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LOS ANGELES WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY | ORANGE COUNTY WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS
 

Orange County Engagement Location Options

When deciding on your engagement photography location(s), there are a few things to keep in mind.
Tip 1) Choose Fewer Locations, More Time at Each Location – The more time you spend in transit, the more time you are not taking pictures. The result is fewer pictures and potentially less-perfected pictures because of the rush to fit in multiple locations within a specific time frame. We limit our engagement sessions to two locations. If you require a third location, an additional hour is necessary.

Tip 2) Choose Private Locations – Locations that are busy present complications. In busy public places like Union Square or Pershing Square, it takes time for backgrounds to clear and at certain times, it’s entirely impossible to get a clean shot. This results in much fewer images and potentially images with strangers in the background. The second thing to consider is that public places are not always the most comfortable places to be in front of the camera. With strangers (and often times security) watching, it’s hard to let your guard down and act natural in front of the camera. This is another obstacle to overcome and often shows up in the pictures.

As you view the locations below, notice that we have indicated a traffic/crowd ratings of low, medium and high. Here’s what they mean:
Low*:  Low traffic areas a great because we have the freedom use any area at any time without having to wait for crowds to clear. Some clients also feel much more comfortable in these locations without onlookers.
Medium**: Medium traffic areas can sometimes be busy depending on the weather and day of the week. If it happens to be busy, we may get fewer shots because we have to wait for certain spots to open up.
High***: Shooting here can be a challenge because of the many tourists and photographers utilizing the same space. As a high traffic location, expect fewer photos because of longer wait times for clear shots.

Tip 3) Choose Simple Locations and Backgrounds – The main goal of an engagement session is to bring out the personalities of the couple and capture their interaction. Often times, all that this requires is a simple, clean background. Shots of you two laughing and having fun don’t require epic backgrounds. Below are a few examples:

engagement-photography

Tip 4) Choose Locations without Security or Lighting Restrictions – Many public places limit your ability to use off camera lights. These locations include Union Square, Pershing Square, Disney Land, many Bookstores and many other locations. Using off camera lights is how we create many of our artistic effects including mood lighting and back lighting. It’s also how we create flattering light for portraits via reflectors and diffused flash. Having restrictions on these techniques limits our ability to utilize all of our skills and tools available. Also, if a location requires a permit, be sure to take that into consideration. Sneaking around and getting kicked out of a location significantly affects the flow (and the overall positive vibe) of an engagement session.

Orange County Locations

Below we list our favorite Orange County Locations. For Los Angeles locations, please click here.

Willow Canyon (Laguna Beach)

For those who love the great outdoors, there are grassy fields, hills, and oak groves. There are several locations along Laguna Canyon Road to stop and shoot. First stop, Willow Canyon.

Best time to visit:If you want more green then plan for the winter and spring. Wild flowers grow for a limited time in the spring.
Optional 2nd Locations: Downtown Laguna Beach, Victoria Beach, and Heisler Park.
Sample: Laguna Canyon Road
Permit Fees: None
Travel Fees: None
Traffic/Crowds: Low*

James Dilley Preserve (Laguna Beach)

Also on the 133 is the James Dilley Preserve, similar to Willow Canyon but with more open space, tall grass and trees.


Best time to visit:If you want more green then plan for the winter and spring. Wild flowers grow for a limited time in the spring.
Optional 2nd Locations: Downtown Laguna Beach, Victoria Beach, and Heisler Park.
Sample: Example 1, Example 2
Permit Fees: None
Travel Fees: None
Traffic/Crowds: Low*

Heisler Park (Laguna Beach)

Heisler Park is known for it’s beautiful sunsets. On top of the bluff is a well groomed park. There are several coves to chose from with tide pools and sand.


Best time to visit: Heisler is beautiful anytime of the year
Optional 2nd locations: Downtown Laguna Beach, Quail Hill, and Laguna Canyon.
Sample: Click Here
Permit Fees: $100 (for all of Laguna Beach)
Travel Fees: None
Traffic/Crowds: Medium**

Caspers Wilderness Park (San Juan Capistrano)


Best time to visit: All Year
Optional 2nd Locations: Mission San Juan Capistrano, Downtown San Juan Capistrano
Sample: Laguna Canyon Road
Permit Fees: None
Travel Fees: None
Traffic/Crowds:  Low*

Victoria Beach (Laguna Beach)

Our number one most requested shot is located at Victoria Beach (image at the top of this page). Breathtaking tide pools and sunsets can be found here. Victoria also features a unique tower next to the cliff.


Best time to visit: Winter and Spring are the best times to get an image similar to the one found on top of this page. Summer and Fall require additional planning because access to the tide pools vary due to tide levels. Book well in advanced in Summer and Fall because there is only a few days in each month to access the tide pools.
Optional 2nd Locations: Downtown Laguna Beach, Quail Hill, and Laguna Canyon.
Sample: Click Here
Permit Fees: $100 (for all of Laguna Beach)
Travel Fees: None
Traffic/Crowds: Medium**

Downtown Laguna Beach

Downtown Laguna is filled with unique shops and it is a great location for a lifestyle shoot. Park like settings, old brick buildings, and the famous red telephone booth can be found here.


Best time to visit: Anytime of year! An additional 45 minutes is needed in your travel plans, due to high volume of downtown visitors, in order to arrive on time during the summer months.
Optional 2nd Locations: Quail hill, Laguna Canyon, Victoria beach, and Heisler.
Sample: Click Here
Permit Fees: $100 (for all of Laguna Beach)
Travel Fees: None
Traffic/Crowds: Medium**

Jeffrey Open Space (Irvine)

This is a little known gem in Irvine. It is a beautiful park with large grass meadows, a tunnel, and mature trees.


Best time to visit:Anytime of the year, it is a well groomed park and looks beautiful all year long.
Optional 2nd Locations: Quail hill, Laguna Canyon, Downtown Laguna Beach, Victoria Beach, and Heisler Park.
Sample: Click Here
Permit Fees: None
Travel Fees: None
Traffic/Crowds: Low*

Moulton Meadows (Laguna Beach)

Close to Victoria Beach and featuring a large beautiful tree, Moulton Meadows is a convenient first location for your beach session.


Best time to visit:Anytime of the year.
Optional 2nd Locations: Quail hill, Laguna Canyon, Downtown Laguna Beach, Victoria Beach, and Heisler Park.
Sample: Click Here
Permit Fee: None
Travel Fee: None
Traffic/Crowds: Low*
Note: What you see is what you get with this location, meaning there isn’t much else there besides the large tree that you see in the images above. If you’re looking for many options for the green, natural look, you’ll want to consider some of the Laguna Canyon locations instead.

Quail Hill (Irvine)

Quail Hill is a large open grassy hillside. The is an intimate tree grove near by to add to your session.


Best time to visit:Winter – The grass will be green for a limited time and there will be small crops of mustard flower. Spring – The grass will start turning a golden color and there will be small crops of mustard flower. Summer – We would not recommend Quail hill after the Santa Ana winds flatten the grass.
Optional 2nd Locations: Laguna Canyon, Downtown Laguna Beach, Victoria Beach, and Heisler Park
Sample: Click Here
Permit Fees: None
Travel Fees: None
Traffic/Crowds: Low*
More Examples: See This Pinterest Board

Newport Beach (all)

Newport Beach Pier, Balboa Fun Zone, and bike rentals make Newport Beach a great location to start your photo session.


Best time to visit:Anytime of the year but expect more people in the summer months.
Optional 2nd Locations: Newport Harbor
Sample:Newport Beach
Permit Fees: None
Travel Fees: None
Traffic/Crowds: Medium**

Private Mansion in South Orange County

We have worked out an arrangement with this property owner to use this popular OC Wedding venue for engagement sessions!


Best time to visit: Anytime of the year
Optional 2nd Locations:
Sample: Click Here
Permit Fees: $250
Travel Fees: None
Traffic/Crowds: Low*
Note: The private mansion has limited availibility  so let us know in advanced if you are interested in this location so that we may check the availability for you prior to booking.

Mission San Juan Capistrano

The mission is a beautiful historic location and if you want a more old world look then the mission should be your first choice. The train station is within walking distance from the mission and is a great area to finish the session.


Best time to visit:Anytime of the year but expect more people in the summer months. The mission closes at 5pm and we like to start our sessions 2 hours before sunset so keep this in mind if you plan on scheduling a session in the Summer.
Optional 2nd Locations: Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano Trails, Downtown San Juan Capistrano. We can do Laguna Beaches but would need to schedule at least 30 minutes for travel time.
Sample: Click Here
Permit Fees: $50
Travel Fees: None
Notes: Fee covers up to five (5) people photographed. Reservations must be made at least 48 hours in advance. Our studio managers can help with the process. The Mission also closes at 5PM so please plan your session accordingly.
Traffic/Crowds: Medium*

Downtown San Juan Capistrano

Quaint, small-town charm with cute boutique stores and a rustic vibe.


Best time to visit:Any Time
Optional 2nd Locations: Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano Trails, Mission San Juan Capistrano. We can do Laguna Beaches but need to schedule at least 30 minutes for travel time.
Sample: Click Here
Permit Fees: None
Travel Fees: None
Traffic/Crowds: Medium**

Dana Point (Harbor)

Dana Point has a park, a marina and hidden sandy cove. The Marina is nice and small and makes for easy navigation around the area. If the mission is your first pick and you want the ocean as your second location then we would recommend Dana Point harbor.


Best time to visit:Anytime of the year but expect more people in the summer months.
Optional 2nd Locations: San Juan Capistrano Mission, San Juan Capistrano Trails, Downtown San Juan Capistrano
Sample: Click Here
Permit Fees: None
Travel Fees: None
Traffic/Crowds: Low**

Crystal Cove (Laguna Beach)

Beachcombers, small sandy cove in Crystal cove, is the highlight of Crystal Cove. Trees line the path and a long tunnel places you on the west side of PCH. Beachcombers has little cottages on the beach that are great to shoot by.


Best time to visit:Winter – The grass will be green for a limited time. Spring – The grass will start turning a golden color and there will be small crops of mustard flower. Summer – We would not recommend shooting on the hillside of Crystal Cove after the Santa Ana Winds flatten the grass.
Optional 2nd Locations: Downtown Laguna Beach, Victoria Beach, and Heisler Park
Sample: Click Here
Travel Fees: None
Permit Fees: $75 
Traffic/Crowds:  Low*
Note: These permits are difficult to obtain so they require advance notice.

Other OC Locations

The Lab in Costa Mesa Permit Fee: $250.00

Other Cities and Regions

For Los Angeles County Locations, including Palos Verdes, Downtown Los Angeles, Long Beach, and others, please click here.

Wedding Resources & Advice

TIPS AND ADVICE FOR YOUR LOS ANGELES OR ORANGE COUNTRY WEDDING DAY

We know how difficult it is to plan your wedding. To help, here are some resources and guides to help you through the process. As wedding professionals with years of experience, we've seen it all! We're here to help you through the process. Whether you're looking for the best vendors or needing help with your timeline, we hope we can help in any way possible.