Known for its beautiful outdoor views, San Francisco has plenty of options for fall photoshoots. We’ll run down a bunch of the city’s most renowned parks for catching dramatic backdrops of the falling leaves, as well as often-overlooked spaces and venues that deserve a boost of popularity (and that Peerspace can hook you up with). Whatever your needs, you’ll find something great on our list of the nine best fall photoshoot ideas near San Francisco. Give ‘em a look before winter gets here.
1. Enjoy the autumn colors in this modern garden
This intimate garden space makes a great location for a fall photoshoot. Modern design makes for tasteful photos, but be aware that the space isn’t large, so this isn’t an ideal location for working with large groups. But if you’re doing intimate portraiture with just a few clients, your images will look great with the stained wood and ivy backdrops. Contemporary outdoor furniture completes the look of this space, giving you a shoot location that combines the feel of the outdoors with the aesthetic of the city.
2. Let the city fall away in this SoMa secret garden
Located in the heart of the city, this outdoor oasis is in the middle of an urban jungle. Despite this, pictures taken here won’t necessarily look like they’re in an urban environment at all. Weathered wooden fencing and brick walls, which are both accented by ivy and plants, make excellent backdrops anywhere you look. The brick patio adds a lot of charm to the space, and there’s plenty of outdoor furniture to pose portrait subjects. You’ll also have access to an indoor area where you can charge equipment, and WiFi is available throughout the property, making this a great choice on your list of best fall photoshoot ideas near San Francisco.
3. Get lost in the hidden labyrinth at Lands End
Lands End, near the Golden Gate Bridge, features a rocky shoreline that makes a great backdrop for photos. Trails crisscross the park, giving you plenty of wooded areas to set up for a fall photoshoot. An additional unique feature of this park is the “hidden labyrinth,” which gives you a good view of the bridge, as well as a unique outdoor photoshoot location. This park should be on everyone’s list of the best fall photoshoot ideas near San Francisco.
4. Capture quiet, contemplative photos in this garden retreat
One block north of Cole Street, this garden space offers respite from the bustling city. Outdoors, you’ll find a beautiful garden, fenced in by weathered wood, and decorated with outdoor furniture, paving stones, and a variety of plants. You’ll also have access to the house on the property, which is filled with natural light. If you’re looking for a large outdoor space for your fall photos that also offers some privacy, this is an excellent choice.
5. Take in the breathtaking sights at this oceanfront home
A few blocks away from Montara State Beach, this seaside house is in a great location. The brick patio, private garden, and oceanside deck offer beautiful outdoor spaces for portraits. In the background from the deck, you’ll not only have views of the ocean, but also a lighthouse — sure to make a unique background for photos. There’s plenty of indoor space to use as well, but the outdoor views are the real draw. When we think of shooting in the fall, we tend to focus on the color of the trees, but don’t forget that there’s just a special quality of light in general. The ocean looks a little different, and it’s a time of the year where fewer people are taking the time to capture it.
6. Enjoy multiple outdoor landscapes at the Presidio of San Francisco
The Presidio, formerly a U.S. Army fort, is a fantastic park to visit for fall photos. To the north, you’ll have green space and a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Heavily wooded areas also give you plenty of photoshoot locations that don’t feel like they’re in a large city, while the beachfront gives you wonderful views of the ocean. In the interior of the park, you’ll also find some creeks, sure to look beautiful during the fall.
7. Open the windows of this elegant SoMa loft
Everything about this venue drips style and coolness, but in the fall, the patio and massive back windows create the perfect frame to showcase the autumn colors. Use that window as a backdrop, let the light pour in, and frame your subject in the reds and oranges of fall — the shots you get will be amazing.
8. Take a hike at Lake Merced Park
Four and a half miles of paved trails make Lake Merced an accessible stop for fall photos. Between the lake and the green space, there are great outdoor views here that really feel like you’ve gotten outside the city. This is a popular spot for runners and cyclists, so you may be contending for space on the trails with them. However, stepping off the paved trails will give you access to the outdoor backdrops without the risk of having pedestrians ruin your shots. If you’re looking for a place to shoot in a forested environment — which isn’t as easy to do in San Francisco as some other cities — this would be a good place to start.
9. Get a picturesque bird’s eye view from this artist’s sky loft
The pictures don’t quite do it justice, but the balcony of this hip, stylish loft offers stunning, unobstructed views of the city. In one wide angle or panoramic shot, your camera sensor can take in the full picture of San Francisco in the fall. Come back three more times — once for each remaining season — and make it a killer set of four iconic shots.
San Francisco is a great city for photographers, and making a list of locations to set up your fall photoshoots is easy in a city with so many options. The public parks have plenty of wonderful outdoor spaces to choose from, and if your production needs a more private space that’s near power outlets and WiFi, there are some great private spaces that will give you that autumn aesthetic alongside modern convenience.