In case you are not planning to go to California soon, checking photos from different places usually gives me the inspiration to turn on my camera again. Also, there is something about West Coast that can't be described with words. I hope that you feel similarly and these photos will inspire your inner photographer.
One more thing, most of these photos were taken by 123Presets founder Tomas himself with just his phone. This is the best example that nowadays there are no limitations to creative photography. With the right lighting, angles, and presets you can make your photography mind-blowing. Especially, in locations such as San Francisco, LA or San Diego.
TOP Photography Locations in San Francisco
1. Marin Headlands
The best view of the golden gate bridge is outside of San Francisco. That being said, it is definitely worth a visit. One of the top spots is in Marin Headlands. All it takes is a 15 minutes ride outside of San Francisco. The photos that you see below are taken during sunset. Honestly, you can get stunning views during sunrise as well. However, that will require you to wake up early.
Sunset presets bring out the vibrant evening sky colors. The minimal presets will be loved by those who like a cinematic look in their photos.
2. West Coast “Bixby Creek Bridge”
If you love landscape photos, this is definitely a must-see place to go:
Also, simply sitting down on the ground or not looking at the camera creates a more interesting photo. Just think about it, most tourists usually stand, smile, and look at the camera. By doing something completely different, you create a more interesting story no matter where you go.
While you are close to San Francisco, you could visit Coit, Tower, Twin Peaks, Fort Point, Broadway Street in North Beach, Treasure Island, Chinatown, and Aquatic Park.
Best Spots to Take Pictures in San Diego?
3. Sunset Cliffs
There is nothing else to say. This place is a small piece of heaven on earth. It is beautiful and any photo taken here will look gorgeous.
Lightroom Presets used to enhance this photo: Fall vibes
4. Pacific Beach
It is most probably safe to say that a person will see one of their most stunning sunsets by walking along the shore of the Pacific Beach.
From the bridge to the shore, you will find countless places to take your photos at.
Lightroom presets: Sunset
5. Secret Swings
What can I say? This place is magical. If you ever have a chance to visit San Diego, make sure that you stop by this gem as well.
What are some other places that are worth checking out in San Diego?
Broken Hill in Torrey Pines, Oceanside Harbor, Geisel Library, the Mushroom House La Jolla, Marian Bear Park, and San Diego Skyline from Point Loma. If you like night photography, stop by Balboa Park, and, specifically the Cabrillo Bridge in the park. During summer, Fiesta Island and Ski Beach have fireworks almost every night.
Where to Take Photos in LA?
6. Venice Beach
Most recommendations on the internet immediately go to Venice Beach. Needless to say, there are quite a few places in Venice beach to take photos. For example, there is the famous Venice sign, a lot of street art, people love to work out and rollerblade there.
Lightroom Presets: In Vogue
You will also find a cool skatepark, colorful palm trees. There's one word that describes the area best: hipster. All of those colorful walls are worth a visit.
After all of this, don't forget to take some photos of the beach during the sunset:
7. Abbot Kinney Neighborhood
This neighborhood is really close to Venice Beach. It's full of colorful walls and street art. This is on the TOP list of places to go if you want Instagrammable photos.
One more thing, in this neighborhood, there are many Instagram friendly cafes. One of such cafes is "The Butcher's Daughter". If you haven't had a chance to visit yet, we definitely recommend trying it out.
Lightroom Presets: Vintage Dream
While you are there, test out their menu, it's simply delicious!
The place has a lot of natural light. So feel free to use all of the spaces, e.g. the bar.
Gluten-free waffles, cute interior and lots of plants!
I love the blue tones in their interior and natural wood:
The streets are also a great location. Palm trees, cute little buildings, and wide-open American streets. All you need is yourself, a camera, and a cute outfit.
So, if you are close to this place, you will want to take photos in front of the sign and street art. Also, check out the view from the bridge, and organize a little rollerblading or cycling trip.
8. Santa Monica Beach
Nevertheless, the best idea for a nice sunset is to take a walk along the ocean from Venice Beach to Santa Monica Beach. The sunsets are incredible. The lifeguard stands are great for photos as well. Just take a look:
Obviously, the sunset is beautiful on its own. However, California presets bring out the vibrant orange tones that create a dreamy feeling to the photo.
Take a look at a different angle shot taken in Santa Monica Beach. I would also like to mention that the Venice beach part might be full of tourists who don't necessarily help to take the wanted shot. So walking towards Santa Monica beach will not be only fun but also help you find the desired spot for your photography.
This photo also uses California presets. These filters simply look great on photos that are shot at the beach during sunset. Increased clarity on the sand and lifeguard stand, warm tones, and vibrant sunset colors make the photos POP.
Also, once you are out in Santa Monica beach, do not forget to take some shots in front of Santa Monica Pier.
9. Hollywood Sign
It's just one of those things that are a must if you go to LA. I would just like to add that you can get creative with it. Also, it is a good hike especially if you are there during the nice weather.
This time the photo is enhanced with Santorini presets that add that nice aqua blue to the photo. These presets also brighten the whites and add a beautiful tan to your skin. All of that is achieved in seconds by one click on your phone. Basically, you can edit your photos on the go.
Now that we have explored the two main places that you will definitely want to take photos at, what are some other and less touristic places that are worth a visit?
10. Take some shots in the shade with flowers
LA has a lot of interesting plants altogether. So it is a great opportunity to take some close up portraits shots. Sometimes the best location is where the tourists don't look. The whole art of photography is about finding beauty in angles and locations that others simply do not think about. In some cases, all you have to do is to check where other tourists are looking and look another way.
Mobile Lightroom preset used for this photo: California.
11. Hit the streets of downtown LA.
Check out their rooftops especially during the sunset. Los Angeles isn't a cheap city but getting on that rooftop at least once in your lifetime will be an experience you will never forget. If you do not really feel like spending money on the rooftop, there are a lot of cute cafes that are great locations for Instagram. One of such places in Downtown LA is the Last Bookstore with bookshelves that are perfect for a more interesting composition, The Bradbury Building with its stunning staircase, and many more.
12. Do not forget to take some photos with the palm trees.
They are everywhere in LA. And they are beautiful. Maybe it is just me who has a clear obsession with palm trees. However, they do look great in photos and create a tropical feeling immediately.
BONUS: Check Out the Airbnb
Studio apartments with lots of light are probably one of the best places to take photoshoots. Especially when the apartment has stunning scenery. Some of the Airbnb's even have a swimming pool. LA is pretty expensive, but do not worry, we have a special discount for you. Just click here and claim your $45 Off.
Also, I know what you're about to ask: is this super expensive? It's actually better than you think. You have to remember that this place is in LA and everything in LA is quite expensive. However, you can definitely afford to have this place for one night especially if you are staying with friends. And one day is more than enough to create beautiful photos.
Let me also share some inspiration from other Instagram accounts: