Malibu Engagement Photo Locations

If you're thinking about shooting Malibu engagement photo locations, you've come to the right place! I've been lucky enough to shoot engagement photos in Los Angeles in tons of spots, but Malibu is by far my favorite.

So, without further ado, here's my definitive guide to Malibu engagement photos!

About Malibu

Malibu is a city in western Los Angeles County, sitting about 30 miles due west of Downtown Los Angeles.

Photo Courtesy of Google Maps

The city offers 21 miles of amazing coastline, from Tuna Canyon in the southeast to Point Mugu in the northwest.

How to Find Your Malibu Engagement Photo Locations

There are two main ways to get to Malibu.

First you can take Pacific Coast Highway northwest from Santa Monica. Although traffic can be a pain, this is my favorite way to go, for a few reasons. For instance, you get amazing views of the ocean for almost the entire drive! Similarly, there are plenty of spots to stop for a quick bite to eat.

You can also take Highway 101 north through the valley and take any one of these exits:

  • Topanga Canyon Road (Hwy. 27) -- This road drops you at the very eastern edge of Malibu, just north of the Getty Villa.
  • Las Virgenes Rd./Lost Hills Rd. -- Although these are two separate exits, they both will put you on Las Virgenes Rd., which you can take all the way to PCH. This road drops you just south of Pepperdine University.
  • Kanan Rd. -- Kanan eventually turns into Kanan Dunes Rd., which connects with PCH at Point Dume.
  • Decker Rd. (Hwy. 23) -- This drops you at the very western edge of Malibu, just north of El Matador State Beach.

Areas to Shoot Malibu Engagement Photos

There are so many great spots in Malibu to shoot, it's hard to list them all. So, I'll list my favorites below, in no particular order.

Malibu Creek State Park

The Park is a great spot for Malibu engagement photos! It's easily accessible from Las Virgenes Rd. and there's plenty of parking.

There is so much different terrain at the park. For instance, off Mulholland Dr., you can use the Grasslands Trailhead to access a few trails that run deep into the Malibu Mountains. There are wide-open spaces and huge oak trees.

malibu engagement photo locations

Similarly, a little further down the road is Tapia Park, a small day-use park with picnic areas. Tapia Park is great because it gives such a different feel for your Malibu engagement photos. For instance, the park is covered in dark, old oak trees. So, you can get an amazing moody feel in your photos.

couple embracing under oak tree malibu creek state park

El Matador Beach

I love El Matador Beach for Malibu engagement photos!

couple embracing at el matador beach malibu engagement photo

El Matador sits near the western edge of Malibu. There is a small parking lot that's usually full, however there's plenty of street parking.

The beach at El Matador isn't particularly large, but it's got lots of different terrain. Therefore you can get a ton of different looks in a very small area.

Compared to other beaches in Malibu, I love El Matador for the large rocks that sit right in the sand. For photos, you can use them as a compositional element or as a way to get interesting angles!

Malibu Pier

The iconic Pier is a great spot for Malibu engagement photos!

malibu pier
Photo courtesy Bigstock.

The pier is right off PCH, so it's super easy to get there. The pier has long leading lines you can use as compositional elements, plus it's wide open and the light is amazing!

Finishing Up in Malibu

What better way to finish your Malibu engagement photo shoot than with a nice meal and a cocktail! Here are some standout spots:

  • Malibu Farm Pier Cafe -- Located at the very end the Malibu Pier, the Cafe offers locally sourced food and killer drinks!
  • Duke's Malibu -- Famous for it's Hawaiian cuisine, this spot offers killer views and great people watching!
  • Nobu Malibu -- If you've got some spare cash and are eager for a celebrity sighting, Nobu is your spot!

Interested in Malibu engagement photos? I'd love to chat! Fill out the form below to schedule a consultation!

All photos courtesy John Schnack Photography unless otherwise specified.

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  1. HI Brittany, Thanks for your message. I’ve shot there twice and never got a permit. I Think if you work quickly, you can get away with it like we did. But if you’re planning on being there a while, it would probably be better to get one. You can get permits through FILMLA, I think. Best of luck!

  2. hi john! i stumbled upon your site while searching for information regarding engagement photoshoot at the malibu state park. i’ve heard mixed things about having to get a permit to take pictures here? ideally, we’re looking to take them in the grassy & tree area in the park. i reached out to the park’s film department and they said you have to have a permit and you cant get a permit on the weekends. do you know if you need a permit? appreciate any feedback you can provide!


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