Choosing family photo locations in Los Angeles can be a challenge because there are literally thousands of amazing choices where you can take family photos. Listing them all would be no easy task, so I’m going to do a quick breakdown of the types of locations available and how you might choose.
When I’m discussing locations with a new client who doesn’t know where they’d like to have their session, I like to break the options down into a few big categories:
We’re lucky to have so many gorgeous trails and they can be found everywhere throughout the city — even the middle of Hollywood. (Check out Ferndell in Griffith Park or Runyon.) The most photogenic trails are in the foothills above La Crescenta, La, Canada, Altadena, and Pasadena or in the hills around Malibu. Check out my last post about kid-friendly trails for details about some of my favorite trails in the San Gabriel Valley.
If you’re an outdoors-y family that likes to spend time out in nature, this might be the right choice for you.
Not really an outdoors family? Choose a cityscape instead!
Los Angeles is a city comprised of smaller cities and neighborhoods and often those neighborhoods will have a cute and photogenic downtown area. Go to Venice Beach for a hip, beach-y vibe, Old Town Pasadena for stately brick alleyways and some fun murals, or the Arts District in Downtown LA for murals, graffiti and DTLA architecture.
I think there is no better light than the sun glinting off of the Pacific at sunset and that is why the ocean is one of my favorite family photo locations in Los Angeles.
There are a lot of beaches to choose from — El Matador is probably the most photographed beach in LA County, with its beautiful rock formations — but you can’t go wrong at Manhattan Beach, El Porto, Leo Carillo, or Zuma. I recommend shooting at the beach between October and March and avoiding the summer months when they start to get really crowded.
Some of the public gardens can have location fees in the hundreds of dollars (Descanso Gardens) or thousands of dollars (Huntington Gardens). But if you have your heart set on a manicured garden setting, there are affordable options like the Arlington Garden or the LA Arboretum. If you’ve got your heart set on a golden hour session, make sure that the garden doesn’t close before sunset.
There is nothing more authentic than a family in their own space. I love this option because I never know what sort of magic we’ll find in your own backyard. Usually, everyone is able to relax and have fun because there was no rush to get ready and get to a location and these sorts of photos can really reflect who you are as a family and the love that you share.