Santiago Oaks Regional Park is an absolutely stunning location in the hills of Orange. It's a pretty cool, winding drive just to get there, too. This place is huge and there are so many different spots to go that every photo session has a unique experience. There are incredible amounts of foliage here, so it's definitely a perfect place for those of you who love nature. You'll find some man made structures here as well, but they fit right in. Everything is either made of stone or wood, which gives it a nice rustic feel. There are stepping stones in a little pond that make for a nice dramatic photo. Everywhere you go, there's a new incredible backdrop that's perfect to take photos at!
2. Little Corona Beach
If you want beach photos, look no further than Little Corona Beach right off of Poppy street. For a beach scene, it really doesn't get much better than here. There are a lot of rocks in the background to help make the photo more dynamic than Huntington Beach. Plus, Huntington Beach has those nasty oil rigs. You don't want those in your photos, do you? Even though I'm a Huntington Beach Photographer and absolutely love it here, it doesn't make for the best photos. Little Corona Beach, on the other hand, definitely does! The only problem here is that it may get a little crowded sometimes. If you plan your session around low tide though, you can walk to around the tide pools to a nice little private beach! It's a bit of a trek on some pretty rough rocks, so make sure you bring some good footwear and a positive attitude!
3. Mission San Juan Capistrano
Mission San Juan Capistrano has been one of my favorite places to create portraits at. Like Santiago Oaks, there is a different backdrop everywhere you go. It's hard to cover everything in just one session! I'm also a huge fan of arches and symmetry and let me tell you, this place has got it! Just make sure you're willing to pay an extra $75/hr for a photo permit here. Photography is already quite the investment, so you might as well invest a little extra to make sure you absolutely LOVE your photos! Also, you'll want to make sure your photographer knows to go through all the hoops to get a photo permit, such as having general liability insurance and applying for a permit at least two days in advance.
4. Cedar Grove Park
Want a woodsy feel without the troubles of having to trek through mountains? Cedar Grove Park has got you covered! It's got loads of cedar trees (hence Cedar Grove Park) and the light filters through the leaves just perfectly. Unlike the other locations though, there's not a lot of variety here. But photography is all about getting just a few perfect photos to create some beautiful wall art for your homes anyways. Who wants 100 half-baked photos on a flash drive that they're never going to enjoy? Quality over quantity is my motto!
5. Moss Pointe
Just a couple minutes south of the 133 on PCH in Laguna Beach is Moss Pointe. If you know where the Taco Bell is, you're pretty much there. This is a great spot if you want to get a little bit of greenery, but also have a nice beach location. It's the best of both worlds here! Plus, the beach is pretty secluded in comparison to Little Corona Beach, so you'll have some more privacy here. I haven't had a chance to have a portrait session here yet, but I did some location scouting and it's definitely a fantastic spot!