I'm a born and raise Bay Area Kid. A Film lover, dog mom, avid reader, vino enthusiast and Trader Joe's #1 fan.
15+ pages of tips and tricks, outfit inspiration and shopping list that's budget-friendly and size inclusive.
The hillside of Pleasanton boasts a charming little park that exudes cuteness. Despite its modest size, it remains serene and tranquil. It is a hotspot for photography enthusiasts, offering a plethora of backgrounds such as Christmas Cacti, a picturesque rustic bridge, and Adobe-style buildings adorned with verdant trimmings. The park is particularly stunning in autumn when the abundance of fall leaves creates a spectacular display of changing foliage. This family-friendly park provides ample opportunities for kids to frolic and play, with various structures to jump and climb on. Additionally, parents will appreciate the convenience of public restrooms and ample parking. However, it is worth noting that this park can get quite busy on weekends due to the influx of other photographers.
Best time to shoot: Early morning or an hour before sunset. The sun drops quickly behind the hill so its sunset is a little faster than other locations.
The vast expanse and golden hills of Ed Levin park make it one of my favorites. This park is sprawling, offering a multitude of locations to capture stunning photographs. For couples who love the outdoors, I highly recommend taking a hike to reach the summit and experience the breathtaking views. However, for those who prefer a more leisurely stroll, Ed Levin still provides rolling hills without requiring a strenuous hike. Late spring and fall are my preferred seasons to visit the park. In spring, the hills are lush with greenery, and wildflowers dot the landscape. In the fall, the hills boast warm hues of foliage.
The park also features a serene pond that beautifully reflects the sunset, highlighting the hills behind it. It’s essential to note that a permit is necessary to photograph in East Bay parks, and there is a $6.00 parking fee.
Best time to shoot: An hour before sunset! The sun drops behind the hill slowly, but as it drops it gives you glowy light, perfect for even and warm skin tones.
If you have an appreciation for vibrant colors and charming downtown areas, then exploring downtown Livermore should be on your agenda. While the tree-lined streets offer an excellent backdrop for a quaint photoshoot, you can also spend a morning seeking out the vibrant murals scattered throughout the area. My personal favorite is located behind a barber shop, and ample street parking is available nearby.
Best time to shoot: Before 11 am! You’ll want the sun behind the building when you photograph here. At sunset, the sun is on the mural and can shine through a tree leaving weird shadows on the mural – which could be super cool for more artsy shots! But if you want even lighting, morning is key.
I am absolutely smitten with this park! After being under construction for two years, it is finally open in its entirety. Families will adore the park’s diverse offerings, which include ample parking and a rose garden, a charming cactus garden, a delightful little windmill, lush greenery, a picturesque bridge, beautiful calla lilies, and adobe buildings. This park is an excellent choice for couples and families seeking a wide range of scenic backdrops.
Best time to shoot: This is a great fall or spring location. Spring for more flowers and fall for more trees turning orange. As for hours, you can get away with both times of day, but I prefer an hour before sunset.
While I have only had the opportunity to explore a small section of Lake Merritt for photography purposes, I believe this location holds tremendous potential for all types of photoshoots. If you are seeking an urban oasis that embraces nature, Lake Merritt is the perfect destination. The beautiful lake, set against a backdrop of the city skyline, is only one of the many features that this location offers. You can also take advantage of the market lights, docks, beautiful sunsets, trees, woodsy features, and even roman columns. There is so much to explore and discover at this site, making it an ideal location for those looking for a diverse range of backgrounds. For more variety, you can also venture into the Gardens at the Lake, where you will find seasonal flowers and roses.
Best time to shoot: Early morning or before sunset. This location gets lots of light, the trees or buildings don’t sit close enough to the lake to cover it with shade so you will want to photograph here when it has soft lighting.
One particularly stunning location is The Gardens at Heather Farm, which is a public garden boasting an array of roses, flowers, and greenery. This charming site features a picturesque pond, gazebos, staircases, and a magnificent water fountain. I adore this location for its year-round beauty and the ample privacy it offers. However, please note that a permit is required to photograph at this location.
Best time to shoot: Any time of the day! There is so much foliage that there are lots of spots to get even lighting. I like working here in the evening.
If you want a complete list of some of my favorite bay area locations, reach out to book a photoshoot! All my clients get access to a list of some of the most beautiful locations in the bay.