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A Photographer’s Guide to Los Angeles

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LA. The City of Angels. Southland.

Los Angeles is a place known by many names. It’s a place almost 20 million people call home. And it’s a place full of culture, diversity, and energy.

If you’ve seen a movie before, then you’ve seen Los Angeles.

And you’re probably familiar with popular places like the Walk of Fame in Hollywood, Disneyland, or the stunning, sandy beaches brushing up against mountains along LA’s coastal towns.

As a city synonymous with movies, it’s to no surprise that LA is full of picturesque places to snap some photos. Here’s our list of the top spots to capture amazing photos in Los Angeles.


LACMA

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Los Angeles County Museum of Art, or LACMA, is known for a few different areas of intrigue, but the most famous has to be the Urban Art exhibit, created by Chris Burden. A stunning mix of palm trees and street lights assemble together, creating symmetrical rows and columns ideal for any photo.


Above The Hollywood Sign

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Recognized around the world, the Hollywood Sign is one of Los Angeles’ most famous symbols. There are a few ways to capture this landmark, our favorite of which is from above. You can use different trails to get here – such as Hollyridge Trail, Burbank Peak Trail, or Brush Canyon Trail. Just note that that trails close from sunset to sunrise, so start hiking well before sundown is expected. These hikes range from 3 miles or so to over 6 miles. Bring plenty of water and get ready for some LA sunshine.


Griffith Observatory

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Built in the 1930s, Griffith Observatory offers jaw-dropping views over the city of Los Angeles. But while the views are impressive, the structure itself is also known for timeless architecture and design. Leaving no shortage of angles to capture, Griffith Observatory should be high on your list, either for the incredible sights of the Los Angeles Basin, or for the photos of Griffith Observatory itself.


Park Row St.

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Park Row St. is an old bridge overlooking the 110 Freeway southbound into Los Angeles. While not the most enjoyable place to stay for long (think car pollution and noise), the bridge offers wonderful views feeding into downtown Los Angeles. Be wary about shooting this at sunset or sunrise, as traffic can get backed up through this area, and it’ll make for a long trip home.


Echo Park

Echo Park is a lovely park adjacent to DTLA, with a small pond, water fountain, rentable paddle boats, and tons of landscape and greenery to explore. The area is one of the most densely populated parts of the city, so expect to see some crowds. Look for street parking when visiting, as the park offers no onsite spaces for vehicles.


Elysian Park

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Fun fact, Elysian Park is LA’s oldest park. Another fun fact?

It makes for some of the most stunning photos above Los Angeles.

No shortage of car commercials have been filmed at this location, with vehicles rolling up and down palm-tree-lined streets high above LA. With views of Dodger Stadium, DTLA, and the surrounding metropolitan, Elysian Park offers angles unlike any other place in the city of angels.


Walt Disney Concert Hall

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Designed by Frank Gehry as a tribute to the city’s cultural history, the Walt Disney Concert hall is a magnificent piece of architecture, design — and above all — mystery. Contours in the building’s shape cause the building to seemingly lead in all directions and nowhere, at once. Get lost by following along the exterior walls of the concert hall. You’re guaranteed to find some interesting places to photograph.


Santa Monica Pier – Pacific Park

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Moving towards the coast of Los Angeles, you’ll run into some notable spots — among the most recognized of which has to be the Santa Monica pier. Amassing some 7 acres across Santa Monica’s beach and ocean, this pier is absolutely huge.

To top it all off, the pier features a two acre amusement park at the end of it, complete with a small roller coaster and Ferris wheel. With all of the amenities in this area, it’s easy to spend a full day photographing, relaxing on the beach, or hitting the amusement park.


Venice Beach Canals

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Los Angeles has an interesting history with the communities of Marina Del Rey and Venice Beach.

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In the 1900s, wealthy developers carved out large canals and a marina along Los Angeles’ coastline, creating an area akin to Venice, Italy. They figured the canals would provide a convenient means of transportation for folks, especially since automobiles still hadn’t become mainstream.

A decade or so later, when cars became a bit more common in American society, these canals were gradually filled and replaced by roads — leaving only a couple still in existence.

With beautiful white-fenced pedestrian bridges to walk over, the Venice Canals offer some truly unique opportunities for photos in Los Angeles. For a bonus, try to hit these canals during winter or after a large storm. Water levels can vary depending on the day.


South Windsor Blvd – Between 4th & 5th Streets

Jake Blucker / Unsplash

Between 4th and 5th streets, along Windsor Blvd, you’ll run into the famous palm tree street. Symbolic, iconic, and relatively easy to find — this street is famous for framing the Hollywood Sign perfectly in the backdrop.

In person, the sign can seem somewhat far away, so be sure to have a camera with solid zoom capabilities. Any DSLR should be fine.

Roberto Nickson / Unsplash

Final Thoughts

From the coastline to the mountains, and from the city to the the suburbs, LA has hundreds of incredible spots to capture. The geography in Los Angeles is much like the culture here — wonderfully diverse and unique.

Hopefully this article chipped away at some of the more impressive spots to photograph around LA, but if we’re missing one, be sure to let us know in the comments below.

Happy exploring 🙂

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