From the desert, to the ocean, I have been blessed to grow up in Los Angeles and call this city my home for the past 30 years. Now if you’re engaged, and stumped on where to shoot, you could not be in a better place. My top 5 engagement shoot locations in Los Angeles are not only so diverse from one another, but they are also places I believe are the easiest to shoot at; No permits are needed, easy parking (for the most part) and just down-right epic in their own ways. Here we go.
Malibu Creek State Park
Located in the Santa Monica Mountains, Malibu Creek State Park is the perfect location if you’re wanting endless fields of tall grass to run through with your boo, hand in hand. There is also a nice mix of canyons and trees for that epic backdrop of your dreams. Best time of year to shoot are the summer months because everything becomes golden and the light is hands down the prettiest I have ever seen. Bring water, wear boots, and turn on that Fitbit watch of yours. You’ll walk/hike a bit, but every step will be so worth it. Trust me.
DTLA Arts District
If you’re that couple that wants to grab a craft beer before or after the shoot (I recommend Arts District Brewery or Little Bear) and want that city vibe in your photos, DTLA Arts District is your spot. First off, it’s that perfect distance from the high-rise buildings in the city to get those sky-line views. There are countless cool warehouses, fun murals and abandoned properties to capture that urban feel you’re going for. The historic 4th street bridge over the Los Angeles River is also a HUGE plus and its architecture is so pretty for photos.
Nicknamed “Kirk’s Rock” after being featured in numerous Star Trek episodes, Vasquez Rocks is the best alternative to Joshua Tree. As epic as Joshua Tree can be, you’ll need an entire day free, a park pass, and a permit to shoot. Vasquez Rocks doesn’t require a permit, is a mere 35 minutes outside of LA, and has those same cool rock formations that Joshua Tree does. It’s great to shoot here because parking is easy, no hiking is necessary and it’s always empty. That is, unless if Joe Shmoe decides to shoot his alien cinematic masterpiece that day. It happens, but the park is huge! You can easily find another rock to shoot on.
El Matador State Beach
Growing up in Southern CA and practically living on the coast, there are COUNTLESS beautiful beaches to choose from if you’re wanting the ocean in your engagement photos. El Matador is hands down my favorite though, because it’s not just the sand and water in your shot. There are massive rock formations, tide pools and arch rocks that make your engagement photos just that much more epic and dynamic. Only downside of shooting here is that you’re not the only one. From maternity shoots, proposals, engagements and Sandy posing for the gram, you’ll find more cameras than rocks on this beach. Don’t be mistaken by Google referring to El Matador as “Malibu’s hidden gem.” It’s far from that and they need a bigger parking lot too! If you’re planning on shooting here, I would highly recommend a sunrise shoot to cut out the crowd.. or find a photographer that’s good at Photoshop. 🙂
Angeles National Forest
I used to be intimated by Angeles National Forest. The Angeles Crest Highway is a long and windy road that would give me anxiety driving on (huge cliffs), and anytime I pulled into the forest, I had this overwhelming fear of locking eyes with a mountain lion. BUT, luckily, that’s yet to happen and nothing beats this place if you’re wanting that forest feel. Trees are massive, the light is beautiful and the mountain views are breathtaking for engagement photos. Only tip is to check the weather during winter before you go, as there can be snow. Also, purchase an Adventure Pass to park your car within picnic areas. You can find either a day or year pass at a nearby liquor store or at most sporting goods stores. They don’t sell them in the park!