luis Obispo
San Luis Obispo is another favorite of mine! SLO is a vibrant college town located halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco! This city offers plenty of unique photo opportunities, from its historic downtown area to its nearby beaches and mountains. San Luis Obispo also has several parks and gardens that provide beautiful natural settings for photos. Including the iconic Madonna Inn, Bishop Peak, and Avila Beach. For a more urban feel, you can check out downtown SLO or the historic Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa! BUT If you're looking for something unique, consider the Bubblegum Alley or the Cal Poly campus. No matter what type of backdrop you're looking for, San Luis Obispo has something to offer!
Don’t get me started on Big Sur! This is by far one of my favorite Northern California wedding and engagement photos locations! I truly can’t say enough about this location whether you are planning on having your engagement session here or eloping! It's AMAZING!
Big Sur is one of the most breathtaking stretches of coastline in California! Its dramatic cliffs, towering redwoods, and pristine beaches make it an ideal location for photos! Whether you're looking for a romantic sunset shot or an epic landscape photo, Big Sur has something to offer everyone.
The iconic Bixby Bridge is a popular spot for photos, with its dramatic views of the Pacific Ocean and the Big Sur coastline! McWay Falls is another popular destination, with its 80-foot waterfall cascading onto a secluded beach. Point Lobos State Natural Reserve offers stunning views of the ocean and rocky cliffs, while Garrapata State Park has miles of trails through redwood forests and along the coast.
For a more rustic feel, consider Pfeiffer Beach or Andrew Molera State Park! Both offer stunning views of the ocean and plenty of opportunities to explore. If you're looking for something more urban, Monterey is just a short drive away and offers plenty of interesting locations for your photos!
If you haven’t gotten the chance to go to Carmel-by-the-Sea then you must! It is such a cute, charming seaside village located on the Monterey Peninsula! This quaint town offers plenty of romantic spots for wedding and engagement photos, including its white sand beaches and picturesque cottages. For a more adventurous shoot, consider exploring one of Carmel's nearby state parks or nature reserves.
If you’re a local bay area gal then you know all about Santa Cruz and its laidback vibes! If not then it’s time to add it to your bucket list! Santa Cruz is a beachside city located on the northern edge of Monterey Bay. This laidback town offers plenty of opportunities for stunning photos, from its iconic boardwalk to its nearby redwood forests and beaches. Popular spots include Natural Bridges State Beach, Santa Cruz Wharf, and the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. Natural Bridges State Beach offers stunning views of the ocean and beach, while the Santa Cruz Wharf provides a unique backdrop with its colorful buildings and boats. The Santa Cruz Boardwalk is perfect for couples who want to capture some fun memories with rides and games in the background. All locations offer plenty of opportunities for creative shots that will make your wedding and engagement photos stand out!
Half Moon Bay
Half Moon Bay offers a variety of stunning locations for photos. The beach is a popular choice, with its wide sandy beaches and dramatic cliffs! The Pillar Point Harbor is another great option, with its picturesque harbor and lighthouse. But if youre looking for a more rustic feel, the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve is a great spot to capture the beauty of nature! It’s also always so much fun heading down to the historic downtown area as it provides plenty of charming backdrops and spots to casually walk around and get some candid shots!
San Francisco is one of the most iconic cities in California and offers countless opportunities for amazing photos! From its iconic Golden Gate Bridge to its bustling Chinatown district, this vibrant city provides plenty of unique backdrops for your special day where you can run around and fully embrace the craziness that San Francisco has to offer!
No matter which Northern California wedding and engagement photos locations you choose for your engagement session you’ll undoubtedly have an unforgettable day and I can’t wait to capture it for you!
I find beauty in the mundane, normal, small moments that others seem to miss, which makes what I do the epitome of my dream job! If you're looking for the laid-back engagement or wedding experience of your dreams, let's hang out! I’m so excited to give you all the nostalgia and memories bursting out of every single photograph! Learn more about me here, and if you think we’d be a great fit, let’s get in touch!
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