San Diego’s Best Engagement Shoot Locations

couple hugging and laughing in front of the old San Diego lighthouse for their engagement session

Since San Diego is known for its stunning scenery and variety of photo backdrops, it is the perfect location for your engagement photos! Whether you are hoping for rolling hills, desert cactus gardens, or beach-type backdrops, your San Diego engagement photographer will be able to assist you in choosing the perfect location. To help you get a head start on the location selection process, I have compiled a list of San Diego’s best engagement shoot locations for you below!

San Diego’s Best Engagement Shoot Locations

Coronado Beach 

Coronado, located just over the bridge from San Diego, provides numerous fantastic places for engagement photos. The historic Hotel Del Coronado, the Coronado Bridge, and, of course, the soft and sandy beach are all popular locations for photographers to shoot. Schedule these sessions at sunrise or dusk to ensure perfect lighting for your engagement session!

Balboa Park 

For San Diego natives and tourists alike, Balboa Park is one of San Diego’s favorite engagement session locations. While this cultural landmark can be crowded at times, it is ideal for the couple seeking variety in their photos. Balboa Park provides a variety of backdrops, ranging from botanic gardens and nature trails to Spanish architecture. This location is huge and has many different types of photo spots. To choose from, be sure to ask your San Diego engagement photographer for suggestions of their favorite areas to shoot around the park!

Sunset Cliffs National Park 

Sunset Cliffs National Park offers an almost infinite number of stunning cliff formations that provide a superb ocean and native plant life backdrop for your photos. During sunset, as the name suggests, is the ideal time to take portraits that you can’t wait to show off to your friends and family. This can also be a very busy location. So, work with your San Diego engagement photographer to plan a time that is ideal for the lighting and crowds.

The Mission at San Juan Capistrano 

While it is not in San Diego, this historic site is only a short drive away! I love The Mission at San Juan Capistrano because it has distinctive architecture and elements that you won’t find in other parts of San Diego, one of  my favorites being their Bell Wall (shown below) – if you have a photo, if not, remove the “shown below” part. If you choose this venue for your engagement photos, make sure to consult with your photographer ahead of time because The Mission only allows a set number of photographers on-site every day.


Windansea, a true San Diego classic, has all of the components to capture the true spirit of San Diego. Offering cliffs, waves, and a beach Windansea is the ideal place for your san diego engagement photos. Our favorite photographs at this site are when the waves crash up against the rocks, creating a dramatic and beautiful image! This spot can also get crowded on weekends and at sunset, so plan a weekday visit to avoid fighting the crowds.

Scripps Pier 

Scripps Pier has been around since 1905 and has since been utilized for boat launches, studying ocean life, and photography! As a San Diego engagement photographer, I enjoy photographing couples along the pier because it combines the beauty of the ocean waves with the extra texture feature of the pier beams. Before scheduling your engagement sessions, consider the tidal levels; low tide is the best time to photograph here.

Torrey Pines State Beach 

Torrey Pines is an iconic surf and beach destination nestled between Del Mar and La Jolla. Making it ideal for the beach-loving couple’s engagement photos. Cliffs and nature walks sprinkled with wildflowers line the coastline. This area, like most San Diego state beaches, can be extremely busy; however the surfing side of the beach has fewer people, perfect for photos!

spanish landing park

Centennial Park 

Offering stunning views of the downtown San Diego skyline Centennial Park is an excellent choice for a couple wishing to capture the true essence of San Diego. Its waterfront location makes it ideal for capturing both the ocean and a more urban downtown vibe. This park is located on Coronado Island, just over the Coronado Bridge. Are you an urban, downtown-loving couple looking to capture the natural beauty of our city? If so, Centennial Park could be the ideal place for your engagement photos.

Cabrillo National Monument 

Cabrillo National Monument is located near the very southern tip of Point Loma. My favorite part is known as the Old Point Loma Lighthouse. This area provides a variety of backdrops, including tidepools, a lighthouse, and a historical commemorative monument. With views of the Pacific Ocean, the Point Loma Naval Base, the Downtown San Diego Skyline, and Coronado Island, this is an ideal location for sunset shots of you and your loved one taking in iconic San Diego sights.

If you’re looking for a San Diego engagement photographer, I would love to hear from you! You can contact me through my website or just click here. I focus on capturing life’s most precious moments and turning them into lifelong keepsakes.

To see more sessions from some of these locations in San Diego take a look at these other blogs:
Scripps Pier Family Session
Coronado Ferry Landing and beach engagement session
Cactus Garden in Balboa Park Family Session

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