family photos in huntington beach park

Top 10 Outdoor Family Portrait Locations In Orange County

We have put together our top 10 outdoor family portrait locations in Orange County guide to help our clients select their family photo locations. This guide will help you choose the best location for your family without the headache. We take the guesswork out of your decision to make the process simple and easy.

Orange County has so much to offer including:

  • Parks
  • Beaches
  • Main Streets & piers
  • Unique urban settings

When considering the best location for your family session there are few things to keep in mind:

  • Your families' style
  • Best time of year/day for photos
  • Traffic/Crowds at location

1. Huntington Central Park

Location: Huntington Beach near the 405 freeway.

Here you will find over 350 acres of land. The peaceful setting of open grass fields and extensive tree and flower plantings is used for various activities such as picnics, biking, playing, and walking along the paved paths. This park is serene, beautiful, and perfect for portraits.

What we love: The open space, nature, lighting, and accessibility.

Address: 18381 Goldenwest St, Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Best time of day to shoot: Mornings and late afternoon before sunset. This location is great all year round.

Permits and Fees: None

Parking: Easy. Free onsite parking lot.

Restrooms: Yes

Traffic/Crowds: Low. Plenty of space to avoid people in the background. Weekends tend to be busier than midweek.

2. Seal Beach Main Street & Pier

Location: Between Long Beach and Huntington Beach

Seal Beach is Orange County's most northern beach. This quaint beach town has all the right vibes. Take a stroll down Main St. as you walk toward the municipal pier. Plenty of great backdrops for your portrait session. While these are 2 locations, they can easily be combined in the same session or simply choose the pier or Main St. if you prefer.

What we love: The pier is one of the longest wooden piers around, perfect for photos. The sunsets are beautiful.

Address: 900 Ocean Ave, Seal Beach, CA 90740

Best time of day to shoot: Late afternoon before sunset. This location is great all year round. Fall and winter are our favorite times here.

Permits and Fees: None

Parking: Paid parking lot by the pier. Limited free street parking.

Restrooms: Yes

Traffic/Crowds: Medium. Weekends tend to be busier than midweek. Summer has an influx of tourists.

3. Newport Beach Pier

Location: Balboa Penninsula, Newport Beach,

This is a popular beach town amongst locals and tourists. The municipal wooden pier is one of two piers in Newport Beach. This is a great spot for your family portraits.

What we love: The wooden pillars are perfect for a background. Sunsets are a beautiful time for portraits.

Address: 70 Newport Pier, Newport Beach, CA 92663

Best time of day to shoot: Late afternoon before sunset. This location is great in the Fall and Winter.

Permits and Fees: None

Parking: Paid metered street parking. There is no lot near the pier.

Restrooms: Yes

Traffic/Crowds: High traffic. Summer is the peak season. Very crowded with locals and tourists. Could impact your photos with people in the background.

4. Irvine Regional Park

Location: Orange, CA

Rolling foothills, Oak and Sycamore trees surround this park. Creating a variety of natural scenery and wildlife. There is plenty of shade and open space to create a full portrait session. In addition, there is a creek and a pond inside the park. This leisure park is serene and beautiful.

What we love: The leaves turn golden yellow in the fall. Plenty of nature and natural backgrounds.

Address: 1 Irvine Park Rd, Orange, CA 92869

Best time of day to shoot: Mornings and early afternoon. This location is great all year round.

Permits and Fees: None

Parking: Paid parking lot on site. Parking fees: $3 per vehicle entry Monday - Friday; $5 Saturday - Sunday; Higher for some holidays and events.

Restrooms: Yes

Traffic/Crowds: Low. Plenty of space to avoid people in the background. Weekends tend to be busier than midweek.

5. Laguna Beach

Location: Shaws Cove

This Laguna Beach cove is tucked away off PCH. To get here you have to go through a small neighborhood. Shaws Cove is the perfect hidden spot that only locals know about. Crystal blue waters, beautiful cliffs, and tide pools make this an ideal portrait location.

What we love: This is one of our favorite beaches in Orange County. It is beautiful and the bluffs in the background make Laguna Beach unique. The sunsets here are stunning.

Address: Just off PCH in Laguna Beach

Best time of day to shoot: Early afternoon based on the tidal chart. This location is best in the Fall and Winter. Spring and early summer can be overcast and have a heavy marine layer.

Permits and Fees: Yes. $100 permit required to photograph here up to 2 hours. We can help you arrange a permit with the city.

Parking: Paid metered street parking. Some free street parking in the nearby neighborhood.

Restrooms: No

Traffic/Crowds: High traffic. Summer is the peak season. Very crowded with locals and tourists. Could impact your photos with people in the background.

6. The OC Mix

Located: Costa Mesa just off the 405 freeway

A modern outdoor stylish rustic space. Small retail shops and restaurants with a creative flair. A central location for Orange County shoppers.

What we love: The modern rustic vibe. Multiple backgrounds to choose from. The lighting here is great.

Address:  3313 Hyland Ave, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Best time of day to shoot: Early in the morning or late afternoon. All-year-round.

Permits and Fees: None

Parking: Easy. Free parking lot on site

Restrooms: No

Traffic/Crowds: Medium. Because this is an outdoor space with small shops there is some foot traffic. Weekdays will be less crowded than weekends. The best time would be Sunday morning.

7. The Lab

Location: Costa Mesa

This modern airy outdoor mall known as the Anti-mall is a unique colorful place. Lots of modern nooks and crannies here.

What we love: The unique vibe, colorful backgrounds.

Address:  2930 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Best time of day to shoot: Early in the morning or late afternoon. All year-round.

Permits and Fees: Yes.

Parking: Free & valet parking. Parking lot and street parking available.

Restrooms: Yes

Traffic/Crowds: Medium. Because this is an outdoor space with small shops there is some foot traffic. Weekdays will be less crowded than weekends. The best time would be Sunday morning.

8. The Camp

Location: Costa Mesa

Dedicated to being a retail complex featuring health-conscious & eco-friendly local shops, services & eateries. Unique and bright.

What we love: The unique outdoor space. All the colors and eco-friendly spots.

Address:   2937 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Best time of day to shoot: Early in the morning or late afternoon. All year-round.

Permits and Fees: Yes.

Parking: Free & valet parking. Parking lot and street parking available.

Restrooms: Yes

Traffic/Crowds: Medium. Because this is an outdoor space with small shops there is some foot traffic. Weekdays will be less crowded than weekends. The best time would be Sunday morning.

9. Tewinkle park

Location: Costa Mesa across from the OC Fair Grounds

This park features 49 acres of open space. This peaceful park is in the heart of Costa Mesa. Featuring a large lake, water fountains, and waterfalls.

What we love: The huge boulders and lake make a beautiful backdrop.

Address:  970 Arlington Dr, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Best time of day to shoot: Weekdays late afternoon. Weekend mornings.

Permits and Fees: None

Parking: Easy. Free parking. Parking lot and street parking available.

Restrooms: No

Traffic/Crowds: Low. Plenty of places to photograph without people in the background. However, can get very crowded on weekends and when the weather is nice.

10. San Clemente Pier

Location: San Clemente

San Clemente Pier Beach is the main city beach of San Clemente. The beach is wide and sandy on both sides of the pier. There is an active railroad track that runs right behind the beach. This beach also has a nice setting with palm trees and grassy areas near the pier entrance.

What we love: The soft sand and the small grassy area by the parking lot.

Address:  100 S Alameda Ln San Clemente, CA 92672

Best time of day to shoot: Morning or late afternoon. This location is best in the Fall and Winter. Spring and early summer can be overcast and have a heavy marine layer.

Permits and Fees: None

Parking: Paid metered parking lot and metered street parking. Some free street parking in the nearby neighborhood.

Restrooms: Yes

Traffic/Crowds: High traffic. Summer is the peak season. Very crowded with locals and tourists. Could impact your photos with people in the background.

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