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4 Awesome Bay Area Outdoor Family Photo Locations

Written By:

Maryam Salassi

Oct 5, 2020

We’ve all been stuck inside for months, and because of Covid being outdoors feels safer than doing a session indoors. Being able to get outside and have fun with my families is definitely a huge perk of my job, and it helps that the Bay Area has SO MANY amazing outdoor photo spots.

As a Bay Area family photographer, I spend a lot of time location scouting and the abundance of natural beauty in California just never gets old. From oceanfront beaches to desert parks, the variety of landscapes here make for the best backdrops that are always so fresh and new—even when I’ve seen them a bazillion times!

Here are some of my favorite Bay Area outdoor family photo locations.

Coyote Hills Regional Park, Fremont

pregnant woman and her wife in a field with trees and sunlight pouring infamily holding hands and walking down stairs down the side of a hill

Located in Fremont, just off of the San Francisco Bay, Coyote Hills Regional Park is my go-to photo spot in the East Bay. 

I love the blend of long grasses, wetlands, rolling hills, and bay views. And if we can schedule a session in the winter/early spring, the green hills can make it feel like you’re in Ireland and not California! Families can walk along the vast network of trails while I photograph them, and we’re always likely to see some pretty cool wildlife while we explore.

If we’re lucky, we can also catch a wicked sunset!

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

photo of family on bench under tall trees in golden gate park san franciscomother swinging two kids in a circle in golden gate park san francisco

Golden Gate Park is a 1,000 acre urban park right in the heart of San Francisco. It’s massive and has almost every  type of scenery. Beautiful gardens, lush forests, pretty ponds, interesting architecture—you name it, Golden Gate Park’s got it!

There are also plenty of activities in Golden Gate Park which families can check out before or after (or even during!) their outdoor family photo session if they’d like to make a day of it. There’s the De Young Museum, Academy of Sciences, Japanese Tea Garden, a playground and carousel, sports fields and courts (including an archery field!), an Aquarium, restaurants, and more.

I always recommend planning a fun activity for family photo sessions. It keeps the kiddos engaged and helps to create awesome, candid photos that show your family’s personality! For me, capturing the real moments between you and your loved ones is what it’s all about, so choose something that you would enjoy doing on a regular day anyway!

Poplar Beach, Half Moon Bay

son pulling mother and running on beachfamily of four backlit on cliff at Poplar Beach in Half Moon Bay

If your family loves hanging out at the beach, then Poplar Beach in Half Moon Bay is a tough spot to beat! It’s a gorgeous location for Bay Area outdoor family photos, and we can have a little fun in the water and sand while we’re at it! It does tend to be a bit chillier and can be foggy at times, but that just means we can get some really cozy snuggle shots while also capturing the best of California. 

With a long stretch of fine sand along the Pacific Ocean, there are plenty of scenic photo opportunities at Poplar Beach. I love that it has the coastal California cliff line at the top and the beautiful beach at the bottom giving you two potential looks for the price of one. 

Plus it’s dog friendly, so you can bring your furry friends with you! They’re part of the family too, after all.

Crown Memorial State Beach, Alameda

family of 5 on the beach backlit with flareyoung girl splashing in ocean

Crown Memorial State Beach runs along the seaside in Alameda. There is easy parking and it’s a quick walk over to the beach. If it’s a clear day you can get a great view of San Francisco across the Bay. I personally love the beach for casual family sessions, perfect for families who aren’t afraid to get a little dirty! Let’s build sand castles, wade in the water, and make some memories!

Outdoor Family Photo Sessions in the Bay Area

If you’re looking for a San Francisco family photographer for your Bay Area outdoor family photo session, I’d love to help! Let’s chat and find the perfect location for your family photos.

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