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Location Review: Crissy Field and Palace of Fine Art

Over pass few weeks, we've got a lot of questions regarding location choice for engagement session. We will create a series of posts about some of the most frequent locations we've been to. This week, we will address one of the most popular places in San Francisco: Crissy Field and Palace of Fine Art.

Crissy Field is a long coastal area of North San Francisco. To be precise, in this post, we are referring to the east side of it, which is next to Palace of Fine Art.

 Red circle is the area we are talking about. Blue circle is the Palace of Fine Art

Red circle is the area we are talking about. Blue circle is the Palace of Fine Art

To start off, here are some of the photos of the area.


It has a pretty good view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Also, there are some single trees that are interesting to take photos with. One thing I really like about this area is that it is not as crowded as other part of Crissy Field. Here, people only do exercises, like jogging, and will not stay in the background, which is good if you want photos without people in the background.

One thing I don't like about this area is that it is an open field with minimal shade. There is barely anything to block the sun. Taking photos here is quite challenging if it is not cloudy or overcast. Best time to do this is early morning or sunset.

However, it is not impossible to shoot around noon time. To the south side of it, there are some warehouses (photos below) where you can take photos from outside. Although the scene is not natural anymore, at least you can do something at such time.


There is also an area that is covered with a lot of trees like the photo below. This area will challenge you with thick grass and soft ground that can sink your high-hell easily. Also, the strong green is not ideal for close up shots as it casts color on your face. If you are looking for some wide shots, it can give you pretty interesting perspectives.


To the east side of it is a dock area where you might see many yachts. If you want the yachts to be in your background, early morning is highly recommended as the sun will be behind you, yielding a soft look. If you do it in the afternoon, be aware that the sun is in front of you and might be strong, making you squint your eyes.


From here, it takes you about 5' to walk to Palace of Fine Art, a landmark of San Francisco. Personally, we are not a big fan of Palace of Fine Art for some reasons: crowded, windy (we mean super windy), and too popular. It is popular for a reason. It offers a unique view that is hard to get somewhere else. Walking around the lake, you will catch some giant Romanic pillars. Also, the area has good shade that is ideal for some close up shots.



This particular area of Crissy Field and Palace of Fine Art can be a good combo for your engagement. Together, they offer good variety of scenes that are within walking distance. Of course, they both have their own good and bad. Knowing them will help you prepare better for your next photoshoot:

  • East Crissy Field:

    • What we like:
      • Golden Gate Bridge view
      • Not crowded
      • Interesting stand-alone trees
    • What we don't like:
      • Open field with direct sunlight
    • Our recommendation:
      • Shoot early in the morning or during sunset


  • Palace of Fine Art:

    • What we like:
      • Unique view with giant Romanic Pillar
      • Good shade
    • What we don't like
      • Crowded all week long
      • Usually windy
    • Our recommendation
      • Work with this area last because the wind might mess up your hair
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