March 12, 2023
What’s the best location on the Central Coast to take engagement photos?
Doing an an engagement session with your photographer before your wedding is a great idea for so many reasons, but most of all it’s just super fun. I’m a huge proponent of filling not just your wedding day with celebration, but your entire wedding planning and engagement season. Celebrate along the way to your wedding with events like an engagement party, wedding dress shopping, bridal shower- and more. There’s a lot to planning a wedding and the more fun you can pack into the process the better.
Personally I love doing engagement sessions with my couples because I get to meet them, spend time with them, get to know who they are as a couple and help them get comfortable with me and having their pictures taken. My couples are often camera shy and they are always so amazed when they see how fun an engagement session can be with a photographer that gives great direction and prompts and makes them laugh.
I love getting out in nature and hiking around the central coast on my days off. I’m always scouting for new location ideas and over the years I’ve found some favorites that I love to take couples out to for their photos. Here is a list of my top five favorite engagement spots between Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo.
1. An Urban Engagement Session in Downtown San Luis Obispo
One of my absolute favorite spots for a chic and contemporary engagement session, especially if you’re a Cal Poly Grad and you met or got engaged in Slo, or if you just want something fun and stylish for your engagement pictures, is the Downtown area of San Luis Obispo. You can dress up as much as you like and stroll around the streets and alleyways with me, walking through the San Luis Obispo mission district, getting macaroons on Garden street, sharing a glass of wine in one of the many Italian restaurants. You can rent bicycles or throw stones in the creek, and have a picnic on the lawn in front of the mission.
Cute outfits for a downtown slo engagement can range from a little black dress to a summer frock to a casual romper or jeans and T-shirt. With gorgeous white Adobe walls, brick alley ways, garden areas, Paris like promenades, bridges and much more, anything you want to wear goes! If you add in a little time, I like to finish off with a sunset picnic at laguna lakes, just around the corner. It’s a gorgeous place to watch the sunset on a summer’s day.
2. Montana De Oro Engagement
Not many people know about Montana de Oro state park. Probably one of the most beautiful secluded beaches in all of California is right here in our backyard!
I grew up Fresno and we often camped in Pismo or walked around Morro bay but the hidden gem of Los Osos and the state beaches there were only introduced to me later when I became a local to the area. It’s a favorite spot of locals on a summer afternoon to have a picnic, stroll along the cliffs and watch the sunset go down from Spooners Cove. There is a quaint visitors center, eucalyptus groves, hiking trails, and pebbled beaches. This is a perfect spot to take your family for a day at the beach on your wedding weekend.
For a sunset engagement spot it just doesn’t get any more beautiful. It’s a secret engagement session treasure.. pristine sands, white cliffs, moss covered caves, tide pools.. and the most amazing sunsets you can imagine. If you want a an epic photo atop a cliff over the ocean this is your spot.
I always encourage my couples to wear 2-3 different outfits. A fun casual outfit to jump around in the waves and something long and flowy to dance in the sunshine.. a fun and quirky outfit is always a great touch too- as long as you love it, it’s great!
3. Los Osos Oaks Reserve
Another secret spot I just love- for all you romantics out there the Los Osos Oaks Reserve is one of the most magical places on the coast for a forest engagement. Only known to locals, it’s an incredible area full of tangled oak trees and moss with hiking trails leading into the mountains. It’s hard to put into words how amazing and unique the area is- it’s not like any other place. For couples who want something unique and very playful and romantic for their engagement shoot, that have a love of soft light and natural beauty, that want something unlike anyone else will have, this is the prettiest forest around.
4. Morro Bay Dunes Engagement
One of the most fun engagement shoots you can do is running along the dunes with Morro Bay rock in the distance. Bring a bottle of champagne and you most beautiful dress and pop it open as the sun sets. There are several ways to get to the Morro bay Dunes, but my favorite is Cloisters Park because I love to walk along and take pictures on the bike paths that eventually lead out into the dunes and ocean. From the water you can see the rock and the Three Morro Bay Stacks in the distance and the view just takes your breath away.
5. Paso Robles Vineyards Engagement
Vineyard engagement sessions in Paso Robles wine country are so fun and if you’re wine a lover even better. There are many gorgeous venues to choose from for your session, and I love meeting couples for a sunset stroll through the vines. If you are couple that loves to wine taste together, Paso Robles has so much to offer for both your engagement and wedding venue. It’s great to bring something you love to do together into your session as it adds to the story of who you are as a couple. The warm California sun shining through the rolling hills and the fields of vines as far as your eye can see makes this location a very special and historic part of California.
The wedding venues in Paso Wine Country are also unparalleled if you are looking for an incredible and more affordable vineyard wedding venue than Napa may have to offer. Paso Robles is as beautiful as Napa but much more home grown. Couples just love the rural beauty that encompasses this area and the sunsets are a dream come true!
I love being a creative and fun engagement and wedding photographer here in San Luis Obispo.
So that’s my top five favorite locations for an engagement session on the California Central Coast. There are many more beautiful areas for a unique session such as Pismo Beach, Avila Beach, Cambria, Big Sur.. the sky is the limit. There are creative ideas as well such as having your engagement session in bookstore or roller rink… I love to brainstorm ideas and wardrobe options with my couples and find the locations that are the perfect fit for them. Exploring the central coast together makes for a beautiful memory and a wonderful milestone in the year that you get married, with some amazing photos to remember it by. Reach out today if you would like to talk about doing an engagement session and/or wedding with me! I offer A La Carte engagement sessions and great wedding photography packages that are all-inclusive.