Best SoCal Beaches for Couples + Engagement Sessions

Searching for a dreamy photoshoot location but not sure where to look? You can’t beat a gorgeous SoCal beaches engagement session! I absolutely love beach photoshoots because we can take advantage of the changing natural light, diverse vantage points, and of course the stunning views. With an abundance of beaches to choose from, it all comes down to crowds, timing, and scenery. I’m excited to share my top 5 SoCal beaches with you!

Beach Sessions, Redefined

It was an absolute dream working with Lauren and Braden for their couples session in January (great time of year with fewer tourists). They both dressed comfortably, which gave the shots a cozy, laid-back feel. They were down to try some creative poses in between the mix of candids while they were just being themselves.

At the end, they wanted to infuse some vintage LA vibes into their session, so we got hooked up with an incredible classic convertible. If you want to add a little more oomph to your photoshoot, let’s style it up! The antique roses spilling out the side just elevated the set even more for these truly one-of-a-kind editorial shots. The florals add a touch of color and softness to the sleek ride, and I’m in love with the overall vintage look! Beach session, complete!

Interested in a beach engagement session? Here are a few of my favorite locations! I would love to style a curated set for your beach session. Let me in on your vision, and let’s make it happen!

5 of the Best SoCal Beaches for Photo Sessions

Santa Monica Beach, LA

This beach is famous for the Santa Monica Pier that stretches out over the ocean. As you walk along the pier, you’ll see games, rides, performers, and so much more. It’s perfect for families or even date night. However, if you walk under the pier, it’s the perfect spot for a romantic engagement shoot. Or walk further down the beach to get the pier in the background of your photos. It is sure to add some festive fun into your session.

Thousand Steps Beach, Laguna

Sometimes the most gorgeous spots require a scenic hike—but they are worth the effort! At 9th Avenue and the Pacific Coast Highway, you’ll find the entrance to this stunning gem. While it is actually only 200 steps down to the beach, it feels more like 1,000. I would not recommend this location for children or pets as it can be a bit of a challenging hike each way. But for adventurous couples, we can create some magic here! Be sure to wear comfortable shoes, and get ready to see beautiful views of the Pacific’s blue and turquoise water.

Torrey Pines State Reserve

With over 2,000 acres of protected land, this is one of the most picturesque beaches in Southern California. Many people choose this location as one of their top hiking spots, but I especially love it for engagement photo sessions or couples portraits. Towering cliffs line the coast, giving you incredible views at every turn. And with the sheer vastness of this beach, you are sure to find several secluded spots where we can stop and take photos.

Sunset Cliffs, San Diego

Speaking of cliffs, this gorgeous location has cliffs that stretch for 3 miles and give you unparalleled sunset masterpieces. It epitomizes all that is Southern California—beaches and sunsets. With this beach choice, you’ll be able to take photos overlooking the ocean as well as down on the beach. There are even some sea caves that can be accessed at low tide, and it is also a great spot to view migrating whales. Having multiple vantage points makes this a unique photo location.

Zuma Beach, Malibu

Take a one-hour drive from Los Angeles to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city. This kid-friendly beach is perfect for engagement sessions or family photos, but many people head here for the gnarly waves, too. (Psst–I’ve always wanted to do a surf session!) Give your shoot some variety by starting out by the water and then walking up the cliffs for some aerial views.

SoCal Beach Sessions with Hanna Walkowaik

There are so many gorgeous beaches in SoCal that it was hard to choose just five! But you really can’t go wrong with any location along the Pacific Coast Highway. This list certainly isn’t exhaustive, and I can recommend several of the best options based on your style, vision, and time of year when you plan your session with me. Let’s get in touch.

When to Book Your SoCal Beach Photos

The fall or winter—any time after Labor Day—is the best time to book an intimate couples session. During this time there are fewer tourists and beach goers, so we will have full access to the best SoCal beach spots at each beach without awkward onlookers. I absolutely love beach engagement photo sessions, and I can’t wait to work with you!

Be sure to book soon as spots are quickly filling up in 2023!

Couples, Engagement




Best SoCal Beaches for Couples + Engagement Sessions

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