Best Engagement and Wedding Photo Shoot Locations in San Francisco
So you’re planning your engagement or wedding in the San Francisco area? Looking for a location to have a photo shoot on that special day? This is a very important decision to make as the photos that will live on after the event will be your memories to cherish forever. You want them to be an image of you and your partner and, of course, set in a location that represents well your life together.
Are you and your partner romantics? Are you more traditional? Or are you more modern and trendy types? We’ve put together an assorted list of the most beautiful locations in the San Francisco area that will surely spark some ideas for your upcoming photo shoot. One of these picturesque locations is sure to be the perfect place to immortalize your day!
Palace of Fine Arts
The Palace of Fine Arts was originally built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition to temporarily exhibit art. It has since been rebuilt and the grounds have been renovated to upgrade the lagoon and walkways. It still hosts art exhibits today and is a very famous site for weddings and event photography. Many couples choose this historic landmark for their photo shoots because of the grand rotunda structure, the impressive Greek style colonnades, and the facing lagoon that reflects the building beautifully.
The Palace of Fine Arts can be rented for wedding celebrations or can be accessed for photo shoots only. The place can accommodate up to 1000 people and is equipped with high quality sound systems to keep your guests dancing throughout the evening.
On any given day, you may find yourself wandering into some couple’s wedding photos simply by being on site. This is how popular this site is!
If you are all about the view, then Twin Peaks is definitely your spot! The site hosts two 1000-foot-high hills that boast 360 degree views of the city. They rest right in the center of San Francisco and when at the very top you can see every single iconic San Francisco landmark; from the Golden Gate Bridge, to Alcatraz, to downtown with all its skyscrapers. There simply is no other better view of the city than from Twin Peaks. This is where the locals go and this is definitely the place to go for a photo shoot with a mother-of-all views.
Portrero Hill is a peaceful family oriented area of San Francisco that has exceptional views of the bay and of the city. The area seems far away from the city center and yet the skyline of the city is very well defined from the hill. This makes for great wedding and engagement photos. If peace and quiet are what you are envisioning for your special day photo shoot, then Portrero Hill is an excellent place to consider.
Fort Mason is located in the Northern Marina District of San Francisco and is a former US Army post. It now has an Arts Center, a small chapel, a firehouse and several other venues that can host weddings and events. Views of the San Francisco Bay are stunning from this area. Sure to be inspiring for your photographer!
If nature, beaches, and wildlife are your priorities for your photo shoot, then you should put Marin Headlands on your list of places to shoot your happy day. Marin Headlands is a mountainous peninsula in the San Francisco area where you can get distinctive views of the Golden Gate Bridge, pose on the numerous cliffside belvederes, and also sink your toes in the sand on one of the beautiful beaches. Marin Headlands in the spring is place to a multitude of blooming wildflowers that are sure to pleasantly enhance your photos.
Fort Point is located at the southern side of San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge and is a former US Army post. It now is a United States national historic landmark that offers stunning views of the San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate Bride. Sure to result in epic images.
Pier 14 rests on Embarcadero amongst other similarly numbered Piers, but this one in particular is famous for wedding and engagement photos because the length of it makes you feel like you are reaching out over the water of the bay. It offers a great view of Bay Bridge and of the city that naturally provides a great backdrop to any photo shoot.
Baker Beach is another popular engagement and wedding photo shoot location because it has one of the best views of Golden Gate Bridge. It’s a busy place where people go to to walk on the beach, exercise, fish, and even sunbath in the nude. It is well known for being romantic and with spectacular views at sunset. Romantics will enjoy photo shoots here!
San Francisco City Hall
If elegance and refinement are what you are looking for, we recommend the historical landmark, San Francisco City Hall. It’s warmly called the People’s Palace and is a fantastic location for a sophisticated wedding or engagement photo shoot. The structure has a lavish rotunda and an extravagant staircase that make photo shoots look magical and royal.
The Presidio is a former military base that is now a popular National Parks recreation area with Golden Gate Bridge a short walk away. The location has several chapels, cabins, and clubs that can host events. The Presidio also has a golf course and if you and your partner are avid golfers, this can be a great backdrop for your photos.
Ready, Set, Choose a Spot!
Discuss with your photographer the possibilities of going to these locations and share your ideas with him/her. They may have already had a photo shoot in one of these places and be familiar with the site and offer some excellent concepts.
Tips When Shooting in Busy and Public Places
Try to set the time of the shoot at a moment when you think that the site will not be packed with people. This is especially true for the touristic places. Early morning, or even sunrise, can be a beautiful lighting opportunity and you’ll be certain to have less people around.
2. Make sure to verify the opening hours of the location. You don’t want to arrive all decked out in your wedding gown only to be greeted with a locked gate.
3. Bring an extra pair of shoes for the occasions where you will be walking a lot.
4. If you intend to shoot mostly outdoors, try to avoid shooting during midday/high sun. This is the least flattering light for portraits.
5. If shooting in one of the more remote outdoor places, or in a high altitude site, make sure to bring warm clothing in case the degrees drop during your shoot.