Where You Can Capture Photos of the Golden Gate Bridge Like a Professional
The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is one of the most iconic places in the world. Seeing it in person is breathtaking, and photographers from all over the world come to San Francisco to take their own photos of the Golden Gate Bridge.
There’s many things to do in San Francisco, but your trip really isn’t complete without getting photos of the Golden Gate Bridge. Not only is it the symbol of this city, but the best sites to get these photos are some of the most beautiful points in the city. My favorite places in San Francisco include a unique view of the bridge. Here is your guide to getting the best possible photos of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Probably one of the more famous views, Chrissy Field is the most common site to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge. Chrissy Field offers miles of public beaches and picnic areas on the outskirts of the Presidio. You’ll want to get closer if you’re looking to exclusively feature the bridge in your photos of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Open to the public, Fort Point is a national historic site originally built to defend the coast. This is a great place to not only learn some history, but to get some ground-up shots. Admission is free, and your shots will include a unique perspective of the bridge.
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Golden Gate Overlook:
Located between the batteries and the beaches, this overlook will allow you to observe the activity on the Golden Gate Bridge. You can hike here from Chrissy Field, or can park anywhere in the Presidio to get here.
As you’re hiking the battery trail, you can’t miss Battery Godfrey. This is another great place to get a shot directly down the towers of the bridge. It’s also a beautiful place to watch the sunset if you aren’t interested in hiking down to the beaches.
Right in front of the Warming Hut on Chrissy Field, this viewpoint will get you out and into the water. Here, you’ll often find fishermen fishing at the pier, and may even run into some sea lions. With a large number of locals in this area, one of my favorite shots from here typically includes people as the main focus.
If you’re hiking along the Golden Gate trail, you may not even realize that this slab of concrete was a former coastal defense battery. This viewpoint is featured on television quite a bit, and is a great place to get your shot. The lighting here is perfect as the sun starts to set.
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Hike the Battery to Bluffs trail to the sandy, windy staircase that leads to Marshall’s Beach. This hidden gem is used by some as a nude beach, but that should in no way deter you from visiting. This is my favorite place to photograph the sunset. There’s an enormous amount of rocks to climb on top of and include in your shots. Around 4 PM, you’ll notice beach-goers leaving and photographers streaming in for engagement sessions and landscape photography. Trust me- you do not want to miss this shot.
A little more easily accessed than Marshall’s Beach, this is a great public beach to get photos of the less famous side of the Golden Gate Bridge. Be aware that the closer you get to the bridge, the more “clothing optional” the beach becomes. There is a parking lot and stairs right on the beach, so this is a better viewpoint if you aren’t looking to hike. (It’s also probably a good idea to double check your photos to be sure there aren’t any naked people in them before you upload them)
On the Golden Gate Bridge:
You won’t get a full bridge shot on the bridge, but you’ll get some really interesting shots underneath the towers. The entire bridge is about 2 miles long (it doesn’t look nearly that long when you’re standing there), so if you’re planning to walk it, be prepared for the distance. One side of the bridge is designated for bikers, and the other is designated for walkers, so be sure you’re on the pedestrian side.
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The best time to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge from Alcatraz Island is during a night tour. You can capture some beautiful sunset photos of the Golden Gate Bridge that you won’t get from any other perspective. You’ll also get some great photos of the city skyline from here. Pack a telephoto zoom, and potentially a tripod. Read more about my experience on an Alcatraz night tour here.
Another extremely photogenic location, Battery Spencer another site used by filmmakers to capture the Golden Gate Bridge. There is a parking lot just beneath the hike to the viewpoint when you get there. This viewpoint gets crowded, so I recommend off-peak times and weekdays if you don’t want to fight for your viewing spot.
This viewing location will get you a shot between the towers of the bridge from the north side of the city. This is easily accessed by driving, and there’s a large parking lot and visitor center by the viewpoint.
No matter where you choose to take your photos, this bridge doesn’t know a bad angle. Do yourself a favor and budget plenty of time to admire the Golden Gate Bridge from all angles. You won’t regret it, and you’ll get stellar photos of the Golden Gate Bridge.