The best photography spots in San Francisco are a must for any photographer wanting to get epic shots for their portfolio. This city is full of gems that are a must!

Having explored San Francisco dozens of times, this guide will take you through the city where you will be able to get the most epic shots in SF.

Below is a list carefully crafted for every photographer out there. From the landscape photographer to the portrait photographer looking for a great backdrop.  In no particular order, this list has been crafted just for you.

San Francisco Photography Location Guide

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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.

best photography locations in san francisco California

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Best Photography Spots in San Francisco

1. Palace of Fine Arts

This spot looks like a scene right out of Europe. Visit here for endless columns and a large dome to capture. The best time to shoot is at night. The best lens to use is a 24-70 or a wide-angle lens. 

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2. Pier 7

Pier 7 is lined with old-time street lamps and gorgeous views of the Transamerica building. Make this a stop on your pier hopping journey to get some shots looking back at the city. The best lens to use is a wide-angle or a 24-70mm lens. 

Best Photography Spots San Francisco California for any photographer

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3. Baker Beach

This location is a breathtaking mix of city and ocean views. Head here for glowing sunset pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge with the incredible beach in the foreground. The best lens to use is a wide-angle lens. Make sure you stay after sunset to get an epic night shot. 

The best photography spots in San Francisco california

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4. Golden Gate Bridge

You cannot leave this city without trying to capture shots of the Golden Gate Bridge. Whether the day is foggy or clear, this influential and iconic piece of architecture will deliver stunning photos. The first photo was taken from Bakers Beach, and the second was taken from Battery Spencer Park.

best photography locations in san francisco California

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best photography locations in san francisco California

5. Painted Ladies

This iconic line of houses, most known for in their appearance in “Full House,” line the streets beside Alamo Square Park. Golden hour lights the houses up to illuminate the scene, and you can get downtown San Francisco in the background. The best lens to use is a 24-70 mm lens. 

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6.Japanese Tea Garden

While small, this tea garden features pagodas, koi ponds, and circle bridges. Head to this location early in the morning to catch the fog hanging low in the gardens. This is a great location to do photoshoots or epic shots of Japan without traveling there. The best lens to use is a 24-70mm lens. 

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7. Land’s End 

Land’s End is great for hiking and enjoying views of the ocean, the city, and the Golden Gate Bridge. With rushing waves and plenty of rocks, this is a great location to get long exposure shots during sunset or sunrise. The best lens to use is a 24-70mm lens. 

Best photography spots in sf california lands end location

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8. Sutro Baths

These pools of water used to be huge bathhouses, but now they sit in ruins by the ocean and offer some incredible views at sunrise or sunset. The best lens to use is a wide-angle lens.

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9. Alcatraz

What is the Best Photography Spots in San Francisco list without Alcatraz? This is one of the bigger tourist attractions, the emptiness of the hallways and cells, adds eeriness and quiet to any shot. The best lens to use is a wide-angle lens. 

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10. Conservatory of Flowers

This building is filled with greenery and flowers to provide beautiful pictures and nice strolls. The vaulted ceilings are formed with large windows, which means there is good lighting throughout the entire conservatory. Come here to shoot beautiful flowers or to do an awesome photoshoot. The best lens to use is a 24-70mm lens. 

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11. SF MOMA

The Museum of modern art is a must when you are in SF. Unique and vibrant art pieces and installations are a common sight at this modern Museum of art. The architecture, by itself, is absolutely stunning. The best lens to use is a wide-angle lens. The best time to shoot is at any time.

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12. De Young Museum 

This Museum has an observation deck on the top floors that has stunning views of San Francisco. The observation deck is free and gives you panoramic views of the city. The Museum itself is absolutely stunning. The best lens to use is a wide-angle lens. 

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13. Bonita Point Lighthouse

To get perspective above the San Francisco fog, make the trek up here to visit this lighthouse view from a vantage point. The best time to shoot is at sunset or sunrise. 

Bonita Point Lighthouse

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Best photography spots in San Francisco California

14. The Financial District

You can’t miss out on shooting skyscrapers in San Francisco’s financial district, which features a pyramid-shapedTransamerica building that towers over the city.  The best lens to use for this particular shot is a 24-70mm lens.

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15. Pier 39 (Fisherman’s Wharf)

Fisherman’s Wharf is not only great for photographing piers and people; this is the go-to location to capture sleeping sea lions. And you can get an awesome view of the Rock AKA Alcatraz. The best lens to use is a 20-70 mm lens. 

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16. Powell Street

Powell Street is the place to go if you’re looking to feature distinct San Francisco streetcars in your photography. The best time to shoot is at any time. The best lens to use is a 24-70 mm lens. 

the best photography locations in san francisco california

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17. Marin Headlands

Head outside the city to find one of the greatest views of San Francisco. This perspective gives you a full look at the bay. The best time to shoot is at sunrise. The best lens to use is a 24-70mm lens. 

Best photography locations in san Francisco california

18. Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks are one of 7 hills in San Francisco and give you a complete look over the bay area on a clear day. This place is epic at any time of the day, and the best lens to use is a zoom lens. 

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19. Lombard Street 

One of the most crooked and winding streets in the world offers cool shots from above. If you have a drone, this is the place to fly it. 

best photography spots in san francisco california

Best photography spots in SF lombard street

20. Grace Cathedral

Likely the most famous church in the city, this grand cathedral sits on a hill and is a great piece of architecture to include in your portfolio. The inside is stunning. You need a super wide-angle lens to get all the amazing detail. 

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21. China Town

If you are looking for epic street photography, look no further. You can spend all day in China town getting epic street photos. Come hungry as the food is absolutely delish! The best time to shoot is during the day. The best lens to use is a 24-70mm lens.

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22. Rincon Park

This is a great spot to get incredible photos of the Oakland Bridge. The best time to shoot as at sunset and at night. The best lens to use is a wide-angle lens.

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23. Torpedo Wharf

This is another great location to get an epic shot of the Golde Gate bridge. The best time to shoot is at night. The best lens to use is a wide-angle lens.

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24.  Golden Gate Bridge View Vista Point

This place is super easy to get to and a must when you are in San Francisco. Bring a zoom lens. The best time to shoot is at sunset and at night.

the best photography locations in san francisco california

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25. Dolores Park

This place has incredible views of the city. Get there for sunset to get some epic shots. Make sure you walk around to get different compositions. The best lens to use is a wide-angle lens.

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26. Coit Tower

With 360 degree views of the city, Coit Tower is a must on your visit to San Francisco. Hang out during the day or at sunset to get beautiful city shots. The best lens to use is a 24-70 mm lens.

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27. Treasure Island

Treasure Island has epic views of the city and of the Oakland Bridge. Come here a few hours before the sunset and explore as you have many different views and locations to shot from.

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best photography spots in san francisco california

28. The Castro District

This is the gay district and it is so much fun. It is colorful and you can find all kinds of great spots for photos. The best time to come is any time and a 24-70 mm lens will do the trick.

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29. Corona Heights

Corona Heights is another location that has epic views of the city. If you are looking for incredible San Francisco city views, this is a must. The best times to come are at sunset or sunrise. The best lens to use is a zoom lens.

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30. The Mission District

If you are into street art, graffiti, and a good time then you have to spend some time at The Mission District. This spot never disappoints and you can be sure to walk away with some epic images. The best lens to use is a 24-70 mm lens.

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These are the Best Photography Spots in San Francisco California.

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Happy Shooting!