From breathtaking waterfront shots to stunning views of rolling hills and rocky terrain, Monterey has some of the best photography spots in the world. Whether you are proposing to your special someone, already engaged, or just want to celebrate a milestone in life, I'm here to share with you the most amazing places to capture unforgettable memories in Monterey.
I'm Jed, a wedding and elopement photographer based in Monterey, California. There are SO many incredible places in the Monterey Bay area that are great for a romantic photoshoot and I want to share them with you! As a Monterey wedding photographer, I get to capture couple's happiest moments and guide them through their wonderful experience.
Let's chat about five of my favorite spots to host a photoshoot in Monterey...
1. Garrapata State Beach
Just a short drive 14 miles south from Monterey is Garrapata State Beach, and it’s the perfect place for an epic and romantic photoshoot. With its clearing meadows, and miles of windswept beaches lined with tide pools, you’ll have plenty of places to explore around this unique beach spot. It has a wonderful variety of cliffs, sandy beaches, and large rock formations. You can get some amazing shots of the crashing waves against the rocky cliffs. Since you have to drive outside of the city to get to this beach, it is more private and secluded, which is great for couples who desire a more intimate setting where they can relax and be themselves.
Parking is very easy, there is a moderate dirt lot parallel to the road driving down Highway 1. It's hard to miss and you'll typically see a few cars parked on the road with spectators and tourists out enjoying the views. You can also find a public restroom atop the parking lot. Note that there is a short dirt path and some stairs that lead down to the beach so make sure you are ready to walk dnancies have comfortable clothes and shoes. Ultimately, is all of Monterey, this is one of the most highly sought after areas for professional photographers.
2. Asilomar Beach
Asilomar Beach is one of the most unique beach spots in Monterey. Located on 17-mile drive, this away-from-it-all beach setting offers spectacular views all year long. The craggy shoreline and nearby sand dunes make for wonderful overhead shots, while it's wide open expanse allows you to capture dramatic landscapes and stunning sunsets. There is so much romantic beauty to be captured at this beach. Since the beach area is so large, you won't need to worry about huge crowds of people because you will always have space to shoot without getting a lot of other people in your photos.
Parking at Asilomar is also very easy and accessible for most people. There is plenty of parallel parking along the street above the beach, and it is only a short walk down the beach. The only thing to note is that depending on where you park, there might be a few stairs to get down to the beach, so just be aware that not all areas at Asilomar are handicap accessible.
I love this beach so much, that we took our family photos here (see above)!
3. Lover's Point
Who said you have to travel far to get stellar photos? Lover’s Point, located right at the edge of the Monterey peninsula, is an ideal spot for a photoshoot. With its stunning views of both the ocean and rocky coastlines, you’ll be able to frame your shots perfectly. I personally love taking couples climbing on the massive rock formations to get some grand coastal landscape shots. From a photography standpoint, it's hard to beat this incredible location for your engagement or elopement. The bright blue and turquoise waters against the vibrant green foliage provide plenty of color contrast in photos too.
There is small dedicated parking lot very close to Lover's Point, located right in front of one of my favorite restaurants California Seltzer Co. You can also park along the streets nearby with a timed 1 or 2 hour parking meter.
4. Carmel Beach
For a more secluded photo shoot, head to Carmel Beach. The shoreline is perfect for capturing romantic silhouettes and calming sunrises. This beach is more tucked beneath tall cliff fronts, which stand as beautiful backdrops for your photos. Take advantage of the slow rolling waves and soft, white sand for those dreamy beach shots. You can even enjoy a picnic on its beach or explore quaint shops nearby in downtown Carmel. No matter what you decide to do on or around at Carmel Beach, you’re sure to get some spectacular photos!
Parking at Carmel Beach is very easy to get to, just head all the way down Ocean Ave in Carmel and you'll find yourself in a moderate-sized parking lot called Carmel By The Sea Parking Lot. If you want a more secluded experience, you can continue all the way Scenic Road until you get to Scenic Road & Santa Lucia Avenue. That's my favorite place to park because it is more private, next to public restrooms, and allows you enjoy some rock formations on the beach.
5. Ribera Beach
Ribera Beach is another great spot for a photo shoot with a lot of scenic variety. I could spend a long time at this beach with couples and get many different looks and backgrounds. Located to the east of Monterey, this beach offers more beautiful views of the ocean and stunning cliffs. The colorful sunsets give you the opportunity for gorgeous silhouettes against its vibrant hues, making it an ideal location for capturing candid, intimate vibes! I love that you can climb the cliffs and get huge overlooking shots and then walk down onto the beach to get your toes in the sand and capture more fun and sandy shots.
Parking at this beach is a little more tricky to find and access. Ribera beach is definitely the most private beach from this list because it is tucked in a residential neighborhood so it is much more secluded from the public eye. Don't worry, I'm here with all of the answers for your photoshoot needs. You want to park in front of this house on Ribera Road. That will land you right by the stairs to get down to the beach.