Great Places to Shoot Photos & Video in San Diego / by Lowell Niles

San Diego is one of the most beautiful and diverse cities in America.  We have beaches to the west, Mexico to the south, deserts to the east, and mountains to the north.  The sun is almost always shining here, giving us nearly unlimited options for shooting photos or videos.  Here is a list of some of my favorite places to shoot.  Some are obvious, and some are hidden.

Starting with the obvious, we have awesome beaches.  The trouble is that many beaches are a main attraction for tourists and locals alike, so you will be competing for that precious spot and often will have photo bombers in the background.  To avoid this, go to some of the more remote beach locations.  

Coronado

One of my favorites is Coronado Beach.  It’s a longer drive from most places in San Diego, and because of this it doesn’t tend to get as crowded.  If it does get crowded, you can head south to the even-more-remote Silver Strand.

South Mission Beach

One of my favorite beach locations for shooting is the jetty at South Mission Beach.  If you walk out on the rocks (wear good shoes, no flip flops), you’ll come to this awesome, abandoned, graffiti-covered shack.  At sunset, this makes for a great shot!

Balboa Park

Aside from the beaches, another obvious choice for shooting in San Diego is Balboa park.  The park is huge, so you won’t be able to explore every possible location in one day.  You can capture forest shots, bridge shots, historic building shots, gardens, sports, museums, trolleys, fountains, wildlife, people, and so much more.

Spruce Street Suspension Bridge

Not-so-obvious, and relatively hidden, is the Spruce Street Suspension Bridge.  It’s not far from Balboa Park and can be accessed on Spruce Street in the Hillcrest area.

Green Valley Falls

For one of the few, swimmin'-hole-in-the-woods locations, head eastbound on the 8 freeway to Green Valley Falls.

Waterfalls, streams, creeks, woods, and swimming holes abound at Green Valley Falls.  It’s a popular spot for east-county folk, so plan your photo-video shoot accordingly!  I’ve been here at sunrise and there was nobody around for several hours.

Waterfalls, streams, creeks, woods, and swimming holes abound at Green Valley Falls.  It’s a popular spot for east-county folk, so plan your photo-video shoot accordingly!  I’ve been here at sunrise and there was nobody around for several hours.

Microbreweries

San Diego has exploded onto the microbrewery scene, and we are coming up on 500 local, commercially-sold brews!  The breweries are a welcoming, friendly place to do a photo or video shoot.  Just ask!

Joe from BrewStormers poses for a photo at Green Flash Brewery in San Diego.

Joe from BrewStormers poses for a photo at Green Flash Brewery in San Diego.

Star of India

Another well-known spot situated in San Diego Bay is the historic Star of India ship.

The ship is distractingly beautiful, so make sure to focus your mind AND your camera on your model!

The ship is distractingly beautiful, so make sure to focus your mind AND your camera on your model!

If you have any location to add, please let a comment!  I’ll be happy to include it in the next edition.

Best of luck on your shoot!