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Best Photoshoot Locations in the San Francisco Bay Area – East Bay

There’s no shortage of amazing photoshoot locations and venues here in California, which means that choosing the best ones for your clients’ shoots – and your style – can feel next to impossible.

Unless, of course, you know of someone who has scouted locations and shot photography all around the San Francisco Bay Area; someone who could give you the inside scoop. I wonder who that might be 🤪

All jokes aside, after hundreds of successful photoshoots in and around the SF Bay Area, I can say that there are two locations in the east bay that always deliver for me in Oakland and Berkeley!

Grab your notes, or maybe just pin this blog to your location scouting Pinterest board for safe keeping. It’ll come in handy!

My Top Two Photography Locations in the East Bay – Oakland and Berkeley

Psst – Make sure to grab my East Bay Location Guide!

In front of the Hearst Memorial Mining Building at UC Berkeley

University of California, Berkeley

You wouldn’t think that a university would be a photographer’s first pick due to foot traffic and the general fact that thousands of people are there on any given day to learn. But UC Berkeley offers plenty of space, a variety of beautiful backdrops, and best of all, seasonality!

UC Berkeley’s stream, forest, flowers, landscaping, architecture, open spaces, and clean walls offer so many photography options! Whether your photography clients want a bit of everything, or plan to choose one type of background for all of their photos, UC Berkeley is hard to beat.

My favorite thing about taking photos at UC Berkeley: the stunning leading lines and architectural backdrops. The library is my building of choice! (See below)

Outside the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley

As you may already know, we experience “seasons” in pockets of the Bay Area. Because of UC Berkeley’s landscaping and diverse vegetation, I’ve found that it also functions beautifully for seasonal photoshoots, too! You’ll see leaves and colors change to show off vivid oranges, reds, and yellows for fall; magnolia trees blooming in the late winter; and loads of flowers in spring and summer!

Magnolia trees near the Valley Life Sciences Building at UC Berkeley

Now, the time of day that you choose to visit UC Berkeley can make a huge difference in the outcome of your photoshoot. I recommend visiting the campus later in the day, a few hours before sunset, for even light. However, it’s important to know that some of the buildings will serve to block harsh light if you do plan to go earlier in the day.

Favorite UC Berkeley Spots: The front of the Hearst Memorial Mining Building, the Bancroft Library, the Valley Life Sciences Building (magnolia trees!), and the eucalyptus grove.

Temescal Alley in Oakland

So, UC Berkeley is huge. Let’s talk about a photoshoot location that’s tiny but mighty!

Temescal Alley in Oakland is the cutest, teensiest alley that is somewhat hidden from general foot traffic. It boasts multiple storefronts with fun and funky designs, lots of color (my favorite!), and ice cream and coffee shops for fun treats and props!

I recommend shooting at Temescal Alley late in the day, closer to sunset, for even light. That’s also when the shops will be closed, so you’ll be able to pose your clients in front of their cute doors, without worrying about people passing by!

In front of one of the cute storefronts in Temescal Alley, Oakland
The outdoor seating area in Temescal Alley, Oakland

So, that’s 2 locations. How about 25 more?

Now you had to know that I have a whole heck of a lot more to share with you than just two Bay Area photoshoot locations! Grab my East Bay Location Guide for 25 more East Bay photoshoot locations! 📷

I’ll share everything you need to know about each location: area highlights, addresses and cross streets, the best time of day to shoot, example photos from my own sessions, what to wear, insider tips, and more! Grab it for just $24, and check out my other San Francisco Bay Area Location Guides and goodies for photographers while you’re at it! (It’s a business expense! 😉)

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i'm sarah (she/her) , your new quirky, color-loving friend!

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My goal with every client is to cultivate a fun, creative, and approachable vibe. All types of people, all types of bodies, and all types of love are welcome here.

Color and creativity fuel my soul, and whimsical details make my heart happy! I believe in finding joy in the everyday, that real emotions are better than perfectly posed, and that building real connections with my clients is what allows me to create honest photos and capture genuine moments.

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