The 17 Best Places to Photograph in Los Angeles

LA has to be one of the most photogenic cities in the US. From the sprawling mountains minutes away from the city to scenic beaches Los Angeles is FULL of great places to Instagram.

Nearly every sunset in LA is breathtaking which is why I love this city so much. Everytime I visit Los Angeles I find myself photographing all day and night. If you visiting LA for the first time I highly recommend renting a car to get around. Much of the city is sprawled out so it’s best to have a car to get around the city.The Best Los Angeles Instagram Spots //

Here is my list of the best places to take pictures in Los Angeles:

Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory Night

LA from Griffith Observatory

If you only stop at one place on this list the Griffith Observatory is a must, it has to be one of the most instagrammable places in LA. Once you get to Griffith Observatory you’ll be greeted with a panoramic view of LA. If you’re looking for a Los Angeles skyline photo location put the observatory on your list!

Parking can be tight at peak times though and you may have to park a bit down the hill if the parking lot is full.

Additionally if you’re willing to hike a bit there are a few trails behind Griffith that will let you get above the observatory for even more creative views. The photo above is from the hiking path that starts at the observatory.

Griffith Observatory on Google Maps

LACMA “Urban Light”

Lacma Urban Light Long Exposure

Long Exposure at LACMA’s Urban Light

Day or Night the “Urban Light” exhibit at Lacma is a popular destination. Basically any instagrammer can appreciate the unique rows of street lights here. The grounds of LACMA also have some interesting environments to explore but the most prominent feature is Urban Light.

LACMA on Google Maps

Angels Gate Park (Basketball Court/Korean Friendship Bell)

Korean Bell Of Friendship in Angels Gate Park

Korean Bell Of Friendship in Angels Gate Park

This spot took me a long time to find so I knew I had to include it on the list.

Angels Gate Park has Korean Friendship Bell which is a massive bell in a stone pavilion. Additionally there is a very unique arched basketball hoop at this park. Plus it’s on a large hill so you can get views of the water from the park.

Angels Gate Park on Google Maps

Santa Monica Pier

Sunset At Santa Monica Pier

Sunset At Santa Monica Pier

If you’re visiting LA enjoying a sunset at the Santa Monica Pier is a must. The waves crashing down as the sun goes down behind the pier is just one of those classic California things that can’t be missed. If you want to spend more time here I recommend exploring the pier, you can even walk underneath the pier.

Santa Monica Pier on Google Maps

Pedestrian Bridge at Slauson Station

The pedestrian bridge at Slauson Station is huge for portraits. The bridge at night is lit by a single light source on the top that gives your photos a very moody feel.

Slauson Station on Google Maps

Walt Disney Concert Hall

Walt Disney Concert Hall at Night

Walt Disney Concert Hall at Night

Located directly downtown The Walt Disney Concert Hall is full of incredible shapes and architecture. If you’re downtown for dinner I recommend stopping at Broken Spanish for sophisticated Mexican dishes (The pork belly tacos are incredible).

Just a warning: The stainless steel exterior can get incredibly hot on a sunny day so be careful where you put your hands.

Walt Disney Concert Hall on Google Maps

The Broad

The Broad At Night La

Long Exposure of the Broad at Night

The Broad museum is right next to the Walt Disney Concert Hall in the middle of downtown LA. Its unique exterior is fun to photography day or night. There are also some interesting art pieces inside, general admission tickets are free but there is typically a line for them.

The Broad on Google Maps

The Queen Mary Cruise Ship

Fence At The Queen Mary

Fence At The Queen Mary

The Queen Mary is quite the tourist attraction with shops and restaurants inside but the front of the ship is incredible. Parking was free for 30 minutes while I was there which was just enough time to hop out and take a photos and get back on the road.

Queen Mary on Google Maps

Bradbury Building

Inside of the Bradbury Building there is a vintage stairway that is hit with unique lighting from the skylight on the roof.

Bradbury Building on Google Maps

Underpass in Downtown LA

Los Angeles Downtown Underpass At Night

Underpass in Downtown Los Angeles

It took a bit to find this spot but it’s centrally located in Downtown LA. There are a few places to drive into the underpass, plus if you come late there is parking all over the street where you’d want to shoot. It’s underneath S Grand Ave so you can enter via W 4th St.

W 4th St & S Grand Ave on Google Maps

The Last Bookstore

The Last Bookstore La Drewfolgmann Ishootwhatever

Portrait of @ishootwhatever in the Last Bookstore by @drewfolgmann

If you take portraits the last bookstore is a perfect stop with its uniquely stacked books. Many will recognize the books stacked in a circle pattern.

The Last Bookstore on Google Maps

Venice Beach Canals

Venice Beach Canals By Roberto Nickson

Venice Beach Canals at Sunset By Roberto Nickson @rpnickson

The Venice Canal Historic District are great to capture during the day or at sunset. The man made canals were built in 1905 be developer Abbot Kinney who wanted to recreate the feel of Venice, Italy. You’ll find tons of pedestrian walkways and bridges here that go between incredible homes and gardens. The canals themselves offer great reflections of the palm trees poking up all over the neighborhood.

Venice Beach Canals on Google Maps

Skyline/Highways at the W 4th St Bridge

Long Exposure La 4th St Bridge Highways

Downtown LA from the W 4th Street Bridge

If you’re looking for somewhere to take pictures in Los Angeles at night you have to stop at the W 4th street bridge. If you’re driving it’s usually pretty easy to find a parking spot a few blocks away on S Boylston St or Miramar St.

After getting the skyline from the W 4th St bridge take a walk down S Beaudry Ave to the 5th and 6th street bridge for tons of other angles. If you have a wide angle lens and a tripod you’ll be in heaven in this area.

With the range of intersections and highways there are tons of different light trails you can capture at this location.

4th St Bridge on Google Maps

California Department of Transportation

The California department of transportation with its red neon lights is perfect for late night portrait photoshoot.

Caltrans Building on Google Maps

Hike Behind the Hollywood Sign

Hike Hollywood Sign Mvisuals

Hollywood Sign by @m.visuals

One of the most iconic L.A. sights is the giant Hollywood sign in the hills. There are a few trails that let you hike behind the sign to get great photos of the skyline and sign.

Trail to Hollywood Sign on Google Maps

Grimes Canyon Road

DJI Mavic Pro aerial photo above Grimes Canyon Road

DJI Mavic Pro aerial photo above Grimes Canyon Road

You’ll need a car to get to Grimes Canyon road but the scenery is spectacular, especially when the sun goes down. There are a a few spots to shoot from to get shots of the curve in the road; which looks especially great with a long exposure at night.

Just be careful here, the walk to the path to get photos of the road at night is narrow so walk with cation (cars will be driving past you).

Grimes Canyon Road on Google Maps

Aerial Shots of LA from a Helicopter

Los Angeles Aerial Highway By Ladybaguette

LA from helicopter (by Claire Lejeune @ladybaguette)

Many fly with flynyon to get aerial photos of Los Angeles. It can be a bit pricey but it’s a great way to get unique angles of LA.

Video from Los Angeles

In addition to the photos above I recorded a vlog showcasing many of the LA photography spots above. You can watch the video below.

Did I miss a spot? let us know your Instagram worthy places in LA in the comments below!

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  1. Gorgeous photos and nice tips, Andy! Thanks for this list, I’ve added a lot on mine. A photo app I’m working for features 150+ of California’s best photo locations and I think you’d be interested! It’s called Explorest – it leads you to the world’s most beautiful photo locations using GPS coordinates & tips by the country’s best photographers. We’ll be expanding to New York and many more places soon! Check it out if you have some spare time!

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