5 More Epic Instagram-Worthy Photography Spots in Los Angeles.
Installment 2: Quintessential Los Angeles.
In Installment 1, I offered up some epic nighttime locations in Los Angeles to get those long-exposure shots that help your feed sparkle. People liked it, so I’m following it up with five more locations that are sure to bring you even more insta-fame and accolades.
Los Angeles, as you know, is a big place. It’s also filled with iconic sites, from the beach to downtown. One of the first things that out-of-towners ask is usually help in narrowing down the “must-see” spots in this vast sprawl. Everyone has their favorites, of course, but when it comes to the shots I think a photographer would want in her/his feed, these are the first that come to mind.
I tried to pick the types of locations that really got at quintessential Los Angeles — the big hits. I also tried to choose locations that offered multiple possible creative options (as opposed to just sending you to the road above the Hollywood sign, for example). See what you think:
Stop 1: Venice Skatepark
1800 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291
It’s a remarkably photogenic setting, from just about every angle. Mid-day offers just as many interesting images as a beautiful, west-facing image at sunset, out over the beach. The key to interesting photos is interesting situations and Venice Beach offers that in spades. Juxtapose organic concrete curves with high-fly acts and it’s a recipe for insanity. And the kids here to love to show off and will play to the crowds — and the photographers. Don’t be afraid to walk inside the park, that’s what I do. There’s places to sit, or stand, and the skaters will skate around you, no problem. The good skaters usually pick a run and stick with it for a while, so you can start to anticipate where they are going to be doing their stuff.
One tip — if you get an epic shot of someone, get their Instagram feed and tag them in it. It’s good karma.
What’s more, that section of Venice Beach is actually not that big. Within very close proximity to the skatepark is the famed Venice basketball courts, Muscle Beach, The hanging Venice sign, and tons of characters walking about. It’s a treasure trove of great imagery.
Stop 2: Santa Monica: Tower 24.
101 Hollister Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90405
Exactly one mile north of Venice Beach is this spot. It’s actually an easy one to overlook, as it seems almost cliché and, as a photographer, you’ll likely want to go grab the less obvious stuff. However, every time I actually head down here, I’m reminded of just how overwhelmingly beautiful it is. There’s a crazy amount of good shots to get, especially as the sun goes down.
The lifeguard towers are numbered and 24 is my favorite as it’s got an easy-access parking lot right behind it and the tower is situated a bit closer to the water than some of the others. There’s a lot to work with: the lifeguard tower, the Malibu mountains, volleyball courts, bikers and runners, and even the Santa Monica Pier is close by here. Also, the beach is big and so individuals can be isolated easily as they play catch, stare out at the ocean or kiss romantically by the seaside.
One more tip because I like you: there’s a shower at the strand here that surfers use to wash the sand from their boards and feet before driving away in their refurbished Ford Broncos. Very nice opportunity for some creative photography.
And, of course, take a nice stroll north to the Santa Monica Pier, if you’ve got the time.
Stop 3: Griffith Observatory
2800 E Observatory Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90027
It wouldn’t be a trek to Los Angeles unless you got above it and looked down at the city at least once. You really get a sense of its breadth from up at Griffith Observatory — and there’s a ton to do and see up there. Besides the giant telescope, iconic building and tons of astronomy to learn about, there’s beautiful vistas in all directions. You can use the architecture as a foreground element for any number of shots.
Also, there’s some nice trails and places to go explore around here. You’re not far from the Hollywood sign, so go ahead and get a two-for-one at this location.
Stop 4: Historic Broadway Theater District
615 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90014
Nothing says Los Angeles like actual Los Angeles. I’m talking about the reinvigorated downtown, otherwise known as DTLA. The Theater District is oozing with history and character with its rundown theaters (many of them were the first theaters in the country) still sport their original signage, giving it a timeless noir that the city is renowned for. It’s also a haven for street photography as it is an edgy cool blend of riff raff, business folks and up-and-comers from all walks, races, shapes and forms.
Making it even more interesting, the 3 or 4 blocks around this area get excellent light throughout the entire day, both in reflective light off the neighboring high rises, as well as geometric shadows and light pockets to frame people with endlessly.
Stop 5: Los Angeles From Above
Sure, I realize that this isn’t really an option for many people, but still, it is the best view of the city and, in fact, a very efficient way to see all of Los Angeles in a short amount of time. And get epic images for your feed. If it’s at all possible, I highly-suggest chartering a helicopter. Anthelion is a good choice, if you’re looking for suggestions.
Most helicopter pilots are well-versed in photo tours of the city and can offer you quick trips to the money shots. They’ll work with you, circling your favorite areas and make sure the heli is properly banked so you can get a nice big look at your model.
Just like with your actual models, facing the sun is both a challenge and immensely rewarding, imagistically. If you’ve never been up in the sky before to shoot, don’t stress too much about the equipment — trust that your camera can capture it all with pretty much any mid-range focal length. All the shots here were taken with a 24–70.
The most classic shots usually entail any one of the major freeways in the foreground, leading up and into the highrises. But don’t miss the views from the Dodger Stadium side of the city. There’s about 5 sick shots right next to each other over there.
Like discovering interesting shoot locations in Los Angeles? I have two other articles on the subject you might enjoy: 5 Epic Instagram-Worthy Photography Spots in Los Angeles and 3 Underrated Instagram-Worthy Places to Shoot in Los Angeles.
And, as always, feel free to follow along on my daily photography journey at instagram.com/joshsrose.