The greater L.A. area is well-known for its beautiful people and stunning scenery. What can we say, we’re a photogenic city. Whether you are a seasoned professional or an amateur with a smartphone, there is, literally, a new photo opportunity waiting around every corner. Yes, we checked every corner. If you’re looking for photo ops for family portraits, engagement photos, or gorgeous backdrops for your royal wedding party that aren’t full of tourists or set in theme parks then you’ll love these scenic Southland spots. They’re local favorites, so when you get there act cool.
2903 Cornell Road
Agoura Hills, CA 91301
Paramount Ranch is a National Recreation Area located in the Santa Monica Mountains just north of Los Angeles. Paramount Ranch is only a few miles from civilization, but its distance is better measured on a timeline than a map. It has a long history tied to the entertainment industry, and in 1953 a permanent “old west” town was built on the site. This is a great place for nature photos and posing little cowpokes.
Korean Bell of Friendship
3601 S. Gaffey Street
San Pedro, CA 90731
The Korean Bell of Friendship is one of the largest bells in the world and is listed as a Los Angeles Cultural-Historic Monument. It was a gift from the Republic of Korea in 1976 to celebrate the United States bicentennial and to honor American veterans of the Korean War. The beautiful bell is located in Angel’s Gate Park and the photo ops are plentiful.
10700 W. Escondido Canyon Rd.
Agua Dulce, CA 91350
Vasquez Rocks may look familiar, especially to Star Trek fans. Also, Bill and Ted. The Natural Area Park in L.A. County is a wonder of rocks pointing towards the sky — and you can climb them! The alien-looking formation is the result of activity along the San Andreas Fault, and in addition to hiking trails and Hollywood history it has served as a home to ancient peoples (Shoshonean and Tataviam, respectively) and as a hideout for the notorious bandit Tiburcio Vasquez. Hence, the name. Vasquez Rocks is a nice photo op for people who will probably never get around to space travel.
Huntington Beach Pier
400 Pacific Coast Hwy.
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
You don’t have to be in Huntington Beach long to figure out why it is called Surf City USA (hint, look at all the surfers). The beach is majestic and beautiful, which lends itself nicely to romantic photo shoots and capturing family moments. What sets Huntington Beach apart from the rest of the coastline is the pier stretching nearly 2,000 feet into the water. Huntington Beach Pier provides a sweeping view of the beach and the ocean. Your photos will be fantastic.
1900 Associated Rd.
Fullerton, CA 92831
The Fullerton Arboretum is located on 26 acres and houses over 4,000 plants from all over the world. Do you want to pose in a desert, the Mediterranean or a redwood forest? With an endless array of gardens and vegetation your picture can be set anywhere. It’s up to you! As an added bonus, it’s also educational.
City of Big Bear Lake
135 N. Grand Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Yes, the whole city. Big Bear Lake is located in the San Bernardino National Forest and has a number of scenic backdrops for all of your photography needs. As you may have guessed, there is a lake, but there is also a popular hot spring and easy access to the ski resorts. If you time it right Big Bear Lake is well-known for its annual Oktoberfest. You may want to bring a suitcase and stay a day or two.
12505 North Main Street
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91739
Victoria Gardens is a hub of shopping and entertainment located in San Bernardino County’s city of Rancho Cucamonga. Not only does it offer fantastic food and retail opportunities, but the entire complex was created to resemble a self-contained community, something it reinforces with apartments, a cultural center and a farmers market. There are lush open areas and interesting attention to architectural details which make Victoria Gardens a fun place for creating photographic memories for the whole family. Take your camera, grab some lunch, and if you bring a pro, get permission from mall security first.
Whit Honea says “cheese” every time he sees you. He blogs at Honea Express. (cover photo by Rebecca Mitchell/lovespellweddings.com)