Congratulations! You’re engaged! Or maybe you’re a photographer looking for the perfect spot for an engagement photo shoot. Whether you’re in front of the lens or behind the viewfinder, you’re looking for at least one perfect spot – probably two or three – that lets you get the kind of engagement photos that you’ll love looking at for years to come.
Luckily for you, Orange County doesn’t exactly lack for beautiful scenery or Instagram-worthy locations to make your engagement photos special. In reality, your photo shoot will only be limited by your imagination. From beautiful wild beaches to the exciting atmosphere of Downtown Disney, there are plenty of places for you to stage an engagement photo shoot that will capture your love for each other.
We’ve looked all over Orange County, and we’ve come up with a list of some of the most Instagram-worthy spots to make your engagement photo shoot make a splash on social media… and in a frame on your coffee table.
Here’s our listing of the most Instagrammable engagement photo shoot locations in Orange County.
Engagement Photos in Laguna Beach
Laguna Beach makes a lot of lists in a lot of categories, and it’s easy to see why. It’s got some of the most beautiful beach scenery in the county. You really can’t go wrong with any one of the beaches there… although there are some photographer favorites.
- Crescent Bay: When you think about the perfect beach for photography, Crescent Bay is what comes to mind. With interesting geological formations that add pizzazz to any engagement photos, Crescent Bay is definitely one to look at.
- Victoria Beach: A whimsical, sand-colored lighthouse spears up from the beach, adding a touch of uniqueness and whimsy to any pictures you take on this beach. It’s very popular, so make sure you schedule your time so that you’re the only ones there.
- Heisler Park: A popular park on top of a seaside bluff, Heisler has everything you need for an engagement photo shoot that will blow up your Instagram feed. Sunrise and sunset views, a pretty gazebo, walking trails, and lush, art-studded garden areas provide the backgrounds you need for taking engagement photos as beautiful as your love.
Pro-Tip: It’s not just where you go, it’s when you go. Laguna Beach’s popular engagement shoot spots are best used after all of the summer beach-lovers are gone. Keep an eye on high tide times, sunrise and sunset times, and surf conditions for a safe, accessible shoot.
Pro-tip: Laguna Beach requires photo permits for any photo shoots. Either you or your photographer can get one at the city website.
Engagement Photos in Anaheim
You might not think so, but Anaheim provides a lot of variety for an engagement photo shoot. From nature backgrounds to the busyness of Downtown Disney and Downtown Anaheim itself, there’s something for everyone here.
- Oak Canyon Nature Center: If a forest vibe is more your thing, the Oak Canyon Nature Center is perfect for your needs. The park is full of beautiful mature oak trees, interesting clearings, and golden California sunlight filtering in through all those leaves. There are even streams to add to the peaceful serene atmosphere. Bonus: you can have your wedding here, too, so if you really love the location, an engagement photo shoot here would provide lovely narrative symmetry to your pictures of both big days.
- Downtown Anaheim: Downtown Anaheim and the Anaheim Packing House both provide a bunch of urban backdrops for your engagement photos… because not everyone’s a beachcomber or nature lover, right? Pick your favorite trendy little café for your engagement shoot and ask them if they mind you photographing there.
- Downtown Disney: If you’re a die-hard Disneyphile, or if you just want a fun urban setting for your engagement photos, Downtown Disney is perfect. There are dozens of shops and quiet spots where you can take a lovely picture or ten. Plus, anything Disney is bound to pack on your engagement photos Instagram power.
Engagement Photos in Mission Viejo
This lovely bedroom community nestled in Southern Orange County has a lot to recommend. Small coffeehouses, a golf course, and beautiful parks all provide great, interesting backdrops for your engagement photos. But hands-down, our favorite is…
- Oso Viejo Community Park: This 52-acre park in Mission Viejo has a variety of different backgrounds for your use, from a meandering nature trail, clear streams, open grass, fun art installations, and formal gardens. Parking is free and easy to find. If you’re looking for a nature trail with waving ornamental grass, this is your spot.
Engagement Photos in San Juan Capistrano
Ah… San Juan Capistrano. Setting a photo shoot here means choosing from among the funky fun of a photo outside the tiny shops near the train depot, to the unique fun of Zoomars petting zoo and its horde of guinea pigs, to the elegance and uniquely Californian vibe of Mission San Juan Capistrano. Trying to set an engagement photo shoot in a downtown area might be tricky, but worth it, for the unique backdrops that will make your engagement photos Instagram gold.
Our favorite is…
- Mission San Juan Capistrano: This historic mission provides an incredible wealth of photographic material, from the blooming lilies in the ponds to the beautifully landscaped grounds, shaded areas, the archaeological dig of the first Mission’s kitchen. Like wine? No need to get on a train to Napa Valley (unless you want to). Mission San Juan Capistrano has its own mini vineyard. Want gorgeous arched colonnades and beautiful architecture? You want the mission. Want the mystery of the collapsed church as a background to your engagement story? You want the mission.
Engagement Photos in Costa Mesa
No list of Orange County’s Instagram-worthy engagement photo locations would be complete without one in Costa Mesa. That’s mostly because of…
- The Segerstrom Center for the Arts: This gorgeous performing arts complex has everything. Fascinating architecture. Formal gardens. Open spaces with plenty of natural light. Glassy, classy staircases and textured walls. If you’re looking for a versatile background for an engagement photo shoot that will make waves when you post it to Instagram, the SCA is definitely worth a look.
While we’ve come up with the best of the best for this list, we know there are plenty of other interesting places that you could use for your engagement photo shoot. Just remember:
- Always be aware that, while these sites are publicly available, there may be certain requirements for professional photographers. Fees often can and do apply in a lot of places. Make sure you and your photographer are aware of any extras like that.
- Just because you fall in love with one location doesn’t mean that all of your photos have to be taken there. It’s pretty common to have engagement photos taken at two or three sites to reflect your personalities and interests. However, it’s wise to limit your chosen locations to one or two, to maximize the time you actually spend taking pictures, rather than driving to take pictures. Also remember that multiple locations also means multiple photography fees, so be mindful of your budget.
- Pick somewhere that’s not too busy. It’s going to be a little tricky to be natural in front of the camera if you’re worried about people watching you.
- Check with the site first to make sure you’re following all the rules for photography sessions.
- Try to go very early, or later in the day, when there are less passersby. That way you wait less for a clear shot.
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Kelly Smith is a freelance writer living in Southern California with one dog, two cats, two guinea pigs… and the rest of her family. She writes about Orange County, faith, family, special needs and tea, and world-builds science fiction universes on the side. Find her at www.bluerosecopywriting.com.