Best Locations For Family Photos in San Diego

Everyday I pinch myself when I think of how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful city as San Diego. If we forget for a moment how expensive it is to live here, we can relish in the delights of the everyday opportunities. The miles of beaches, the historic parks, the palm trees, the flower fields, the mountains. The list of locations to visit and enjoy are endless. And as a photographer, I can appreciate that list even more. They give me countless areas to offer to clients, looking for the gorgeous natural backdrop that I so adore shooting in. There is a reason I don’t have a studio. Why would I need one when this city has so much to offer? Take a look at the list I compiled of what I think are the best locations for family photos.

Let’s start with the beaches.


The Pier, the boardwalk, the beach, and the colors….great north county spot.  

sisters on the beach photography
B&W of two young brothers on the pier kissing head
18 month old girl on oceanside pier

Torrey Pines

It has rocks, it has tributaries, it has lifeguard stands and grassy fields. If your clients are up for a challenge, you can hike them up the “mountain” for some over water shots. Endless possibilities.

La Jolla Shores

Used to be my best kept secret, but then last Christmas photo season it went bonkers! I had to wait in line for some of my best shots. But still, amazing at sunset!  Woodsy up top, pier down below. Winner.

Del Mar

One of my go to spots, but not during concert season! Check out the park schedule ahead of your shoot, don’t get caught with hundreds of people there to listen to live music!

family photos on the beach Del Mar
PK at Del Mar Beach
mom and toddler in fancy dress on beach


The Hotel Del, the rocks, the endless beach (sometimes WAAAAY too wide if you are trying to get down to the water), but good if you want beach shots without other people in them!

B&W sunset maternity photos on the beach in front of rocks
young family with 2 boys in front of lifeguard stand on beach
grandma with grandkids on beach
pregnant photo shoot in front of Hotel Del coronado

Pacific Beach

Cool, hip, alleys, pink houses, pier, and nearby hotel with a huge koi pond. A little something for everyone!

cute baby girl stading against brick wall in alley
baby girl sitting in the middle of pacific beach pier


Straw hut, huge rocks, often desolate….love this beach.

cute dark haired girls in bright clothes holding hands running up beach
young girl sitting on beach rock with a furry hooded sweater on

How about the historic Sites:

Olivenhain Town Hall

Very different vibe than your usual San Diego photoshoot. Old wooden barns, big tree stumps.

family with boy and girl hugging parents from behind in front of wooden house
teen girl hugging her golden doodle puppy
boy and girl twins hugging in front of wooden house

Presidio Park

Again one of my top choices. So much here. The Presidio, a grassy hill, a gorgeous sunset over the city. This is definitely one of the best locations for family photos, because there is so much there to keep the kids entertained!

young couple with pregnant woman leaning in towards each other

Balboa Park

Needs no explanation…..

Of course we have some gorgeous parks, some well known, others off the beaten path :

This one is behind my old house: 

Old Poway Park

Great for the peeps out east. Kids can run wild, lots of variety, but can be packed, both with park picnickers as well as other photogs….be warned.

There are so many others as well! I could spend days pulling up photos of the best locations for family photos….don’t ever stop looking for a gorgeous spot for portraits, they are everywhere. These are the obvious ones, but sometimes the most beautiful locations are tiny gems where the sun hits just right and the space belongs only to you.

Let me know if you have any questions! Keep on shooting!

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  • Erin ClaytonLove your images, what an amazing blog post! Will definitely contact you the next time my family and I visit San Diego!ReplyCancel

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