Welcome to my blog where you’ll find the latest about what’s been going on in the studio and on location, as well as articles that will help you better prepare for photo shoots.


Outdoor Photography Orange County Guide

You almost want to think about the location that you choose for your photo shoot in a similar way that you chose your wedding venue because it sets the tone for the whole event. Whether you are doing a family photo shoot, a maternity photo session, or even an engagement session, the outdoor photography locations in Orange County will make a big difference when it comes to the overall aesthetic of your photo shoot. There are several things to consider when choosing your photo shoot location, aside from just how pretty it may look in a picture.

Weather/time of year for Outdoor Photography in Orange County

It may seem fairly obvious, but one of the first things you’ll have to consider when thinking about photo shoot locations is the time of year that you are going to be doing your photo shoot. The reason this is so important is because many photographers prefer to do photo shoots around golden hour, the beautiful hour just before sunset. Sunset times will vary depending on the season that your photo shoot is in.

It’s important to be aware of daylight savings times and how that might affect sunrise or sunset. Sunset tends to be later in the spring and summer and switches to earlier times in the fall and winter. I’ll check the sunset times for every day that I potentially set up a photo shoot.

The season that you will be doing your photo shoot in will also help determine what you will wear for your photo shoot. A session on the beach in the summer will have different wardrobe than doing a photo shoot in the winter. We are lucky enough to live in Southern California where our weather is fairly consistent. However, the beach in the winter time can be 20° or more cooler. You’ll want to keep that in mind when considering wardrobe.

Vibe for Outdoor Photography in Orange County

One of the first questions I ask my clients when I’m deciding on an outdoor photography location in Orange County is what type of vibe they are going for. Yes, that is a thing. Some clients want a glamorous, sophisticated, contemporary location and some might want a rustic, bohemian location. These are two completely different aesthetics. It’s important to have some type of vision in your head about what you want your photo shoot to look like.

Twin cake smash with a beach bohemian theme for their outdoor photography in Orange County.
Beach Boho Cake Smash


I could literally do a photo shoot in a backyard and it could be a perfect location. The distance that you have to drive to a location doesn’t make that location any more beautiful. Having said that though, I’ve traveled a good three hours to locations for my own family photo shoots. The distance that you are willing to drive for the location is something that you will want to consider.

Photo shoot distance will be particularly important if you have children that are going to be photographed. If it’s going to be a long car ride, definitely plan to bring things to keep them entertained in the car. Set up a quiet environment if you are expecting them to nap on the way. Don’t forget to also bring lots and lots of snacks and treats to keep them in a good mood.

Bathroom proximity

The proximity of a restroom may not seem like an important qualification. But, when it comes to a photo shoot location.  But, I often have to do multiple shoots in one location. So, I like to pick places that have a restroom close by. This also helps with toddlers that may be potty training and mamas that may want to change in a more discrete location. I’m not saying that every location needs to have a close by and clean restroom, but you definitely want to think about it when coming up with photo shoot location ideas.

Probably one of my favorite examples of this is Victoria Beach. Everybody loves to shoot at the castle Tourette that’s there, but not everybody knows that there are no bathrooms on that beach. That might be an issue for a pregnant mama so it’s good to know these things ahead of time when preparing for your photo shoot.

I’ve also done quite a few shoots in Joshua Tree National Park and that’s another place that is absolutely stunning and I love shooting at, but bathrooms are sparse so it’s something to think about.


Parking isn’t an issue usually when the photo shoot is taking place at a local park. It could definitely be an issue if we are shooting at a special location. Sometimes parking might be either super limited or far away from the actual spot where we will be taking the pictures. A great example of this is El matador beach. The parking is extremely limited especially during sunset. Odds are that you won’t get a parking spot in the tiny parking lot and you will have to park along the main highway. So, you will want to plan for that extra time when you were scheduling your photo shoot.

There are some locations that I like to shoot at that have specific spots that you will want to park at. They don’t necessarily always include a parking lot. When you are thinking of your photo shoot locations, be sure to discuss the parking situation with your photographer. This way you are very clear on what to expect.

Number of people

The number of people that will be photographed should be taken into account when choosing a photo shoot location. If you are planning a large multigenerational photo, your outdoor photography Orange County location will need to have wide areas of clean backgrounds void of buildings or other structures. The more people that are going to be photographed, the larger the location that you will want.

Portrait sessions with just one family or solo shoots, like senior portraits or head shots, can be done almost anywhere. The background can easily be cropped or blurred when there’s not many subjects in the picture.

What to Wear for Outdoor Photography in Orange County

The biggest tip that I can give my clients when it comes to styling their portrait session is to wear clothes that coordinate, not clothes that match exactly. For example, everyone can wear creams, whites, and beiges rather than everyone wearing a white top and jeans. Another option would be to pick two colors that complement each other (blue and orange) and then two neutrals.

When I pick out my own family’s clothing, I usually start with the hardest person to dress (my picky teenager). Once she has picked out an outfit that she likes, I then take the colors from that and use them in all other family member’s outfits.

I always encourage clients to avoid the following:

  • Wearing clothing with logos.
  • Bright, bold colors, such as magenta, orange and red can sometimes reflect back

onto skin and cause color casts.

  • Large stripes can also sometimes be distracting.
  • For women, please be conscious of the type of bra that you wear so that we don’t have to photoshop bra straps.
  • Remove your watches and hair ties.

If you’re planning to bring multiple outfit changes, keep everything together in a garment bag. That way we can easily access them if we’re on location. I also suggest bringing a pair of shoes to walk around in. That should be in addition to the shoes that you will be wearing for the shoot. We may have to trek a bit through dirt, sand, or brush to get to our photo shoot location. It’s much easier to do that in tennis shoes as opposed to high heels. There are many samples in our Family Photo Shoot portfolio.

Outdoor photography Orange County family session

Permits for Outdoor Photography Orange County

Not all locations require permits for professional shooting, but some of the most popular ones actually do. Many Orange County parks require a photographer to have a permit to shoot in. Some beaches will also require permits so be sure that your photographer is up-to-date on permit requirements. I need to get permits ahead of time for more public places, like San Juan Capistrano or Descanso Gardens.


Freebird Studios is an Orange County Maternity, Newborn and Family photography studio located in Brea, CA and serving Fullerton, Anaheim, Yorba Linda, Rowland Heights, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Riverside, Laguna Beach and all of Los Angeles and Orange County.