Before moving out here, I knew Southern California had some breathtaking beaches but I had no idea just how many unique places would be in my neck of the woods for all of these Orange County beaches photo spots. I feel like I am constantly on a treasure hunt encountering new gems while shooting this summer and it has been so fun getting to constantly create something new and explore different beach towns with my clients. Gosh, even writing that out feels like a *such a gift*. :’) This east coast summer girl’s soul feels fully activated being planted in SoCal and I won’t lie, I feeling sappy about it. 🥰
As a photographer I’m often scouting for my clients shoots to find the best fit for their portrait experience. Whether it’s a lifestyle brand shoot or documenting sweet love stories, my goal is to offer them locations that compliment their vibe + style overall. I’ve started to compile a list of my top spots for Orange County beaches photo sessions and thought it might be helpful to hear what makes each beach so sweet! Although there are maaany spots to choose from I’m sharing my personal favs I’m loving!
Hannah’s OC go-to’s:
Alright let’s break the beaches down!
First up: Calafia beach in San Clemente (I will be honest: I am constantly nervous to say this one out loud because I am always thinking of the oat milk brand “Califia” 😂)
The variety here is unmatched in my humble San Clemente local opinion 😉
Easy to find parking, great beach + beach trail to shoot on and it also had this awesome rock wall (cliff??) that makes for some pretty epic portraits. I would recommend this location to both my couple and brand clients because you really can’t go wrong!
T-street Beach + Beach trail
Living in a cutie beach town means there are constant photoshoots taking place. I can usually expect to see 2 or 3 other shoots happening while I’m out shooting but I’ve honestly never run into another photographer while at T-street. Although a popular spot it feels like a hidden gem to me and I have been lovinggg my lifestyle brand shoots at the beach here + around the sweet neighborhood surrounding. Def don’t sleep on T-street. This crosswalk alone is iconic. 🌴🌴🌴
Crystal Cove State Park
OKAY, my cuties. listen up. Save this location on your google maps and thank me later because I am never getting over this one. Crystal Cove State Park is simply *chefs kiss*.
Whether its a brand campaign, an engagement session, wedding portraits…I feel like this is the ultimate crowd pleaser. Having the view from the top with the tall grass + incredible overlook AND a gorgeous beach with fun rocks and such overflows my photographer heart and is a beach location I will never stop recommending. 🙌🏻
Montage Laguna Beach
It’s one of my favorite Laguna beaches to shoot at because:
a. PARKING (iykyk) it can be tricky to secure parking at any of the beaches in Laguna but I love that this one has a paid lot right next to it and a garage if you’re not entirely up for tackling that animal the day of your shoot.
b. Because the Montage is a resort all of the landscape is so manicured and nice. It just feels like such a gem of a location that I personally love for couples sessions. ✨😍
c. Variety – this one is pretty straight forward so i’ll just have you scroll through to see what I mean. 😉
Another Laguna favorite! This location is great because I can bounce between Divers Cove and Fishermans right beside it. On this night in particular Divers Cove was pretty packed when we arrived for our shoot so we started our shoot at Fishermans Cove (which is a little more tucked away + hidden) and we had good luck with less people to photograph around. There are a few little photo moments that give off total European vibes in this space which I liiive for. Then just as the golden hour glow was at it’s dreamiest we hopped back to Divers Cove and got to roam around this gorgeous space with less of a crowd! What I like most about this spot is the variety it offers and the romantic dreamy feel that pairs so well for couples shoots. 😍
If you’re looking for a few other SoCal gems and are up for traveling outside of my list of Orange County beaches photo spots, here are a couple of other favs I’m loving!
–Point Dume Malibu | It’s got a special hold on my heart because I had my brand photos done here shortly after moving to Southern California! It was such a special day in Malibu with the lovely Rachel Wakefield.
–Torrey Pines | Oh what a magical place. 🙌🏻 Check out this fun elopement I shot there this winter to see what I mean!
–Windandsea Beach | One of my fav spots for any set of lifestyle portraits – especially love the variety it offers! Check out this sweet summer engagement shoot to see what I mean!
If you wanna tuck this list away for your next visit, save it for later by clicking on the Pinterest logo on any photo above!