Best Places in Southern California For Wedding Photos

Here are the best places in Southern California to take wedding photos, according to the pros.
by Jaimie Dalessio

We know your search for the perfect place to take your portraits can be as stressful as your reception-venue hunt. That's why we talked to our favorite Southern California photographers to narrow down your options. Whether you're looking to scale the cliffs or shoot at sea level, we've got you covered -- plus, we tell you what you should know before you plan a session there.

Malibu Bluffs State Recreation Area in Malibu

"When couples want both water and green for their photos, we suggest this park. Located right across from Pepperdine University, it has a beautiful view of the ocean and some cool plant life that make for dramatic photographs. Another bonus is that there are several beaches within a quick drive, so there's a lot of variety right in that one area." -- Lindsey Hinderer and April Killingsworth, Sweet Monday Photography, Los Angeles,

Crystal Cove in Newport Beach

"This beach has wild grasses, rocks, wooden benches and privacy. It's a hike down long, winding paths to the water, so it's very secluded. From here, the view of the sunset is un-obscured and the best in all of Southern California. There's also a bluff the photographer can stand on to get a wide shot of the bride and groom." -- Jenny Stafford, Red Loft Studios, Long Beach,

Montage Laguna Beach

"Just below the resort on the beach, there's an arch at the mouth of a cave. I love the rock features, and the shoreline is just gorgeous." -- Steven Lam, Steven Lam Photography, Los Angeles,

Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach

"Couples with a playful side will love the nontraditional photo ops here. There are water views along with a Ferris wheel and a merry-go-round." -- Jenny Stafford, Red Loft Studios

The Lavender Fields at Fullerton Arboretum in Fullerton

"There are lavender fields in front and to the side of a little Victorian-style house with a wraparound porch. By shooting through the lavender, the house appears in the background but the image has a softer look, as if you two are on a desolate farm in Middle America. Yes, there's a beautiful lake with quaint bridges too." -- René Dille, The Story Keeper, Anaheim Hills,

Shoreline Village in Long Beach

"This spot has a harbor, lighthouse, pier, colorful shops, and a view of the Queen Mary. There are also sandy areas, tall grasses and wooden walkways for an East-Coast feel. This location has great parking, so if you're pressed for time on your wedding day, there's no stress about finding a spot." -- Jenny Stafford, Red Loft Studios

The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla

"One of my favorite places to shoot in La Jolla is in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego La Jolla, in front of a 20-foot-high sea wall facing the cliffs and ocean. The wall stretches about a half a block down the street and is made up of multicolored jagged rocks, which creates great texture. Sunset is a great time to go because it enhances the warm, rustic colors of the wall." -- Tim Otto, Tim Otto Photography, San Diego,

Seal Beach

"It's much quieter than most Southern California beaches. The pier is beautiful with wooden slats and old, curved lamps. Sometimes there's hardly anyone there and you have your very own private beach for photos!" -- Jenny Stafford, Red Loft Studios

Corona Del Mar in Newport Beach

"There's a staircase that leads to a beautiful beach in the section of Corona Del Mar that runs toward Poppy Avenue. It has great rocks and caverns in the background." -- Crissy Farah, Christine Farah Photography,

Adamson House in Malibu

"It's got amazing Spanish architecture, flowers and lush greenery with a wonderful view of the ocean. If you want, you can walk down to the beach, but if you don't, you can stay on the property and still have photos with the beach and the whole coastline behind you. The lighting is always best right before sunset, but there are plenty of shady areas as well if you wanted to take pictures in the middle of the day. You can't shoot there when a wedding is going on, so check with the venue before you schedule a session there." -- Kim Fox, Kim Fox Photography, Los Angeles,

Santa Monica Pier

"Although it's crowded, you can get fun shots on the pier -- while you two are on the Ferris wheel or playing games -- as well as on the beach, just walking around. You can even pose under the pier!" -- Jenny Stafford, Red Loft Studios

The Wedge at Newport Beach

"At the end of the peninsula, you can take photos on a line of rocks separating the bay from the beach and the lifeguard towers." -- Crissy Farah, Christine Farah Photography

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