The Best Locations in the Bay Area for Engagement Photos

January 3, 2023 Tips, Engagements

I've constantly blown away by the natural beauty that surrounds me. I get to some spectacularly beautiful places ( As part of my job!) With such abundant choices, where are the best locations in the Bay Area to take engagement photos? There are too many to list, but I would love to share a few of my favorites. 

I like taking the time to get to know my couple and their background story. Sometimes the perfect place for engagement pictures jumps out during these conversations. There is no one perfect spot, just the perfect spot for you.

Hidden Beach, Santa Cruz


One of my favorite local beaches! We were lucky to have one of the most spectacular sunsets I have seen here in Santa Cruz. The sky was shades of vivid pinks, purples, and blues. Hidden Beach was the location of Audrey and Mathew's first very dates, where they finally admitted that they had feelings for one another. I love all animals and when couples bring their pets along to shoots! Audrey and Mathew brought along their dog, Laker, for a few pictures.

Read more of their story on the Knot's how they asked to blog here, see more of their dreamy beach engagement session, or their Seascape wedding here.

Bear Creek Redwoods Preserve, Los Gatos

Part I

Just south of Los Gatos, Bear Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve has six miles of hiking trails that meander along creeks and through the forest. Near the parking lot is a short, easy-access, self-guided trail that circumnavigates Upper Lake, an excellent spot for sunset pictures after our hike up the Old Growth redwood trail. 

Bear Creek Redwoods Preserve, Los Gatos

PART II

It was important to Ben & Kim to find old-growth trees that are so iconic to the coast of Northern California. Ecologists used the term "old growth" to describe trees more than 150 years old. After searching and going on a few location-scouting trips, we found the Growth redwood trail near Bear Creek Redwoods Preserve. It was a bit of a hike there and back again, but it was so worth it! A day spent in the forest is a great day.

See more of Kim & Ben's engagement session here.

Mori Point, Pacifica


Melanie & Eric love to go for walks at Mori Point in Pacifica, and it was a no-brainer to take their engagement photos there. We did this shoot in spring, which meant little bursts of colorful wildflowers were scattered all over the cliffs. I was blown away by this gem of a spot so close to San Francisco on my scouting trip. This location was breathtakingly beautiful and deeply meaningful to the couple, but most importantly, we got some fantastic pictures!

UCSC campus, Santa Cruz


If you are looking for a location that is not a beach or a forest, I have the spot for you! The tall grassy fields of the UCSC campus in Santa Cruz are dreamy! There are also some beautiful Oak trees and hiking trails. Carrie & Paul wanted their photos to have a boho look, and nothing screams boho quiet like a grassy field at sunset!

Carmel-by-the-sea


Carmel-by-the-Sea is a small beach town on California's Monterey Peninsula. It's known for its fairytale cottages, hidden alleys, and white sandy beaches with crystal blue waters. No wonder this little town is a popular romantic getaway spot and one of Maria & Tony's favorite places. After exploring the town's cobblestone roads and hidden alleys, you can grab a delicious picnic basket from one of the many delis, head to the beach for a romantic sunset, or end the evening at one of the world-class restaurants in the village.

See more of this dreamy engagement shoot, including pictures in the village, here.

Castle Rock, Los Gatos


Castle Rock State Park is a land of sculpted sandstone, lush forests, and sweeping vistas. From one of the highest ridges in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Located just outside San Jose, it was convenient for Oliva & Jon's engagement photos, who wanted that woodsy forest look. They did a great job with their outfits by choosing complementary colors. The red and burgundy pop out from the green of the trees. If you have the time to hike to the top, you are treated to a beautiful view.

Check out their rustic wedding at the Barns at Cooper Molera in Monterey here.

Lovers Point, Monterey


I mean, it's all in the name. This romantic little spot has become Pacific Grove's best-loved spot for picnics, lounging on the beach, or enjoying the scenic view. Because of its unique east-facing location, it is also one of the only spots on the West Coast where you can watch the sunrise over the water. For Kayakers Nina & Partick, Pacific Grove is the perfect launching spot to get out on Monterey Bay and view the coastline and native wildlife. They also traditionally end the day with lunch from the on-site snack bar.

New Brighton State Park, Santa Cruz


I'm biased here since this is one of my favorite beaches in Santa Cruz! (Not only because it's walking distance from home) The forested bluffs offer a campground, hiking trails, and sweeping views of Monterey Bay steps from a sandy shore. Devon and Nick came up from LA to visit family over Thanksgiving, and we got the most dreamy fall engagement photos.

You can also see their fairytale redwood forests wedding here.

There is no one perfect spot, just the perfect spot for you. I would love to hear your love story and help find the perfect location for your engagement photos that is beautiful and meaningful to you and your partner.