Engagement locations review: Fitzgerald Marine Reserve

Over the past few months, many couples have asked us about Fitzgerald Marine Reserve as they were looking for engagement locations. It is not popular among many other engagement locations. Our couples only knew this place after they saw other engagement sessions we did there, a morning engagement session and an afternoon engagement session. They liked it from the first look and would like to know what we think about it. So, here is our review.


What we like about Fitzgerald Marine Reserve:

  • Not too crowded. Unlike other popular engagement locations, such as Palace of Fine Art and Crissy Field, which are packed all year long with tourists and joggers, this place doesn’t have many people around. This makes the shoot much easier for us and our couples. We don’t have photobomb. Our couples feel more comfortable posing.
  • Easy lighting. For us, as photographers, lighting is everything. This place is covered with trees, defusing direct sunlight, making the light much more even and softer. While other places are only good for photos during early morning or late afternoon, this place is good for photos all day long. It’s worth noticing that although the lighting is good all day long, the color and look of this place change significantly during the day (you can feel the difference between two engagement sessions linked above).
  • Various views. Within one location, having various views equals time-saving. This allows more time for shooting.
  • Sunset. Since this is next to the beach, you can plan your sunset here. However, a beautiful sunset is not guaranteed every time. If it is overcast, you might not see the dramatic orange sky at all (it just gets darker and darker).


What we don’t like about Fitzgerald Marine Reserve:

  • Shooting permit. At the moment of this review, the lowest permit is $250 and it can go up to $500 for express processing (you can find the current permit info on their website). For some couples, this fee can be an issue.
  • Might be windy in some areas. Wind is the worst enemy for ladies. It can mess up your hair quickly and ruthlessly. So, if you plan to shoot here, make sure to use lots of hairsprays. Also, try not to shoot anywhere near the beach and the cliffs. Those are where the wind is strongest.
half moon bay engagement locations
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However, you can take advantage of the wind to create an interesting effect.
  • Not seasonal. Although this is minor and despite the various views, the place looks the same throughout the year, regardless of the seasons.
  • No urban view. If you want to have both nature and urban view for your engagement session.. well, you have to pick another location.


Our thought and recommendation:

If you like the view of nature and the permit cost is reasonable for you, it is a good place to go. It’s convenient and beautiful.

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