Los Angeles on your list of destinations? If you’ve never been to LA, you’ve been missing out. Of all the places we’ve been, Los Angeles is definitely one of the most special. Whatever you’re looking for out there, you can find it–fame, money, hiking, beaches, good food, cool Instagram photos. In a city that’s that big, and this cool, it can be kind of overwhelming to map out where to take photos. Luckily for you guys, we’ve been there plenty of times and can help you navigate the city and find the best places to shoot.
So, if you’ve never been to LA, first thing to note is that you need a good form of transportation. The city is huge and the traffic is crazy, so it’s a lot easier and more cost efficient to rent a car (if you’re visiting) than to be taking Ubers everywhere. Plus, renting a car gives you the added benefit of turning your trunk into a mobile closet while you shoot.
We’re breaking down this IG photo guide by location so you guys can maximize your time when shooting. We suggest following the guide, but also taking the time to wander around a bit while you’re in those areas. There’s something pretty and Instagrammable around every corner in Los Angeles. Be sure to share the wealth and drop a comment below if you find a great LA photo spot along your journey!
Instagrammable Places in Los Angeles
Even if you’re never heard the formal name for this spot, you’ve undoubtedly seen it on your Instagram feed. Melrose Place is a little side street off the main road that has a mix of high end designer stores, cute coffee shops and picture-perfect sidewalks. It’s home to the infamous Alfred Tea Room and Alfred Coffee, Balmain, Glossier, NARS and more. On the small stretch of storefronts, you could easily shoot 4 outfits in totally different locations. How’s that for maximizing your time? Our favorite spots along this side street are:
Pink tile, cute cups, neon signs, cute outdoor seating, pretty croissants
Colored Tile Stairs
Right next to the front entrance of Alfred Tea Room is a staircase that has the cutest multicolored tiles–nudes, pinks, browns, tans. Very Instagram-worthy spot for a seated pose
In front of the Zimmermann store
The Zimmermann store sits next to a few other designer favorites like The Row on Melrose Place. The store fronts are SO pretty–white picket fences, climbing green ivy, white framed glass windows and charming brick. Such a great photo spot for almost any outfit or situation.
Bottega Veneta on Melrose Place
We love the storefront of Bottega Veneta on Melrose for similar reasons as Zimmermann. The Bottega Veneta store is entirely covered in climbing green ivy and makes for a really pretty photo backdrop. It offers a slightly different aesthetic than the Zimmermann storefront, so it’s great for keeping your feed cohesive in look, style and color.
Okay, so Malibu is technically outside of LA, but well worth the drive. The drive out to Malibu from Los Angeles is one of our favorites and only takes about 35 minutes on a good day. The Pacific Coast Highway runs along the beach, so the views are enough reason to make the trip out there. Up in the hills of Malibu, the residential neighborhoods look like movie sets. The streets are filled with colorful flowers, interesting architecture and lots of ocean views. Malibu has no shortage of beaches, pretty houses and boujee restaurants, making it perfect for photoshoots. Some of our favorite places to take photos in Malibu are:
Carman Crest Drive
Carman Crest Drive is an area in South Malibu right off the Pacific Coast Highway. The area is residential, so it’s quiet and easy to walk through. All of the houses, architecture, and flowers make this area ideal for photo shoots and the residents there are usually pretty cool about you using their home as a shoot location.
Malibu Pier is such a fun place, honestly. Malibu Farms, a super trendy, farm to table restaurant, is located on the pier. This is the perfect place for casual pictures with a cute cocktail in-hand and some ocean view pictures on the pretty painted white pier.
El Matador State Beach
Coolest beach ever. El Matador State Beach is a go-to for beach shoots. There are tons of cool rock formations and cave-like areas, rustic looking staircases winding down to the beach, aerial views and perfect sunsets. Check it out if you’re in Malibu and need a good beach location, you definitely won’t be sorry.
This hotel is actually perfect. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think this hotel was meant specifically for Instagram photos. What most people don’t know about this place is that their rooftop bar and restaurant is open to the public. This rooftop gets really pretty light in the afternoons, has amazing seating and interior decor and this effortless California-chic aesthetic that everyone knows and loves.
Venice Beach is one of those place with so much character and unique spunk that it’s hard to stay away. Venice Beach is Los Angeles’ equivalent of New York City’s St. Marks Place, but in a beach setting. The only downfall to taking photos in this area is how popular this place is. The boardwalk is always packed with people, as is the beach, so if you’re looking for photos without anyone else in them, be sure to go early. Some of our favorite places along Venice Beach to shoot are:
Hotel Erwin is smack in the middle of the Venice Beach Boardwalk and has an amazing rooftop bar and restaurant. The bar, on top of having amazing drinks, has a very cool lounge-like feel and 360 degree views of the beach and surrounding areas. The rooftop is totally glass so it’s perfect for photos (and a quick bite to eat).
The Skatepark at Venice Beach
The skatepark at Venice is something you should see even if you decide that this photo aesthetic isn’t for you. Tons of pro and sem-pro skateboarders hang out here and give the crowds a show. It actually makes for a really cool photo backdrop and has been used as a shoot location for major brands and designers.
The Venice Canals are very underrated. Not a lot of people actually come here to take photos, but it’s well worth a visit. The bridges that span the Venice canals are white painted wood, the houses are adorable and the lighting is always really pretty around golden hour. The canals are a few blocks off of the main boardwalk, so it’s worth checking out while you’re in the area.
The classic blue lifeguard shacks that line Venice Beach make for the cutest beach photoshoots. The color of the shacks is the prettiest light blue and looks really perfect against the beach, especially at sunset.
Santa Monica Pier
This one seems like an obvious choice for an Instagram photo, but it’s really that good. The pier has a ton of different areas ranging from rollercoaster to arcades and ferris wheels. You can find a photo spot for almost any aesthetic and the pier is, obviously, right on the beach so it’s really a 2-for-1 location. There’s tons of inspiration on Pinterest if you search “Santa Monica Pier photoshoot” if you’re having trouble envisioning it. The spot is characterized by cotton candy, old school arcade style games, amazing ocean and mountain views, and fun colors.
The infamous Rodeo Drive is as boujee as you’d imagine it to be, and just as perfect for photos. This stretch of high end stores has super pretty storefronts, palm trees and landscaping, making it perfect for street style shots. There’s also a little side street that’s foot-traffic only that looks more like Milan, Italy than it does Beverly Hills, California. Super cute and iconic for Instagram shots.
Did you like this travel guide? Checkout more of our Instagrammable place recommendations on the Wolf Blog!