There is no doubt that the San Francisco Bay Area is one of the most beautiful and sought after places in the world to say I do! Or simply a perfect location for their Engagement Portrait! We have some of the most fabulous natural and man made beauty in the world here in the Bay. From the sweeping views of downtown San Francisco to the lush vineyards of Sonoma and Napa, the San Francisco Bay Area delivers a world class package when it comes to Wedding and Engagement Photography. One of the benefits of being a San Francisco Wedding Photographer,  is that I get to photograph couples in a variety of locations with breathtaking natural beauty.  I thought that this would be a good place to give you my take on all this, so here we go!

Once you’re engaged, one of the things on your to-do list will probably be the hunt for a fabulous Wedding Photographer. One of the best, most exciting parts of Wedding Photography is shooting an Engagement Portrait! Its so much fun for the couple and the Wedding Photographer to spend an afternoon together in a relaxed atmosphere with no pressure or time constraint. One of the biggest benefits of having an engagement portrait is that it gives you the chance to get to know your Wedding Photographer – most couples that have taken an Engagement Portrait are more relaxed when taking photos on their Wedding Day as they already know how their photographer works and they feel more at ease. It's tough having your picture taken by someone you have never met! Most of the great Wedding Photographers I know typically include an Engagement Session as part of their Wedding Packages.

So, you’re Engaged AND you’ve found that fabulous San Francisco Bay Area Wedding Photographer – but how to and where to take photos?! In my experience, its important to head for locations that are meaningful to you, places that stir emotion and feeling between the two of you – maybe the site of that first stroll along the beach, or a first kiss, the proposal, the spot that ‘I love you’ was first uttered or a favorite place that you both go to be alone with each other. There are so many special places to take your engagement portrait! Here are a few of my favorites….

Golden Gate Bridge from Baker Beach

Some of the most spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge can be seen from Baker Beach. Its like a postcard, the Marin Headlands visible to the east coupled with the rugged cliffs of Baker Beach, clean sands and the crystal blue and green Pacific Ocean surf. 

Golden Gate Bridge from Crissy Field

Photographing your engagement from Crissy Field gives a different perspective from that of Baker Beach. Crissy Field is Bay side, south of the Golden Gate and offers sensational views of Marin County and some  San Francisco landmarks, including the Palace of Fine Arts. Crissy Field is located north of the Marina District in San Francisco, close to Golden Gate Park and the Presidio.

Sutro Baths

Sutro Baths provide a really great rustic look with beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean, the Farallon Islands and the famous Cliff House. Sutro Baths are located at the north end of Ocean Beach close to Geary Boulevard. 

The Palace of Fine Arts

The Palace of Fine Arts is unique in that it offers both a refined and rustic appeal full of San Francisco character and artistic history. It really is a fabulous location – grand and glorious and just full of San Francisco charm!

The Palace of the Legion of Honor

One of San Francisco’s most famous landmarks, the Palace of the Legion of Honor offers staggering views of the city, the pacific ocean as well as offering a plethora of wonderful locations within the grounds of the palace for beautiful pictures. The Palace of the Legion of honor is a great place to photograph an engagement portrait. Below is one of my favorite images from a recent portrait at this location. (Gotta keep in mind that sometimes this is closed for special events)

The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Project

Beautiful mosaic tiled staircase with a breathtaking view of SF once you get to the top.  It's a great place to use as a backdrop.

Flora Grubb

Flora Grubb Garden’s  They have the coolest plants and displays there. They also have a place to order coffee and tea which you can drink at one of the tables in the garden! It’s really important to know that you have to pay a $50 fee to take your photos in the garden. They called it an “event fee.” Honestly, it is worth it! Address! 1634 Jerrold Ave, San Francisco, CA

Cupid's Span

The monumental outdoor sculpture by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. A 60-foot-high painted fiberglass and stainless-steel sculpture represents a bow and arrow -- traditional attributes of the imp of love -- shooting straight down into a sliver of pedestrian park that borders the Embarcadero, opposite the end of Folsom Street. 

Pier 7, Embarcadero

Pier 7 is a public pier located along the Embarcadero in San Francisco. This is a great pier for a number of reasons. It has breathtaking views of San Francisco Bay, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, Yerba Buena Island, and Treasure Island as well as the downtown San Francisco (Financial District and Telegraph Hill) cityscape.

Other locations we highly recommend

Lake Lagunitas, Fairfax, CA

This is a short 5-mile hike and there is an $8 parking fee. This is a very easy hike on a wide multi-use trail with great views of the Lake, Mt. Tam. Lake Lagunitas is the smallest lake in the Mt. Tam watershed and makes for a very quick easy hike. Surrounded by redwoods and water this place is magical for an engagement session. We generally finish it off with an additional 10 minute drive up the road to a trail head that offers a spectacular view of the lakes. 

Mt. Tamalpais

Near hang site #1 on West Ridgecrest Blvd.

Point Reyes

Sessions in Point Reyes can pretty much take up an entire day. There are so many different spots to pick from and we can pretty much try to do them all. We like to start the drive early and stop at Point Reyes Station for coffee or tea, then continue on to the abandoned boat (during the winter the water is too high to shoot next to it), then off to several other places like Chimney Rock, Limantour Beach, Pierce Point Ranch (some of the Tomales Bay Point hike), McClures Beach. We finish the day with a stop at Marin Sun Farms for a meal before driving back.