Los Angeles

The 5 Best Photo Shoot Locations in Los Angeles

Using one of the 5 best photoshoot locations in Los Angeles will take your Christmas cards (or family portrait) to the next level!

As some of you know, I used to be a family/wedding photographer and today I’m sharing my 5 favorite photo spots in Los Angeles! Plus, I have a few tips to help you get the perfect family photo for your next Christmas card. (Yes, I know it’s July but trust me …it’s better to plan ahead and not stress during the holiday season!)

I also have a sweet discount code for you to use on some holiday cards from Basic Invite (a.k.a my new favorite stationery company)! You’re going to love this brand. They have an address capturing service that makes it really easy to gather everyone’s current address and they provide peel and seal envelopes at no extra cost – more on this later in the post!

**Thank you, Basic Invite for sponsoring this post!**


Tip #1 – Decide on your Setting/Style

Are you going for an outdoorsy flannel Christmas vibe? Or do you prefer a classic family portrait?

It’s important to choose your setting/style first as it will impact everything from what you’re wearing and the amount of time you’ll need for your photo shoot, to what props you’ll need and what photographer to book!

Tip #2 – Coordinate Colors & Attire

Once you know what type of aesthetic you’re going for, make sure you get all family members on the same page! 

Nothing will ruin your all-white classic photo aesthetic faster than your sister-in-law showing up in a neon dress.

Tip #3 – Plan your Poses

Your photographer can help you with this but if I’ve learned anything in my time as a photographer, it’s that it’s easier to see a visual example of what someone wants than to guess. 

From running through a field to family piggy-back rides, it’s a good idea to create a Pinterest board for the poses you’d like to capture. This ensures that you get the exact image you’re looking for.

If you don’t have any preferences, you can let your photographer guide you but remember that they can’t read your mind! If you don’t like the poses they’re giving you, speak up and take a second to share a few inspiration photos.


The Los Angeles Arboretum

Not only is this location filled with a variety of stunning background options, it also has a cute cafe and clean restrooms. You’re not allowed to do any wardrobe changes on-site and you will need to pay for a photography permit + admission but the images are worth every penny! (I actually got married here and I adore the way my images turned out!)

Photo permits start at $50 + admission, MORE INFO + FORM HERE

Downtown Pasadena

The chic city vibes of Downtown Pasadena are perfect for a more modern family photo. There are lots of brick alleyways and adorable shop fronts you can use as backdrops! Since this is a busy city, I recommend starting your photoshoot early in the morning! 

We shot these images in the alley in front of the Edwin Mills by the Equator: 22 Mills Pl, Pasadena, CA 91105

El Matador State Beach

Ditch the Venice beach crowds and head toward Malibu for this gem of a beach! The beautiful rock formations give your photos a magazine-worthy look! This is a great option for families that have a special connection to the beach and/or prefer a more casual look for their family photo.

As far as I can tell, you don’t need a permit if the photos are for personal use and you’re a small group!

The Griffith Observatory

Capture a stunning city view at this unique photo location! Plus, it’s FREE (I doubled checked their website because I could barely believe this amazing spot was $0)! This is an underutilized location that will take your images to the next level. You can wear bold colors that pop against the white walls or opt for a classic color palette for a more sophisticated look.

Arlington Garden

Pasadena is serving up another incredible photo location! Arlington Garden is a quiet neighborhood garden with a variety of settings. Throwdown a blanket by the orange trees or gather your family near the trunk of a giant tree, no matter what you choose, you’re going to love your photos!

Photo permits start at $100 for a 1-hour session, BOOK HERE.


As promised, I have a discount code to share! You can take 15% off your Christmas card order with the code: 15FF51 

I also wanted to share a sneak peek of my Christmas cards with you! Will and I went to Paris last year but got too busy to send out cards (this is why I ordered these in July!). I love how these turned out and will likely be ordering another set to send out to even more of our family friends!

Here are a few of the great things about Basic Invite:

Almost Unlimited Colors – Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers almost unlimited color options with instant previews online. Once you select a design you can change the color of each element on the card to over 180 different color options so you can make sure the card is exactly how you want it down to the littlest detail. This truly sets them apart from almost any other online stationery company!

Custom Samples – Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers the ability to order a printed sample of their actual invitation so they can see exactly how it will print as well as the paper quality before they ever have to place their final order. (This is so important when you’re ordering large quantities for weddings, birthdays, or Christmas!)

Over 40 Different Colors of Envelopes – Basic Invite is just as colorful with their envelopes as they are with their invitations. Customers can choose from over 40 different colors when it comes to their envelopes so that they can make their invitation stand out even before it is opened. All envelopes are peel and seal so the envelopes can be quickly and securely closed! How great is this?! Basic Invite has thought of everything to make your life easier!

Address Capturing Service – Basic Invite offers an address capturing service that allows customers to simply share a link on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other form of social media to request their friends and family’s addresses which will be stored in the customer’s account and can then be selected during the design process. Basic Invite offers recipient address printing at no cost on all card orders!!

Foil – Foil cards are available in gold, silver, and rose gold. Customers can choose flat or raised foil on all of Basic Invite’s foil designs.

It’s pretty easy to see why I’m such a fan of Basic Invite, right?! They make everything SO EASY and of course, their cards are beautiful!

Ready to shop? Here are the links!

Christmas Cards

Holiday Cards

Holiday Party Invitations

I hope you enjoyed this post! Let me know if you’re planning to visit any of my favorite locations for your family photos! 

I’d also love to hear about your last family photoshoot! Was it hard to coordinate? Did your photos come out the way you hoped?

Lastly, you can follow and learn more about Basic Invite here:





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