Explore San Diego with me!

I'm excited to share some of my favorite places in San Diego for portrait sessions. Every photographer has their favorite spots they absolutely love taking clients to and these are mine. Of course San Diego is huge and full of gorgeous locations so the adventures don't stop here!

My hope of sharing this quick and fun post is to share some of my favorite locations with clients and other professionals. This post is only a glimpse of what San Diego has to offer for amazing photoshoot locations, so don't forget to explore other parts of my website for more inspiration.

These locations are in no special order.....Here we go, enjoy!

Windansea Beach

Hands down one of the prettiest beach spots in La Jolla. This spot really isn't a secret anymore and I'm not surprised one bit. Most gorgeous spots like this one rarely remain a secret for too long, right?!


One of the reasons why I love Windansea Beach is the variety it offers. There are lots of open spots (during low tide), rocks to climb and be adventurous on (careful!), large crevices/gaps between the rocks for those artistic shots, beautiful green moss, and of course, the pretty hut that stands on top of the small cliff. I would definitely put this spot on your travel checklist if you haven't visited it yet.

Pic Info: This session was taken before Sunset in the Fall, and oh my gosh it was perfect. This beach is rarely empty as shown in the photo (haha I wish), so I often edit to remove unwanted background items and people for beach sessions. If I'm able to do this then I definitely will for my clients.

Sunset Cliffs

Every time I capture a session here, I instantly fall in love all over again and cannot wait to come back. It truly is that amazing.

Sunset Cliffs runs far along the coast so it offers so many stunning spots to choose from. I really enjoy Sunset Cliffs Natural Park and often take clients here since there's so much to capture in this one area. There's also parking right next to the trails that lead to the coast. It is a little bit of a walk from the parking lot to the cliffs (about 8 mins, not bad!) but it's well worth it. I often recommend bringing comfy shoes to change in and out of just in case!


Most importantly, be safe. The cliffs, like most, are not always stable - you'll see signs posted throughout the park. Always observe your surroundings and supervise children if present. For family sessions with little ones who are always on the go, this may not be a great spot.

Marian Bear Park

If you haven't been here yet, do it! It's such a great trail for everyone, including children. There are several locations connected to this park which makes it exciting for photoshoots. During the spring you get to witness some of the prettiest greenery ever! During the Fall the trees are full with pretty Fall colors throughout the park. I especially love taking clients to the large tree trunk and field, but the spots here are truly endless. Also, some quick perks of this location is the parking space and the nearby places that are less than 5 minutes walking distance. There is also a tunnel where I can take clients through to visit the other side of the park. I often recommend this to couples and families who have done photoshoots here more than once.

Balboa Park, Old Cactus Garden

This garden is located at Balboa Park and is perfect for any length of shoot. This spot is especially pretty right before sunset during "golden hour." For families and couples trying to venture out to different spots at Balboa Park, I typically recommend a minimum of 30 mins for pictures here. It's also perfect for a one hour shoot because of the variety it offers.

Coronado Beach, Sand Dunes

Absolutely one of the prettiest beaches to visit and explore. I often take clients to the sand dune area and capture them while the sun is setting in the background. This location is also spacious which allows most sessions to feel more private. The sand dunes are located near Hotel Del and water so clients get a little of everything which I love. This has become one of my favorite beach spots in San Diego, especially for families. It's honestly perfect for every type of shoot!

Old Poway Park

Love this place! If you're looking for a rustic and fun look then this is it. It's a family friendly area, with lots of places for the kiddos to play and enjoy, which makes the photoshoot not so boring for them. That's a plus, right?! haha


For photos, you have lots to choose from. There is the box cars like the picture above, bridges, awesome railroad tracks, barns, and lots of pretty trees.

Pic Info: This was a late afternoon/early evening session. This spot also works great in the mornings since there are lots of shaded areas available for photographers to play with if the sun gets a too harsh. The first picture above was taken in front of the popular box car. It's one of my favorite spots that I normally take clients to first if it's not congested. And of course there are the railroad tracks that can be found around the perimeter of the park. These make for amazing photos as well. :)

Sweetwater Steel Canyon BRIDGE

This place was a hidden gem for me. I recently began bringing clients here about a year ago and I wish I had done it sooner. The bridge is definitely the main feature at this location and there's so much you can do with it. Also, the architectural design of the bridge stands out and make the images pop even more. It really is a beautiful spot.

Pic Info: This grad session was captured right before sunset. This place is no secret but it still isn't as crowded as other locations, which is great. There's also a small parking lot and street parking close by.

Sweetwater Steel Canyon TRAIL

I love taking clients to this location for the bridge. However, the trails behind the bridge are absolutely stunning and such a gorgeous location for pictures. There is so much greenery during Winter and Spring, and beautiful neutral tones during the Fall. Most clients get the opportunity to explore the bridge AND trails so if you enjoy a nice variety then you'll love this spot!

University of San Diego

Yes, that's right, this school is gorgeous for photoshoots! There are beautiful gardens, building structures, the Immaculata catholic church, and lots of pretty greenery throughout the university perfect for pictures. I've had multiple clients capture their session here and I can see why. This location is also perfect in the mornings or evenings so flexibility is available especially for families with little ones.

Moonlight Beach

So pretty! The pictures definitely speak for themselves. This beach has so many wonderful features but the one I love the most are the pebbles along the water. This photoshoot was taken during the summer when the skies are more clear. The sunsets are always gorgeous here which is why I'm always anxiously waiting to go back!

Balboa Park, Architecture

Balboa Park truly has it all! For families I typically recommend choosing 2-3 spots to possibly travel to during a one hour shoot. However, on average, couples are able to travel easily to 4-7 of their favorite spots! For Balboa Park, I can offer several fun ideas, depending on the style you are looking for. Also, most clients have found that they end up discovering pretty spots the day of the shoot.

Scripps Pier, La Jolla

La Jolla has many gorgeous spots for coastal pics and this is one of them! You get the pier in the background and on the right side clients can play on the rocks and include the cliffs in their pictures. Pictures under the pier is what this location is known for. Photographers travel from all over for this stunning pier and architecture.

Coronado Beach, front of Hotel Del

This spot can also be found at Coronado Beach, not too far away from the sand dunes as seen earlier on this page. Most sessions can include both spots but if the sand dunes are not your favorite then we can take them here. You also get the famous Hotel Del in the background. Just a friendly reminder to clients that photographers are not allowed on Hotel Del premises but photographers may still take pictures on the beach with Hotel Del in the background. Still very pretty!

Mountain Hawk Park, Chula Vista

This beautiful couple introduced this park to me on their wedding day and I fell in love with it! You experience more of a rustic vibe here and the mountains in the background are stunning. I'm not surprised one bit that this couple decided to come back to this park for family pics with their adorable pup. It's beautiful.

Bayview Park, Coronado

This was a proposal bright and early in the morning. You get to witness the sun rising above San Diego's gorgeous skyline. I would recommend an early morning shoot for the skyline at this location. It's a small park so I would say this spot is most popular for the background.

Belmont Park, Mission Beach

This spot is perfect for everyone, especially the beach! If you are feeling a little adventurous and don't mind the crowds then Belmont Park is perfect and a ton of fun. There is a pretty carousal, rides, neat patterns and backgrounds throughout the park, and the beach is in walking distance.

Penasquitos Ranch House

Love love love this location! This is a ranch home museum open to the public. I consider this a hidden gem since it's rarely crowded. There are so many gorgeous spots here, it's sometimes hard to cover them all. To name a few, there is the pretty field, barn nearby with red doors, cactus, and lots of large beautiful trees. Fun fact: I did my very own maternity photos here because I love it so much. :)