Favorite Bay Area Locations for Family Photos


Living in the Bay Area, we have no shortage of beautiful locations for family photographs.   My goal when picking the perfect one for a family shoot is to figure out a place that the family might go to play on a laid-back Sunday afternoon.  The beach? The park?  Somewhere they could stage an epic game of hide and seek? Capturing the connection and spirit of a family works best when they are in their element.  With all these great choices and spring weather making us itch to play outside, I thought I would share three of my favorite locations around our lovely Bay.  Get out there and take some pictures of your gorgeous kids!

China Camp, San Rafael

I love, love, love shooting at China Camp.  The old fishing village near the entrance of the park provides so many different backgrounds and, honestly, it is just a fun place to hang out.  We go there with our daughter often for beach treasure hunts and have amassed an impressive sea glass collection. Besides the gorgeous water shots and the old pier, there are brick walls, wooden doors, wide-plank wood floors and boats to look at (and climb on!).  The light at sunset is unbeatable and there are lovely shade options throughout the day (shade is a photographer's best friend). When kids get bored with one area, it's easy to find another to keep their attention and the fun going. 

If you go:  My favorite spot is the old fishing village.  It is on the right side about 3 minutes inside China Camp Park as you enter from North San Pedro Rd.  Search China Camp Village Rd., San Rafaeland your smart phone will lead you right there. Park in the lower lot. Restrooms available, small fee to park. 


Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

With so many great spots in Golden Gate Park, it is hard to pick a favorite.  If I had to right now, I would choose this lovely meadow by Stow Lake.  There are hills for running, logs for climbing and Stow Lake just a quick 2 minute walk away.  This spot is great in the early to mid-morning and in the afternoon.  

If you go:  Take JFK Drive toward Stow Lake to Stow Lake Drive.  Park on JFK or near the Stow Lake Boathouse.  Walk on the path to the big meadow in between the boat house and JFK.  When you see a little log cabin and picnic benches, you'll know you're there.


The Presidio, San Francisco

There are endless photo opportunities here.  Lover's Lane, which is the oldest foot path in the Presidio, is a lovely place to catch late afternoon light.  And it has been made even more magical since British artist Andy Goldsworthy's installation of "Wood Line".  Kids love balancing and playing on the giant piece of art and exploring the forest. And with all the old buildings throughout the Presidio, it's easy to find bright white backgrounds, big trees and other fun places to play. 

If you go:  Lover's Lane and Wood Line are located near the intersection of Presidio Boulevard and West Pacific Avenue.  There are a few parking spots on West Pacific Ave.


There are so many other great locations for snapping photos of your little ones or for having a professional do it.  I hope you get out there with your camera and take advantage of a break from the rain!