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baker-beach-photography-pingol News & Insight

Best Engagement Photography Locations in San Francisco, CA

By Christopher Lin on August 31st 2012

San Francisco is the scene of countless books, Hollywood blockbusters, independent comedies, sitcoms, and classic songs. There’s a certain aura and appeal of the city that draws in people of all walks of life. It’s this diversity and the city’s rich history and unique landscape that makes this a gorgeous location for engagement pictures. A huge financial district lies right next to one of the world’s renown shopping areas. But less than 5 miles away are gorgeous beaches with views of beautiful bridges. Throughout the entire city is historic architecture, famous museums and other landmarks that each tell a unique story.

[Rewind: the best engagement photography locations in Los Angeles and the best engagement photography locations in Orange County]

Ever since attending Cal Berkeley, SF has had a special place in my heart. I’ve wanted to write an article like this for a while, but I hadn’t had enough engagement sessions in the area to compile a good list. I was thrilled when our good friend, and amazing photographer, Ed Pingol, approved the use of his images in this article. Ed is primarily known for his creative and unique use of strobes to bring out the gorgeous skies and the color in the scene, but it’s also his story telling skills and ability to connect with his clients and bring out their personalities that make him one of the best photographers in the world.

Check out his San Francisco Photography Website or his Facebook page for more of his work.

All of the following images are copyright Ed Pingol Photography

The Best San Francisco Engagement Photography Locations

The following locations are not in any particular order. Also, the following locations may or may not require photo permits and we encourage you to do the proper research prior to shooting.

Baker Beach

A gorgeous view of the golden gate bridge, soft sand, and interesting rocks make this the best beach to shoot if you’re in San Francisco.


The Palace of Fine Arts

Tall, aged columns give you that historic European feel. The surrounding areas are also wonderful, shaded locations for your couple.

The Palace of the Legion of Honor

Like the Palace of fine Arts, these columns at the Legion of Honor have that gorgeous, grandiose feel.


Golden Gate Park

It’s impossible to depict the diversity of Golden Gate Park in one image. You have a plethora of scenes to choose from in this park, including the one below.

Union Square

A world renown shopping district, the city lights of Union Square make a great backdrop for night shots.

Ghiradelli Square

Grab some chocolate and wine and capture a unique sight of San Francisco.

AT&T Park

Go Giants! If your couple is into the San Francisco Giants, AT&T Park is a fun location to base your engagement session around.

San Francisco City Hall

The City Hall of San Francisco is among the most beautiful government buildings in the world.


Financial District of San Francisco

The financial district will give you a ton of opportunities for interesting urban shots. Climb down and capture moving BART trains or stay on the surface to get the hustle and bustle of the city.

Japanese Gardens inside Golden Gate Park

The Japanese Gardens inside of Golden Gate Park will give you a variety of beautiful scenes, from bamboo forests to unique bridges.

More Info

For more information on Engagement Photography check out these Engagement Photography Tips. Also, you can find more info in our complete Engagement Photography Guide, the Natural Light Couples Photography DVD. Or see the trailer below:

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, however, this does not impact accuracy or integrity of our content.

Co-Founder of SLR Lounge and Photographer with Lin and Jirsa Photography, I’m based in Southern California but you can find me traveling the world. Click here to connect on Google +

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Ed Rhodes

    San Fran is a beautiful city!

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  2. Jordan Murphy

    Kliptz:  I lived in Hawaii for years and know the island well!  I could give you some ideas for good places to shoot!

    Yes, I also felt the light was a bit wonky in the photos here, though I do love the light in the Ghirardelli photo!  The Japanese Tea Garden photo is very nice!

    Duy:  I think he was using a 14-24 or 16-35 for most.. they seem pretty wide!  I sold my 16-35 in place of purchasing the new Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 VC.  I love the lens, but it’s true it would be harder to get a shot THAT wide!  You could take two and stitch, or just use 24mm… it’s still pretty wide!

    I am new to San Francisco (as of November) and looking for places to shoot, so this gives me some great ideas, thanks!  I use Palace of Fine Arts, Baker Beach, and Crissy Field (not shown) for most of my portrait shoots.  I haven’t shot at Legion of Honor yet but want to!  I just shot at City Hall for the first time yesterday… is my site!

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  3. Please do.

    Didnt like the light in any of these photos, cool locations though.

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  4. Chris

    Do you need a permit to shoot at these locations, especially the Japanese Garden and AT&T Park?

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  5. Reji Berrouet

    Very nice. I like the edits as well.

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  6. Kliptz566

    Can there a post for ‘Best Engagement photo locations’ in HONOLULU, HAWAII. PLEASE!!!

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  7. Duy Nguyen

    wow….definitely love those pictures. Wonder what lens did he use to capture those.

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