A while back I wrote an article on how to choose an engagement session location that’s right for you, but today I thought I would expand on that concept a bit and specifically discuss some popular engagement session locations in Orange County! Let’s take a look at a few:
Downtown Santa Ana District
There are multiple downtown areas in Orange County, but this one is my favorite. Downtown Santa Ana has LOTS of great photo spots, textures, and scenery. Great food/drink options right there for after your session. Multiple parking structures but parking is paid so be prepared for that. Bring walking shoes. This is a popular downtown area so patience in working around other people. Give yourself plenty of time to move from one area to another and arrive early. Historic OC courthouse is nearby. The inside is closed on weekends but the outside has some great brick structures. Inside has some cool stairways and options for photos as well.
Permit: not required
Parking: Multiple parking structures are available and parking prices vary based on day/time/events (http://www.downtown-santaana.com/getting-here.html)
Click HERE and HERE to see more photos at this location!
This beach has a beautiful view of the ocean, some great rock features and an iconic “castle” available. This beach is open to the public and it is a popular spot, so some patience and respect for other guests is required while shooting here. The parking situation can get a little tricky and you do have to walk down a long staircase to access the beach, so planning to arrive extra early and bring a pair of comfortable shoes/sandals is a smart idea if you plan to use this location. Additionally, this location does not have any restrooms nearby. Not to worry though, I have a pop-up changing tent that I bring along for wardrobe changes!
Permit: Required. Starting at $100 (http://www.lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/community/permits/film_permits.htm)
Parking: Free street parking that can be a bit unpredictable. Plan to arrive early and wear good walking shoes
OC Parks Locations
There are a ton of options in OC Parks’ collection of nature trails and parks. Open fields, hills, nature scenes and a couple of cute bridges/water features make for great photo spots at these locations. You may have to do a bit of walking, so bring a comfortable pair of shoes to wear in between shots. It’ll be worth it, I promise!
Permit: Required, this is something your photographer can purchase annually so it shouldn’t cost you anything extra.
Parking: Paid. Typically less than $10, and varies based on location.
Click here to see more photos at this location!
Crystal Cove has beautiful views both on the beach and high up on the little lookout and parking areas. There are restrooms onsite too which is great if you need a quick break or a place to change clothes real quick. This option is also more affordable than some of the other beach locations, making it an ideal location!
Permit: Required. $65 for the day.
Parking: $15 per vehicle (you pay using an app)
Oak Canyon Nature Center
This location is a great classic for engagement photos. In addition to beautiful nature scenery, this location has a couple of bridges that make for great photo options as well!
Permit: Required. Starting at $25 https://www.anaheim.net/2028/Photography-Filming-Permits
Parking: Free on site
Click here to see more photos of this location!
Privately Owned or Locations With Personal Meaning
While the above-listed locations are indeed popular spots for engagement sessions in Orange County, the options are truly endless depending on your style and budget. When you’re looking for a location for your engagement pictures, think about what’s important to you as a couple. Does a lifestyle session at home suit your style more than a sunset on the beach? Then go for it! Did your fiance propose at your favorite restaurant? You could call them and see if they’re open to letting you have your session their during their slow/closed hours. Do you or a friend have connections to any unique or privately owned locations with a great view? Explore the option! One note on this though, be sure to definitely ask permission in advance – you don’t want to risk getting kicked out or fined in the middle of your session!
If you’re engaged, I’d love to work with you to create some unique engagement photos that capture your chemistry and style! Fill out the contact form to send me a message and get started!