Los Angeles Wedding and Engagement Photography Locations

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about places I have photographed in LA, and places I’d really like to photograph in the future. Instead of just daydreaming about an awesome engagement shoot here, a cool wedding venue there, I thought it might be fun to compile a wishlist of sorts. Part inspiration, part getting to know me a little better by sharing what places make me tick. So if any of these strike a chord as a particularly perfect venue or setting for an engagement shoot, family portrait, or wedding location, get in touch with me and we’ll make it happen!

Indie wedding and engagement photographer Jessica Schilling captures view of downtown Los Angeles from Griffith Park

Some engagement photography ideas:

Griffith Park – I shot my very first wedding at Griffith Park and an engagement at Griffith Observatory, but I think a session in the hills of Griffith Park before sunset would be lovely.

Coffee house – One of my favorite spots for coffee and brunch is Aroma Coffee and Tea in Studio City, but I think any independent coffee house in LA could make for cute, cozy engagement photos.

Bowling Alley – A few years ago I photographed a unique bridal shower at the adorably retro Montrose Bowl in Glendale, and would love to do something similar for a couple who bowls.

Retro Vintage bowling alley Montrose Bowl is perfect for indie engagement photography

Record store – I always love checking out Amoeba, and there are tons of indie record stores in LA that would be perfect for a couple who loves music. The blog Hi-Fi Weddings is great inspiration for these types of engagement shoots.

Galleries and Museums – For the art lovers out there, photos at a gallery would have lots of color and interest. I spent an afternoon checking out all the different artists and galleries at Bergamot Art Station last year and would love to go back for more.

Pub or Wine Bar – Couples into homebrewing, microbrews, or that perfect vintage to pair with a meal might want to show off their love of imbibing with a session at their favorite bar. This photo was from my trip to Ireland, but there is no shortage of cool lounges and pubs to choose from in Los Angeles!

Guinness sign outside of Irish Pub, would make cool venue for wedding or engagement.

Library or Bookstore – Capitalizing on my Literature degree, I think a library or book shop could be the perfect setting for couples who are readers and writers. LA Central Library downtown would be a great place to start.

Union Station – Whether going for a full-out vintage vibe, or staying modern to contrast the art deco style, Union Station is a gorgeous place to take engagement photos, and is also available for weddings. Within walking distance of the train station is charming Olvera Street that’s filled with street vendors, shops with Day of the Dead souvenirs, and Mexican restaurants and food carts.

Santa Monica Pier – The boardwalk and rides at Santa Monica Pier are a little touristy but a lot of fun. I’ve taken photos of my family here a few times when they were visiting, and I think an engagement session on the Ferris Wheel or with a carnival theme would be so cool.

Santa Monica Pier is perfect for a carnival or fair themed engagement or bridal photography session

There are a few hotels I’ve seen that would be great for either engagement photos or weddings.

Tangerine Hotel – The first time I saw the exterior of the Tangerine Hotel in Burbank, I thought it would be great for engagement photos with its orange and grey walls. I could easily picture doing a retro-themed engagement or trash the dress shoot by the pool in the courtyard. This place has a very bold, vibrant, slightly mod look that would suit a quirky, fun couple.

Hotel Erwin – I pass this Venice Beach hotel frequently and love the way it looks on the outside, and from the website it seems like the Hotel Erwin is just as awesome on the inside. Bonus points for a terrace bar with views of the ocean and booths to lounge in.

The Standard – I used to get my hair cut at Rudy’s inside the Standard in Hollywood and always thought they had the coolest lobby with lots of different colors and textures. And of course the Standard downtown with it’s rooftop lounge, mod waterbed pods, and great views of the city is not too shabby either. 

The Viceroy – I’ve seen some really incredible engagements and weddings photographed at the Viceroy hotel in Santa Monica. I love that the design is swanky without being stuffy. The place is so crazy stylish and has so many options of where to take pictures.

Some unique Los Angeles wedding venues:

Smog Shoppe – I attended a wedding at the Smog Shoppe in Culver City and instantly fell in love with the outdoor walled patio garden for the ceremony and the indoor area that had a simultaneously modern and rustic feel to it. The Marvimon in downtown has a very similar aesthetic, and the same owners, and would be an equally great venue.

Indie unique hip wedding venue at Smog Shoppe in Culver City Los Angeles

Huron Substation – Likewise, the Huron Substation close to Dodgers Stadium has that same look and feel with a great outdoor patio for a ceremony and indoor loft and dining area for a reception. Really cute and stylish.

Los Angeles River Center & Gardens – Almost next door to the Huron Substation is the Los Angeles River Center & Gardens. I haven’t been to a wedding here yet, but have heard great things about this Old Spanish inspired venue and would like to check it out sometime.

Natural History Museum – For couples who want something out of the ordinary, getting married among the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum downtown would be pretty unique. This place is so amazing and seems like guests would have a really great time with so much to do and see.

Pasadena City Hall –  Really, I’d like to photograph any elopement or courthouse ceremony because they seem so intimate and sweet, and there are several places in LA where that could happen. But the Pasadena City Hall is pretty exceptional in it’s architecture with gorgeous archways, stairways, and fountains.

wedding and engagement photography in your home, house or backyard for a diy, indie, intimate feeling

Your Home and Backyard – Recently I’ve seen some incredible engagement photos taken at couple’s homes. It’s a way to really show of who you are in your most natural environment and keep the focus on you instead of the location. And you can take this one step further with a backyard wedding. I got to assist a photographer at a vintage at-home wedding a few years ago, and had such a great time that I can’t wait to do more.

California destinations for weddings:

As much as I love photographing LA, there are some great towns and cities within decent driving distance that would be really fun for me to shoot in. San Francisco, Sonoma, Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez, Palm Springs, and Paso Robles are all places I’ve visited before and would love to go back to for further exploration.

Destination wedding photographer for vineyards and wineries around California in Paso Robles, Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez, San Francisco, Palm Springs

Do you have a favorite spot in LA to take photos? Let me know if there’s an amazing place I missed and I’ll add it to the list!

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