The Best Locations for Senior Photos in The Bay Area [Bay Area High School Senior Photographer]

High School Seniors

Let’s chat about location!

After you’ve booked your senior photography session with me, it’s important we chat about what exactly you are looking for in a location. Having been a family and senior photographer in the Bay Area for over 7 years, I have been to hundreds of locations and have a good sense of what works and what doesn’t. Wildflowers? Book in early spring time to assure they are still in bloom. Tall, lush green grass? Also book in the spring time as the Bay Area turns golden often starting in may. Urban? So many great urban spots such as downtown Martinez, Danville and Walnut Creek. Each has a different vibe so its important that we chat about specific details. Don’t want any of those locations? Not too worry, some open spaces have rolling hills, grand rock features and fences to use during your session. Even Mt. Diablo has great views and open roads for a more fun, relaxed feel. Whatever you are looking for, we can find!

Timing is EVERYTHING when booking your high school photo senior session! Let me explain!

Between January and April (sometimes it extends through May) the hills in the East Bay are green! Lots of tall, lush green grass and often wildflowers! I LOVE photographing seniors in the Bay Area during spring because the weather is usually warm and the grasses add color and depth to your photos! It’s the perfect combo!

Now if you aren’t into the green grass and love the golden tones, book your senior photo session between September or October OR later spring early summer, so May to July. The golden grasses have a different look and feel, so it really comes down to your own vision and what you love! There truly is no wrong or right time for senior photos in the Bay Area — I photograph seniors year round and each is unique in their own way. Check out some highlights below to get ideas on locations and clothing choices!

Filoli Gardens Senior Session – Woodside, CA

You don’t have to ask me twice to come to Filoli! So much to love about this gorgeous place. If you are wanting a bit of *everything* this is your spot. So what do I mean by everything? Well take a look below. Wrought iron stair case, climbing ivy walls, a stunning rose garden, lush, green grass… all of this gives me secret garden vibes and I am HERE FOR IT! If you are wanting to do something different with your high school senior session, then look no further! This is your jam!

Mt. Diablo Base in Clayton, CA

A little bit country and more laid, back vibes? I love this location! As a high school senior photographer in the Bay Area, I have scoured high and low for all the best locations. This one is perfect if you are wanting something easily accessible but still love the look of the golden grasses. This senior photo session was taken at the beginning of summer so the grass had already turned golden. However, I know if we were here just two months earlier, everything would still be green. Cute, vintage fence, golden grasses and even some wildflowers. The perfect combo! Oh, and there are even views of Mt. Diablo!

Wildflowers in Walnut Creek, CA

So, you gotta know the back story on this location. This photo location in Walnut Creek, CA, in early spring is filled with lupins and poppies! It is a super bloom, as they call it! The hillside is covered in purple and orange flowers. However, after all that dies off, the next batch of blooms are tall, green plants with cute, sunflower like flowers. IT IS STUNNING! I start at the bottom of the trail and work my way up to the overlook. There are grand, rock features and gorgeous views of the hills. Perfect for blue hour photos — that 15 minutes after sunset. If you are looking for a senior photographer in Walnut Creek, I’d love to work with you!

Urban Senior Session – Martinez, CA

I love a good urban senior session! Brick buildings, vintage staircases, colored doors and the list goes on! This urban location is filled with endless possibilities. As a Martinez family photographer, I know this spot like the back of my hand. I have done many sessions here such as branding, seniors and families! The shoreline is just a short drive from downtown so I will typically start downtown and then finish off in the grasses at the shoreline!

Heather Farms Boy Scout Senior Session in Walnut Creek, CA

Looking for a more natural setting in nature? Then this is your spot! Flat, open space, fallen trees logs to sit on, a small creek and a run down fence. This location has a bit of everything! Located in the heart of Walnut Creek- it’s easy to access and walk to each spot. This was the perfect location for this Boy Scout senior session!

St. Marys College Senior Session – Moraga, CA

If you are graduating from college, most seniors choose to use the campus as part of their session. I have done close to a dozen senior photography sessions at St. Marys College in Moraga. This campus is filled with gorgeous golden light, grand architecture and greenery. I love using the chapel at St. Mary’s College for cap throwing and champagne celebrations! At the end, doing photos in the center of the road are some of my fav!

Alhambra High School in Martinez, CA – High School Senior Photographer in Martinez, CA

If you are having a hard time choosing a location, your own high school can be the perfect choice! This football star wanted a little bit of both! We started downtown Martinez at the shoreline to capture some greenery and golden sun. We then moved to his high school, just down the street for the good stuff! The track and bleachers were exactly what we needed to really capture the feel of being a high school football star. This kid was a true gentlemen and was open minded to anything I asked of him. Well done Jake! Cheers on graduating!

Urban Senior Session and Wildflower Senior Session – Danville, CA

I love all locations but his on has my heart. These yellow lupins only bloom for about a month in late spring, so around April! They are more than incredible. Perfect for any type of session. This college graduate had three outfits and rotated them out at both locations. We started downtown Danville and then moved to San Ramon for golden hour! For clothing, I do recommend at least a dress and a pair of jeans with a cute top. Two completely different looks to move in and jeans are great b/c you can sit, squat and lay down easily. I would love to help in styling you for your senior photo session so please reach out with any questions you may have!

Lupins and Poppies Wildflower Senior Session – Walnut Creek, CA

Whether you are graduating from Concord High School, Clayton Valley Charter, Northgate High School or even Cal State East Bay, this location is central and super to close for a senior photography session! Located in the heart of Walnut Creek and filled with gorgeous wildflowers in the spring.

Japanese Friendship Garden – San Jose, CA

A quaint, community garden in the middle of San Jose with lots of greenery, blooming flowers and even a redwood grove. This location has a little bit of everything! We had an overcast day which really allowed us to explore and shoot anywhere on the property. This high school senior came in from our of town for her senior photos in the Bay Area and totally rocked it. She had three outfit changes — two dresses and one casual look of jeans and a cute a top. Community Gardens are a great option as they are always lush and blooming year round!

Stanford University Senior Photographer – Palo Alto, CA

Stanford has an incredible campus! The architecture is absolutely stunning! If you are a Senior graduating from Stanford University, I highly recommend using the campus for your senior photos! For this girls senior photos, we started in the Arizona Cactus Garden and then moved to different places around the Stanford campus. The lighting was just perfect as well as the campus being in full bloom which made her dresses pop!

St. Marys College Senior Photographer – Moraga, CA

I have photographed on St. Mary’s campus so many times and always love the end result! St. Mary’s has a wide variety of cute spots to photograph Seniors at. I typically will begin our session in the courtyard with the brick stairs and white colored buildings. From there, I move to the green walk ways, the fountain and different congregating areas. There is so much versatility here! I do recommend getting your senior photos done earlier as the campus tends to get busy closer to graduation time in June.

Shell Ridge Open Space Senior Session – Walnut Creek, CA

This location is requested often by graduating Seniors. If you are wanting wildflowers, this is your spot! In spring, this hillside is filled with a super bloom of poppies and lupins. If you want this location, you must be flexible with your date as sometimes the super bloom is in April and sometimes it is in March. It really depends on the weather and rain so be flexible! I love Shell Ridge for Senior sessions because there are so many hidden spots to utilize for different backdrops. The grand rock features, fence and Mt. Diablo overlook are just some of my favorites!

Heather Farms Park Senior Session in the Wildflowers – Walnut Creek, CA

This location in Walnut Creek has the classic yellow mustard flowers as well as some white and purple sprinkled in! It is important to note that every year, the wildflowers here bloom at a different time. If you love this location and would like your Senior photo session done here, I recommend booking in February and then once I see them bloom, we can move your session to a date that works. In 2021, these bloomed in late April. In 2022, this field was in full bloom by end of February. It really is dependent on the rain so please be flexible. This location is easy to get to from Carondelet and De La Salle High Schools as well as Las Lomas and North Gate High Schools. So if you are on the hunt for a location for your Senior photos that is close by, this your spot. We utilized the flower field, fence line, bridge and even the tree lined path with a stream. It’s the perfect spot for both a girl and guy senior photography session!

UC Berkeley Senior Session – Berkeley, CA

For college seniors graduating from UC Berkeley, the campus is the perfect spot for your photography session!

Wildflower Senior Photos – Walnut Creek, CA

Stanford University Senior Session – Palo Alto, CA

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