TOP 5 ENGAGEMENT PHOTO LOCATIONS IN SOCAL // ORANGE COUNTY WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER

Los Angeles Photographer RACHEL WAKEFIELD

TOP FIVE ENGAGEMENT LOCATIONS IN SoCAL

Southern California is KNOWN for being not only a beautiful sunny place to live, but has diverse and perfect locations to take your engagement photos!

A few things may come to mind when initially thinking of locations to do your engagement shoot. Maybe your first date spot, favorite place to grab a drink together or something as easy and simple as the beach! Who doesn’t love the beach? Or maybe you’re doing a destination engagement session, or dreaming one up! Where to begin? How long does it take to travel between locations?

TOP FIVE LOCATIONS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA TO SHOOT YOUR ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS

CORONA DEL MAR

Not only does Corona Del Mar have LESS people hanging around, it is especially convenient for your budget as they don’t require a film permit. One of the biggest hurdles in Southern California when it comes to shooting on the beach is obtaining a permit for your shoot (which can be around $100 or more).  Making this sweet beach the perfect spot for you and your photographer to be comfortable! There are large rocks, open sandy areas and even a charming neighborhood all within walking distance. Not to mention, public clean restrooms! Great for changing outfits in.

Little Corona Del Mar Engagement Photography

SAN BERNARDINO MOUNTAINS

The possibilities are endless when it comes to the San Bernardino Mountains! I have yet to explore all of the hidden gems in these beautiful california mountains! An easy access to the mountains for breathtaking views is just up by Mt. Baldy. Conveniently one of the closest mountain towns to Los Angeles. I recommend getting out and exploring a mountain town prior to bringing your client along. Take the day before to scout out some spots.

San Bernardino California Engagement Location

JOSHUA TREE / PALM SPRINGS

Joshua Tree Engagement Photography Location

Is shooting in the desert just a trend? Or a real iconic vibe? I can’t say enough about shooting out in Joshua Tree (the park and in the town). It’s got a wild desert feel, with a funky vibe! The large rocks make things interesting, you can dress up or down for this location. Or hey, why not do both?! The desert is the perfect spot for a boho or rock music lovin’ couple to do their engagement shoot. And I’m pretty sure hotels / air bnb's are pretty cheap out there too!

IMPERIAL SAND DUNES

Nothing compares to the breathtaking views of the sand dunes! California’s sand dunes are 3.5 hours from Los Angeles, and only 2.5 hours from San Diego. The seamless rolling dunes create stunning images, especially in the sunset light. See my recent shoot at the dunes here.

Imperial Sand Dunes Elopement Inpsiration

SANTA MONICA

Santa Monica is ICONIC for Southern California.

Santa Monica Engagement Shoot Location in SoCal

It’s an easy and fun place to shoot. Everything from downtown santa monica to down by the beach. Here are some fun location ideas for your engagement shoot!

THE PIER // Grab ice cream, walk the pier, watch for dolphins 🐬

BOARDWALK // Ride bikes or skate together!

BEACH // Surf, eat pizza or watch the sun sink into the horizon.

DOWNTOWN // From street vibes to grabbing your favorite drink together, downtown santa monica is right next o the beach and makes the perfect location to incorporate your favorite date night activities into your shoot!

Just the iconic palm trees alone— you can’t go wrong with shooting your photos here!

I recommend shooting here during the slow season, so that tourists aren’t flooding the beach! Basically, I’d avoid shooting during the summer months!

BONUS // Malibu is just up the PCH if you want to get all three vibes in one session!



Final Thoughts //

Always check to see if you need a permit.

If you’re a photographer, be sure to scout your locations prior to bringing clients.

If you’re a client, be sure to trust your photographers final decisions regarding location (they know best when it comes to the lighting).

CJLA // CALABASAS

CJLA // CALABASAS

Let me just start with the fact that I’m obsessed with Old Town Calabasas. SO. CUTE >> Clay and I are hoping to actually go up there for a farmer’s market on the weekend (thanks Jazz for the recommendation) and browse the cutie little area. From the old buildings, quaint community to the smooth cup of coffee at Pedalers— it’s just perfect. I can imagine coffee in hand now.

LOCATION // Calabasas, California x Pedalers Fork

CLIENT // CJLA x Carly Jean Los Angeles (pssst do yourself a favor and give them a follow on insta. they’ll basically do your wardrobe shopping for you!)

JACELLE x CASEY | Imperial Sand Dunes // LA Wedding Photographer

JACELLE x CASEY | Imperial Sand Dunes // LA Wedding Photographer

Sand Dunes Engagement Shoot // Los Angeles Couples Photographer

wind was fierce, but so were we. & these guys are beyond romantic.

nothing could go wrong with this free-spirited, gypsy inspired engagement shoot.

HMU // Boho Bird Salon

DRESS // spell bride

LOCATION // Imperial Sand Dunes, California

CJLA SHOOT // Los Angeles Lifestyle Fashion Photographer

CJLA SHOOT // Los Angeles Lifestyle Fashion Photographer

A few months back I was approached by the sweet women of this incredible company. Of course I'm all about a good clean brand of clothing, but I'm also all about a group of women who are out for the good of others. That's what the ladies at CJLA are all about. Encouraging other women. I love these ladies and what they're all about. 

This shoot allowed me to creatively express myself, share their brand + dive into commercial photography.

Carly Jean Los Angeles
Malibu, CA
Los Angeles Fashion Photography
Los Angeles Fashion Photographer Rachel Wakefield

Trevor x Kami // Intimate Engagement Photography

Trevor x Kami // Intimate Engagement Photography

All I have to say is that when you get a message on instagram from a pro baseball player (guys I know about zero when it comes to sports) telling you how head over heals he is for his girl Kami, you've got to respond right away. :) Kami and Trevor, I'm so excited to share your story with everyone, it's uniquely beautiful and written by God. Such a good story!! Also, #goroyals 🤩

Location // Hitchcock Nature Center in Honeycreek, Iowa

Hair x Makeup // Alison Lapke
insta: @alison__mua x alisonmua12@gmail.com

PERSONAL // What it looks like to be a mom + photographer at the same time.

PERSONAL // What it looks like to be a mom + photographer at the same time.

I feel like everyone wants to know a more personal side of the person they see online. I mean, who doesn't? I wanted to share these photos of me and my sweet Zoe and Cohen for a few reasons. I spend much more of my time durning everyday serving, playing and teaching these two sweet faces. Photography only takes up probably 20% of my week (when you're a mom you've got owning a business down to a science!! haha). These guys make my real job being their mama and I love that! I feel like no one sees that from the other side of the screen. All they see is wedding photos, travel adventures and coffee dates out…