Help me take the best portrait Los Angeles has ever seen.
July 31, 2007 12:29 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for really good locations to shoot portraits in the Los Angeles area.

I'm being recruited to do some professional portrait shots. I prefer to shoot with natural light, so I'd like to find some outdoor spots that would make really good backdrops for portraits. Some things on my wishlist are:

1) a location with the downtown LA skyline as a backdrop.
2) the best location to catch the Hollywood sign in the background (cheesy, I know, but some people love cheese).
3) other iconic or otherwise meaningful places of interest (I'm fairly new to LA so feel free to tell me what I should be looking for).
4) stunning architecture with cool patterns and/or vanishing points. (Walt Disney Concert Hall is already on my list, more like this please!)

I'm open to any and all ideas, and you don't need to be a photographer to make a recommendation. Bonus points if you drop a google maps link.
posted by mullingitover to Media & Arts (12 answers total)
This is sort of way overdone, but the beach at sunset is always popular (sunset over the shoulder, fill flash so you don't get a silhouette.)
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 1:27 AM on July 31, 2007

The best place for a photo with the Hollywood sign in the background is on the upper levels of the Renaissance mall at Hollywood and Vine.
posted by Optamystic at 3:23 AM on July 31, 2007

er...I mean Hollywood and Highland.
posted by Optamystic at 3:25 AM on July 31, 2007

BTW, Hollywood & Highland is a recent mall themed after L.A. history, it's not actual L.A. history -- no more than the Paris Hotel in Vegas is truly Parisian. Most natives hate the thing. Grauman's Chinese is truly historic but none of the attached mall next to it is.
posted by miss lynnster at 4:56 AM on July 31, 2007

Oh, and here's some very good advice on photographing the Hollywood sign.
posted by miss lynnster at 4:59 AM on July 31, 2007

The Grove is very photogenic.

There's also a little shopping plaza, much like a mini-grove in Beverly Hills right off Wilshire. Can't think of the name. It has the fountain in front with an elephant (hippo) sculpture playing in the water. Tourists are there taking photos year round.
posted by ScarletPumpernickel at 7:16 AM on July 31, 2007

I'd say the Getty qualifies as iconic/stunning architecture, but I know nothing about photography.
posted by Durin's Bane at 7:38 AM on July 31, 2007

Check out The Barnsdall Art Park. It's in Los Feliz, and built around a Frank Lloyd Wright home. I don't remember if you can get the city skyline from there, but you can certainly get good backgrounds of the hollywood sign from there.

The Observatory mentioned up thread is also a good choice.
posted by willnot at 7:43 AM on July 31, 2007

You should also take a look at MacArthur Park off Wilshire just a little west of downtown for your city scape backdrop.

When I was shooting there, I was trying to shoot the rising moon, and I found the park was way too close to the city to get what I was looking for, but with a normal sized lens, it would probably be just about right and you have a lot of interesting nature/city contrasts to play with there.
posted by willnot at 8:16 AM on July 31, 2007

Don't do photography at night at MacArthur Park without being careful of your safety, it can be a sketchy drug park. And also, very important: don't leave any cake out while you're there. Especially if the sky is even slightly cloudy. It probably took a long time to bake, and you may never have that recipe again.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:16 AM on July 31, 2007

Thanks for the advice everyone! On my own I also found the CalTrans building which is very promising, and it's only a couple blocks from the Walt Disney Concert Hall so it's a possible two-birds-with-one-stone deal.
posted by mullingitover at 2:19 PM on July 31, 2007

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