San Diego Photo and Video Location Scouting List
San Diego California is a beautiful city, whether you live there full-time, or you are visiting as a vacation destination. There are a lot of picturesque locations that are perfect for snapping photographs of beautiful scenery, cityscapes, ocean views, cliff views, and local wildlife. There are also some beautiful places to take photos of family and friends as well as gorgeous spots for professional photo sessions. Whether you are an amateur photog or a professional, you won’t want to miss out on checking out some of these scenic San Diego photo shoot locations.
Scripps Pier La Jolla
This location is a gorgeous place for sunset photos and is the perfect spot for awesome shots of both people and wildlife. The pier is huge, the view is amazing, and if you get there during low tide, the water glistens and reflects on the sand like glass, reflecting the sky. It’s quite an experience. We consider this one of the best photo spots in San Diego, if we do say so ourselves.
San Diego’s Historic Gaslamp Quarter
If you want to produce a more urban feel for your photographs, you can check out San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter. It’s a historic city district with unique and intriguing Victorian architecture as a perfect backdrop. The Gaslamp Quarter is a great place for day shots or epic nighttime photo shoots, whichever you prefer. Based Downtown in the city of San Diego, it’s a beautifully scenic neighborhood with tons of restaurants, shops, and bars lining each street.
Point Loma Harbor
This scenic San Diego photo shoot location has a little bit of everything. You’ll find the Cabrillo National Monument and Liberty Station there and it’s a great place for gorgeous views of the San Diego Bay and shots of the Point Loma Harbor. You can also take photos at the Point Loma Formation (the cliffs are called Sunset Cliffs by the locals), and if you look closely, you might even find a dinosaur fossil or two.
Leo Carrillo Ranch
This is a popular venue for weddings and special events. It’s also a great location for outdoor photos and family photo shoots and is everything you would expect from a Western-style ranch, right down to the cactus at the entrance and the rustic charm of the architecture. It’s considered a hidden gem of San Diego and if you want something other than beach scenes and cliff shots, this is the place to go for next location shoot.
Revel Revel Event Space
Revel Revel is a unique and historic venue located in the Gaslamp district of San Diego. The exposed brick and open ceilings give off a very lighthearted and debonair vibe making it the perfect location for unique and stunning photography. It features city views of downtown San Diego and has moveable walls making it extemely versatile for multiple looks as you map out your shot list. The best part? You can schedule an appointment to view the space before booking to see if it fits your custom requirements.
Salk Institute of La Jolla
This is an architectural gem and is considered a little less of a tourist spot for those who prefer locations that are off the well-beaten path. You can take beautiful pictures here as an amateur photog and even get shots of hand gliders jumping off the cliffs and flying along the coast, since it’s located right next to a gliding port. Note that to arrange a professional photo shoot, you have to go through the Salk’s communications department and get prior approval before you can set up a photo shoot. Once you have approval, it makes an awesome location for high-end fashion shoots or edgy wedding and engagement photos.
While beach locations can seem to be the only game in town in a state like California, one of the best photography spots in San Diego is actually not a beach, but a park – Presidio Park. And what a park it is. You can find a wide variety of potential backdrops for photo shoots, from lovely and ethereal wooded hilltops, to green, grassy fields, to statuesque columns and architecture. Just be warned, there’s no “light” hiking to climb this hilltop, it’s a workout! Definitely give this place a shot!
San Diego Botanic Gardens
For another beautiful and scenic area for photos, why not visit the San Diego Botanic Gardens? They’ve got botanical wonders ranging from Australian gardens, to African gardens, bird and butterfly gardens, and even a bamboo garden with the largest collection of bamboo you can find in the nation and they are part of the larger Balboa Park. However, like Salk’s Institute, you do have to gain permission and pay for a permit for professional photoshoots inside the Botanic Gardens. If it’s a commercial shoot, they also require liability insurance.
Santa Fe Train Depot (Historic Downtown San Diego)
This is one of the oldest of San Diego photoshoot locations you’ll find. It’s considered a historical location and registered as such and makes for a great backdrop for both amateur and professional photographers alike. It’s got unique and vintage architecture with style that has been adopted by other, newer buildings found in the downtown San Diego area. It should be noted that parking can be a problem, so plan ahead for that, or take the train and eliminate the problem entirely.
This makes a great location if you want fun, cutesy shots. Think boardwalk and amusement park and you should get the proverbial picture. Note that like many of the San Diego parks and recreation areas, you will need to gain permission for commercial photography. Every location has different policies and regulations, so it’s important to make sure you contact the right department for each location before trying to schedule anything. For impromptu amateur photos and fun shots with friends and family, the rules are less strict in most places.
As you can see, there are a ton of different San Diego photo shoot locations you can choose from, depending on your needs. Some of them are professional venues you’ll need to book and schedule with ahead of time, while others are places you can visit at just the right time to capture beautiful images. No matter where you go, San Diego is one big, scenic photographer’s playground.