Top Orange County Engagement Photo Locations
Below you'll find some of my favorite portrait session location recommendations.
There are a few things to think about when choosing a location for your session. First and foremost, choose a location that fits your personality or hobbies. If you guys are frequent beach goers, then obviously the beach would be a great spot to capture your photos. If you're more formal, then maybe a more urban and architecturally diverse location may be a great fit. There are no "wrong" answers, but I've found throughout the years that couples are usually most comfortable in settings that make sense for who they are.
Another important thing to think about is what time of day and also whether a weekday or weekend would be best for the location that you choose. I always recommend scheduling your engagement session about a couple hours before sunset which gives us the opportunity to take advantage of the best light of the day. Also, if you want to shoot at the beach, I highly recommend capturing those photos on a weekday to minimize large groups of people in the background, especially during the spring and summer. If scheduling your shoot on a weekday isn't an option, I would recommend scheduling your engagement session bright and early at sunrise on a weekend so we can take advantage of the beautiful light while also reducing the possibility of having large groups of people in the background.
Thomas F. Riley Wilderness Park
The wilderness park has become one of my favorite engagement photo locations in Orange County. Rolling golden hills, huge oak trees, tall grass, and if you're lucky, you'll even see a deer or two. It's also centrally located to where you can start a photography session there and then move on to the beach to have a nice mix of southern California scenery.
This is one of the most popular cities to capture engagement photos in Orange County. I love shooting here because there's a lot of variety in scenery. We can start off by shooting on Main St. in front of the local shops and cafes then make our way down to the beach for sunset photos. One of my favorite beach locations, Victoria Beach, is a little south of downtown Laguna but well worth making the 5-10 minute drive. I usually recommend scheduling about 2 hours to give us plenty of time to capture a few settings and maybe even an outfit change.
San Juan Capistrano (Los Rios District & Mission)
For this location, you have a few options for your photography session. The Mission in San Juan Capistrano is always a great place to shoot. It features beautiful stone buildings, pillars, a large courtyard, and flowers throughout. There is a photography permit fee of $75 and reservations must be made beforehand.
The train station is also popular location in San Juan Capistrano with it's brick buildings and right across the railroad tracks you'll find the Los Rios District. The Los Rios District is home to a plethora of cute little historical buildings that are home to cafes, restaurants, and art galleries. It's definitely a rad place to shoot.
Segerstrom Center for the Arts
The Segerstrom Center for the Arts is located in Costa Mesa across the street from South Coast Plaza. If you're looking for some awesome architecture, look no further than the Segerstrom. There are two main buildings that serve as amazing backdrops and also an enormous steel sculpture by Richard Serra that is a feature of the center.
Corona Del Mar
CDM is a great beach location for an engagement shoot. The neighborhood next to the beach has beautiful homes and streets that serve as cute scenes for your session. The beaches below are some of the most beautiful in Orange County that feature tide pools, tall cliff sides, and huge rocks. As mentioned above, if you want to shoot here, I highly recommend scheduling your engagement session on a weekday or at sunrise on the weekend.
Another awesome beach location in Orange County is Seal Beach. It's a cute little beach town that doesn't feel like it's in Orange County. There's a cool Main St. with small shops, a long pier, and also at the north end of the beach, two huge rock jetties. As with other beach engagement photo locations, I recommend a weekday sunset or weekend sunrise shoot to avoid the crowds.
Irvine Regional Park
Irvine Regional park isn't located in Irvine, it's in the city of Orange. This location is perfect if you're looking for a more outdoorsy feel for your engagement session. There are a couple hiking paths we can shoot on as well as large fields, empty roads, and even some rolling hills if you're up to walking a few minutes to reach them. It has tons of variety and we can spend your whole session there.
Newport Beach obviously has beaches that we can use to capture your engagement photos but it also has some other awesome places to shoot. One of my favorite locations in Newport is Balboa Island. Balboa Island is an area of Newport that has a carnival feel to it with arcade games, cotton candy, and even a mini Ferris wheel. It's a great location if you're looking for a fun and playful place to shoot.