Favorite Locations for your Orange County Photo Session!
Location. Location. Location.
One of the first questions clients, or potential clients, always ask about is where they should do their session. To help make it easier to choose, I've put together this list, complete with pictures from previous sessions, of my favorite locations in Orange County for your photo session. In no way is this inclusive of every location but these are my favorites, tried and true.
When looking at locations, consider where you and your family normally spend time and let that help guide you. For example, a lot of people choose the beach because we are blessed to live in one of the most beautiful places in the whole world. But, if you hate the beach... don't like the sand, don't want to get wet, hate the noise of the ocean.... DON'T CHOOSE THE BEACH AS YOUR SESSION LOCATION. Let's discuss and I'll help you pick the perfect location for your family!
This is my top pick.... forever and always!
Hands down, this is my favorite location.... I adore this cove tucked away in Laguna Beach. The point with the palm trees gives me all the Hawaii vibes and makes the perfect backdrop. I love way the sunlight filters through the palm trees around sunset. Absolutely drop dead gorgeous!
Los Rios District in San Juan Capistrano
Diverse and perfect for little kids!
This location has so many diverse spots to shoot at, whether its along the train tracks (not on them, ever!), the beautiful garden or a gorgeous side street away from the hustle and bustle, this location is always a favorite.
Mission San Juan Capistrano
Without being the beach, this is one of our most uniquely California locations.... This is also one of the few locations that I actually prefer to shoot at in the morning because its cooler and less crowded.
This location requires an additional photo permit fee.
Jeffrey Open Space in Irvine
Grassy and green all year round!
I love this location because this is the only location that is green, all year round. With big tall pine trees and the afternoon sunlight is golden and a photographers dream! This location will also work if you need a session earlier in the afternoon instead of during golden hour.
Serrano Creek Park in Lake Forest
This location has easy access and ample parking.... and a gorgeous grove of eucalyptus trees that provides a perfect filter for that afternoon sunlight. One downside is that there is a playground and sometimes that makes it hard to keep littles from wanting to play instead of taking pictures. This is also an option for an afternoon session.
Oso Creek Trail in Mission Viejo
Quiet neighborhood trail
This location offers a lot of diversity between the creek overlook (with that gorgeous light I love), the opening to the tunnel and a fun bridge. There is also an open wilderness trail not too far away.
Lots of brick and alleys!
If you want something with an "urban" feel, lots of hardscape, brick and alleys, this is the location for it. I love this location for families with small kids and teenagers alike, as well for graduating senior sessions.
Calafia Beach Park in San Clemente
My favorite beach, besides Laguna
The wavy texture of the cliffs that border this beach make a unique and beautiful backdrop. And depending on the time of your session, we might be able to commandeer the lifeguard tower for some pictures. NOTE: no dogs are allowed on this beach!
Riley Wilderness Park in Coto de Caza
Wide Open Spaces
Rolling hills and big sky. You'll almost forget you are in the middle of suburban sprawl. Most of the year the grass is dry but still beautiful. IMPORTANT: this location has a lot of "nature" in the form of bugs, tarantulas, and... snakes. Oh my.
Nellie Gail Trail, Laguna Niguel
I feel like we have to work extra hard in our suburban sprawl to find rustic, wilderness locations. But this one fits the bill perfectly. Super convenient and centrally located in South OC, this area features a pepper tree grove, drainage tunnel and wooden fences. I shot this family on a cloudy day but the light filtering through all those trees would be amazing!!!
Urban Gaffiti Art Walk - Santa Ana
An "alternative" location
If you want an "alt" urban location full of awesomely rad graffiti and wall murals, this location is so much fun! A hidden gem in the Arts District of Santa Ana. And check out that gorgeous backlight in the alley..... perfect if you want something casual and fun. Or juxtapose the location by dressing up super fancy! This is a great location to be creative!
Lido Marina Village in Newport Beach
Orange County Mall Vibes
This location is in the heart of the Newport Harbor and combines mall, shopping vibes with ocean, yachty vibes. The "Let Your Dreams Sail" wall is a fun focal point for family images, as well as the docks with colorful "Duffy" boats or giant yachts. Oh so very OC. You might even see a "housewife" or two.
Additional permit fee required by location.
Redwood Grove in Brea
Redwood Grove - Carbon Canyon
Who knew we had a Redwood Grove in Orange County?!? Crazy...... its like you transported to Sequoia National Forest with it's big, beautiful trees. And you never had to leave the county! This location does require about a 10 minute walk on dirt trails to the Redwood Grove, but well worth it!
Additional travel fee of $50 for this location.
The Lab Anti-Mall, Costa Mesa
Another "alt" location....
Not your average photo session location. Its colorful, kinda funky but a lot of fun. This location only allows mid-week sessions in the afternoon and requires an additional photo permit.
Back Bay in Newport Beach
Orange County Wetlands
Back Bay is in Newport Beach off Jamboree and the 73 freeway. It has long been considered one of the most imporant ecological reserves on the California Coast. It offers a unique background because it's equal parts ocean and brushy wilderness.