These are the Best Photography Spots in San Diego California.

San Diego is a beautiful oceanfront city that sits along the coast of California. Its vicinity towards the Pacific Ocean, Los Angeles, and Mexico contribute to its diverse and vibrant culture as well as many photo opportunities in nature and urban settings.

This is the second-largest city in the United States is well-known for mild weather, a natural deepwater harbor, and plenty of long coastal beaches. If you are trying to explore this city in all its beauty, reference this list for the best spots you can visit to capture some amazing San Diego photography.

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The Gear

The gear we recommend is a good camera and the holy trinity.  A wide-angle lens.  14-24mm or something similar.  A 24-70mm or something similar and, of course, a 70-200mm or something similar.

If you do not have these particular lenses, do not worry; something similar will be just fine. It would be best if you also had a tripod.

San Diego California Photography Guide

1. Sunset Cliffs Natural Park

The name says it all. Sunset Cliffs is the perfect place to capture breathtaking images of the setting sun against waves, coastal bluffs, and sea caves. You might even capture the occasional cliff diver making their way into the ocean. The best lens to use is a 24-70mm lens. 

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2. Scripps Pier La Jolla

Scripps Pier makes it on the top of our best photography spots in the San Diego list because of its fame and importance. Known as one of the largest research piers, you can find boat launches and experiments taking place at Scripps Memorial Pier. Explore this location by moonlight for some truly remarkable pictures.  The best lens to use is a wide-angle lens. 

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3. Salk Institute of Biological Studies

The symmetrical arrangement of this research institute divided by a flowing river of water through its central plaza creates a concrete jungle for photographers to explore. It truly is an architectural masterpiece and a must for any photographer. The best lens to use is a wide angle lens.

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4. Blacks Beach La Jolla

This secluded beach is the place to head to capture the beautiful rocky coastline of San Diego in a relaxed setting. It sits at the base of high sandstone cliffs which make for beautiful beach shots. Take a drone our any lens will work well here. 

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5. Balboa Park

Balboa Park is a place where culture, science, and nature meet. This historic urban park is home to plenty of museums and gardens. This well-manicured area is great for capturing distinct and detailed architecture as well as nature. I love to shoot flowers in this place. The best lens to use for flowers is a macro or a zoom. The best lens for the architecture is a wide angle lens. 

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6. Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

This State Natural Reserve sits on 2,000 acres of coastal land and is one of the wildest stretches of area in Southern California. This state park gives photographers views of rocky shores, rare foliage and awesome lifeguard towers. The best time to shoot is at sunset. The best lens to use is any. 

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7. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints La Jolla

This striking building rises high above the landscape and is defined by its two white spires. The well-kept grounds of the church provide plenty of photo opportunities to capture this magnificent building. The best time to shoot is any time and the best lens to use is any. 

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8. San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo is home to over 3,500 animals and is a great place to be to practice some wildlife photography. The best lens to use for wildlife photography is a zoom lens, the longer the better. Pro tip: open up your aperture to get a shallow depth of field. 

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9. Windanseas Beach 

This stretch of coastline is famous for its great waves. The rocky shore of this beach provides shots of surf breaks, sand, and trees. The best time to shoot is at sunset. The best lens to use is a zoom lens or a wide. 

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Best Photography Spots in San Diego California

10. San Diego Skyline

The San Diego skyline can be seen from multiple vantage points and offers the best views of the city of San Diego. The best location is to shoot from Coronado. The best time to shoot is at night. Make sure you do a nice long exposure to get the building reflecting on the water. The best lens to use is a wide. Where do i shoot the san diego skyline from, best photography spots in san diego california, best place to shoot the san diego skyline

11. Geisel Library

This interesting shaped library is the main library building on the University of California, San Diego’s campus. This distinctive architecture combines arches and glass to look like a pair of hands holding up a stack of books. A must for your architectural portfolio. The best lens to use is a zoom lens. 

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12. Old Town 

Old Town San Diego is rich with history and the perfect place to experience life from the early Mexican-American period. With colorful decorations and signs around town and warm tile lining the streets, Old Town delivers a lively, cultural experience to photographers. Best lens to use: Any. 

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12. Downtown San Diego

There’s plenty going on in downtown San Diego with its offerings of museums to visit, bays to explore, and lively restaurant and bar scenes to partake in. Capture a diverse portfolio of city and nature by stopping by the busy downtown area. The best time to shoot is at sunset to get that epic sun glow. The best lens to use is any. 

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13. North Park

North Park is filled with upscale dining options, indie boutiques, and a vibrant nightlife. This area has a young scene, with most of the activity revolving around the Observatory. This is a good place to be to capture live music events and cool San Diego hotspots. The best time to shoot is at any time. Great for street photography. 

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14. Pacific Beach

Pacific Beach is a relaxed area in San Diego frequently visited by sunbathers and surfers alike. This area is lined with boardwalk boutiques and cafes that offer sweeping views of the beach and the city. The best time to shoot is at sunset. The best lens to use is any. 

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15. La Jolla Cove

This protected area is rich in marine life and offers picturesque views of the beach surrounded by the cliffs of La Jolla. This area is scattered with sea caves that can be explored on foot or by kayak. The best lens to use is a wide-angle lens. 

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Best Photography Spots in San Diego California

16. Anza-Borrego Desert

Travel outside the city to photograph mountainous landscape shots of one of California’s State Parks. This desert was formed by erosion pushing against the mountains and has plenty of dips and curves to capture. This place is just stunning. The best time to shoot is at sunset. The best lens to use is a wide. 

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17. Botanical Building

This historic building located in Balboa Park is one of the largest lath structures in the world and sits beside a pristine lily pond. The Botanical Building houses over 2,100 permanent plants and collections of seasonal and tropical flowers.  The best lens to use is any. 

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18. Chicano Park

Chicano Park is an area that is a  predominantly Mexican-American and Mexican Immigrant community. This area has plenty of colorful and beautiful murals to seek out and photograph. This photo was shot from a drone, but if you love street art you have to get down and dirty and walk the park. Do not worry it is perfectly safe. The best time to shoot is during the day. The best lens to use is a zoom.

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19. San Diego Embarcadero Marina

This area is in the southwest downtown region of San Diego-come here for pictures of the sea and ships. The best time to shoot is at sunset or at night. The best lens to use is any lens. 

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20. Coronado Bridge

This bridge connects San Diego and Coronado California. This is a must on your trip to San Diego. The best time to shoot is at sunset. The best lens to use is a wide.

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21. San Diego Kissing Sailor Statue

This is an epic must have a photo and really easy to find. The best time to shoot is at sunset. The best lens to use is a 24-70mm lens.

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23. La Jolla Sunset

If you are in San Diego, take the time to just go to La Jolla and shoot the sunset. The best lens to use is any.

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24. Children’s Pool

This place is epic, it is full of seal and it has great views from the street. Feel free to walk down to get a close up of al the seal’s layout. The best lens to use is any lens. The best time to shoot is at any time during the day.

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25. USS Midway Museum

This is the massive USS Midway ship turned into a museum. If you are into airplanes this place is a must. You can get incredible images of lots of vintage aircraft. The best lens to use is a wide-angle lens.

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26. Petco Park

Petco Park is a great place to catch a San Diego Padres game, and its also a great spot to get some incredible shots of this beautiful park with the skyline in the back. The best lens to use is a wide-angle lens.

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These are the Best Photography Spots in San Diego California

If you enjoyed the list, please leave a comment below and share it with your friends. Feel free to stick around and check out our other photography guides. Please remember to check back as we are continually updating our guides.

Happy Shooting!