City Photo Spots: Best Locations in San Francisco

For most of my adult life, I have called San Francisco Bay Area my home. The city is home to some of the most famous landmarks and photosgenic spots. You’ll be amazed at the variety of elevations in San Francisco. This gives you unique views of the city, depending on where your are. These are my top photo spots in San Francisco.

It is interesting to see the seasons in this area, especially during summer. It may be sunny and warm during the day. However, fog often covers the city after the sun sets. Everyone will have their own preferences about the best time to photograph. The iconic landmarks are always stunning in all lighting conditions, whether it’s nighttime, golden hour, or midday.

Personally, I enjoy photographing during the blue hour and gloomy days. It gives me the most inspiration for my photos. When I am in San Francisco, I shoot mostly street photography and urban landscapes.

Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge is undoubtedly the most well-known bridge in the world. It is stunning, no matter whether you are looking at it from far away or walking on it. If you visit in summer, expect to see more moody scenes as the fog rolls in. The bridge lights up at night, creating a completely different atmosphere. Fog is my favorite time to shoot landscapes. It’s great to use long exposures to create a scene that looks smooth and fog-free. Marshall’s Beach is a beautiful location at the Golden Gate Lookout Area. It has a wonderful composition of the bridge and the waves washing ashore.

Lombard Street

This street is the most bizarre you’ll ever see. This street is visited by hundreds of people from all over the globe. This street has eight sharp turns and is narrow. Be prepared to wait in line if you arrive at peak times to get your turn to drive down. To capture the light trails running down the street, I love long exposure shots. These light trails are best captured after sunset as there will be a lot of cars.

Pier 7

This is the Financial District’s most famous pier. You can see Transamerica’s iconic building peeking out of the skyline if you walk down to its end. The benches are equally popular. The benches’ design allows you to create some really fun frames. Street photography is my favorite thing to do. I love to walk up and down the pier, photographing fishermen in action or people enjoying intimate moments. This is where I photograph street photography and sunsets.

California Street

This street is my favorite because of the cable cars that go up and down every day. This street offers many different perspectives. Since the sun rises behind the Bay Bridge, I tend to go there in the morning and take photos. Landscape photographers might have some great photo opportunities if the traffic is too heavy during the day. Street photography is easy on this street. There are plenty of subjects to choose from so it shouldn’t be difficult! This is an example of the many elevations that San Francisco streets offer.

City Photo Spots: San Francisco

Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks is my favorite place in the city to view the entire skyline. This view has a unique foreground feature due to the long, twisty road. You can see the Bay Bridge and Golden Gate if you look down. As the sun rises behind the city skyline, I love to visit this spot during sunrise. It’s quiet and peaceful because there are not many people here in the morning. If you are lucky enough to see a low-fog event, you will be in for a treat.

All images were taken using the Sony A7rIII, the G Master lenses, (16-35mm f/2.8 GM), 100-400 f/4.5-5.6, 35mm f/1.4 GM, 50mm f/1.2, 85mm f/1.4 and 100-400 f/4.5-5.6)

There are many other San Francisco photo spots you can visit. These are only a few of my favorite spots. This city is not only photogenic but also has a wide variety of food. There are many options for cuisines, from Little Italy to Chinatown. It is sunny most of the time, but it can be very hot at night. Bring a jacket if you are out in the evening. There are many beautiful urban and natural scenes to capture, from the Golden Gate Bridge to the piers that line the bay.