Outdoor Location Ideas

The Bay Area has some great outdoor locations for having portrait sessions. Some of my favorites are Baker Beach in San Francisco, Morcom Rose Garden in Oakland, and Piedmont park in Piedmont.

Joaquin Miller Park, Oakland

Located in the Oakland Hill, Joaquin Miller boost a variety of areas to capture images. Has a tadpole pond, stone walls, a kids play area and grassy fields. Different level areas require use a stairs. Free street parking but requires parallel parking facing either up or down the hill.

Lake Merritt - Pavilion, Oakland

Lake Merritt Pavilion, located near downtown Oakland. You can have the pillars of the pavillion and the great view of the lake in your images. There is both meter street parking and pay lot near by. Weekends can be crowded when the weather is real nice otherwise there is moderate crowding. Shoots are best scheduled early in the day.        

Lake Merritt Gardens, Oakland

Lake Merritt Gardens is a collection of many garden types: Bonsai, Japanese, Mediterranean, ETC maintained by volunteers. The Gardens allows changing up the looking of the scene by just walking a few minutes to a new garden area. Its located adjacent to Children's Fairyland and can be reached entering Bellevue Ave from Grand Ave. There is a small fee for parking. 

Piedmont Park, Piedmont

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Burckhalter Park, Oakland

Burckhalter park is a small park located just off the 580 freeway. Its easy to avoid the crowd at this park. It has a play structure, baseball field/grass area and wooded area with benches. There is a small parking lot but I've always been able to find open parking spots.

Sultro Heights Park, San Francisco

Sultro Heights park is located North of Ocean beach in San Francisco next to the Cliff House. Its a nice green space that over looks Seal Rock, Ocean beach, Outer Richmond district and the Pacific ocean. The park offer plenty of areas to capture wonder images. The park is fairly assessible with several parking lots near by.

Baker Beach, San Francisco

Baker Beach is one of my favorite outdoor locations in the Bay Area. Having the Golden Gate bridge and the waves hitting the beach in the background make nearly every image pop. Shoot can be taken from the top of the sand dunes before reaching down to the water. When the weather is nice you will need to schedule your shoot early in the day since the free parking lot gets filled fast. Evening photo session benefit from the nice lighting near sunset and more available parking.

Berkeley Rose Garden, Berkeley

The Berkeley Rose garden, located north of UC Berkeley's campus, is beautiful location for a portrait session. The Rose garden is situated on a downward hill side with 7-8 large rows of numerous variety of roses. There are wooden benches and small walking bridges located throughout the garden. A paved path leads from the street down to the main entrance of the garden and first level of rose. Additional levels of the garden require walking down stairs to access. There is ample street parking with two hour limit.  

Canyon Trail Park, El Cerrito

Canyon Trail Park is a wonderful park located in a hill neighborhood of El Cerrito. It has several different scenic areas including a grassy field, redwood tree laden paths, and a small pond. The entrance on Gatto Ave is easy to enter the park. If you enter from Crescent Way, you will be required to come down a flight of stairs. 

Toyon Park, San Leandro

Toyon Park is a small neighborhood park that is very assessible with sidewalks and paths directly from the free parking lot. There is a kids play area and open grass field. 

Your Yard

You know a great place to have a portrait session. Your own yard. You may be able to find a great place to have a portrait session may be your own yard. It doesn't take much to find great nooks in your front or back yard that will add a nice backdrop to your images. 

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