We live and work in one of the best counties in California, and being photographers, we want to capture as much of it as we can. That’s why we work diligently to have the opportunity to work at some of the best wedding venues and engagement locations to capture some amazing memories. Three16 Photography loves capturing wedding & engagement photography at various Orange County locations. From hiking trails to the beach, and everything in between. We also serve Los Angeles and surrounding areas of Southern California.
Although we are one big glorious county, in many ways the county is defined as two; South Orange County and the Rest of Orange County. But none the less, this county offers the best of many worlds. Here are just a few of the cities in Orange County that offers a great deal of amazing locations for your photo session.
City of Laguna Beach
If you have never been to Laguna Beach, then you’ll love that it’s considered as an artist colony. There is art everywhere. Sculptures, murals, performing arts and many festivals. It truly is a gem of a city. Laguna Beach can be viewed at as two types of cities. You have the coastline and you have more of a wilderness area. The coastline, which is what Laguna Beach is most known for, is about seven miles of ocean, sand, shops, restaurants and amazing homes overlooking the ocean.
The wilderness side of the city is approximately 20,000 acres of protected land that has trails for hiking and mountain biking, marine sanctuaries, trees, flowers and a whole lot more nature at its best. This area is often referred to as Laguna Canyon. According to the city’s Visitor’s Bureau, the unofficial city motto is “A Resort for all Seasons.”
Things to see or do in Laguna Beach includes all the amazing art, or hitting the beaches for surfing, volleyball or tide pool exploration. There is plenty of shopping available to you, as well as whale watching cruises and some of the best eateries around. Some of the season happenings include the Festival of Arts, the Sawdust Festival or take in a production at The Laguna Playhouse, where you can find the Pageant of the Masters and watch art come to life. The Pageant typically runs from early July until the end of August.
Recommended Wedding Venues and/or Engagement Locations in Laguna Beach includes Table Rock Beach, the Surf & Sand Resort, Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Treasure Island Beach, the Downtown Laguna Beach area, Thousand Steps Beach, the Montage Laguna Beach and the Main Beach Laguna.
City of Dana Point
Located along the coast in South Orange County and nestled in between Laguna Beach, Laguna Niguel, San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente is the beautiful city of Dana Point. The city’s official motto is “Harboring the Good Life” and they live up to that. Dana Point is home to an awesome harbor, coastal bluffs and some beautiful hills. It really has a little of everything. Dana Point is also a very popular location for camping at the beach.
Things to see or do in Dana Point includes the more that 2,500 boats that are docked along the coast, amazing art exhibits, sport fishing or even parasailing. There is also plenty of shopping available and some amazing restaurants. The Dana Point Harbor connects you to the well renown Doheny State Beach, which appears in the Beach Boys songs, “Surfin U.S.A.” and “Surfin’ Safari”, and is home to the annual Doheny Blues Festival in May, which is a must-see event.
Recommended Wedding Venues and/or Engagement Locations in Dana Point includes The Ritz-Carlton, the Ocean Institute, the Dana Point Yacht Club, Salt Creek Beach, the Aventura Sailing Association and Doheny State Beach.
City of San Juan Capistrano
Located just inward from the coast in South Orange County, San Juan Capistrano goes back further than 1776 as it was home to Native Americans before settlers arrived. This gem of a city lies right between the Pacific Ocean and some beautiful rolling hills and is home to many historic facilities and some more modern traditions.
The city is known for the Mission San Juan Capistrano and Los Rios District, but many of today’s young people know it more for the Returning of the Swallows in March, followed up with The Festival of the Swallows, also in March. And, not to mention the annual Mooning of the Train in July. This town may be entrenched in rich history, but it has been a thriving city ever since. After all, the city’s motto is “Preserving The Past To Enhance The Future.”
Things to see or do in San Juan Capistrano includes the Mission San Juan Capistrano, Los Rios District, Serra Plaza, Zoomars Petting Zoo, O’Neill Museum, the Mission Basilica and both the annual Festival of the Swallows and Mooning of the Amtrak Trains. One of the more popular places to go for great music is the famous Coach House.
Recommended Wedding Venues and/or Engagement Locations in San Juan Capistrano includes The Mission San Juan Capistrano, the Los Rios District, the Marbella Country Club, the San Juan Hills Golf Club, Serra Plaza, El Adobe de Capistrano and the Northwest Open Space.
City of Orange
Much of the city of Orange is part of the old downtown district from years past. In fact, while many other cities removed the older homes for modern living arraignments, Orange preserved theirs and today the city of Orange Historic District is the largest National Register District in the state. It truly is a unique city to visit and walk around in.
Within all the history, the city of Orange is attempting to add modern day lifestyles to the district. Old Towne Orange with its many of long running antique shops have had an influx of restaurants and other foodie favorites. If you like that urban feel, then you have to check out Old Towne Orange. The city’s motto is “A Slice of Old Town Charm.”
Things to see or do in Orange includes plenty of shopping at “the circle”, the Outlets of Orange and other shopping centers. Orange is home to some beautiful parks such as Irvine Regional Park, Santiago Oaks Regional Park and Irvine Park Railroad. While there, you have to take in some dessert at the old Watson’s Soda Fountain. It has recently been remodeled, but it’s still a blast from the past. Then the city’s biggest festival of the year is the annual Labor Day Weekend International Street Faire. Where foods, drinks, music, dancing and crafts from all over the world come together for the largest street party around.
Recommended Wedding Venues and/or Engagement Locations in Orange includes Irvine Regional Park, Old Towne Orange “Circle”, The Vintage Rose, the Jones Victorian Estate, the Orange County Mining Company, the Santiago Oaks Regional Park and the Orange Train Station.
City of Yorba Linda
With their motto being the “Land of Gracious Living,” the city of Yorba Linda is a great mix of that “small-town” feel to it and that of a more modern upscale community. From smaller homes to large properties, Yorba Linda has approximately 100 miles of horse, walking and riding paths. Horse trails? Until the 1980’s, Yorba Linda was still very much horse country with several ranches amongst the orange groves. In fact, the local McDonald’s still had a horse hitching post until its remodel in the 2000’s. Then came the expansion of East Yorba Linda with Eastlake Village and beyond. Yorba Linda, which is the birthplace and burial site of our 37th president, Richard Nixon, is considered one of the richest and safest cities in the nation based on many polls and research.
Things to see or do in Yorba Linda includes the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. The library includes the very same helicopter that President Nixon used to fly away from the White House upon his resignation. Other things to do or see in Yorba Linda is the Black Gold Golf Club, the John Force Race Station Museum honoring drag racing and Yorba Linda’s own the Force family. There is the Yorba Linda Historic Cemetery, the Redwood Groves, which is a smaller version of the Redwood Forest and is located in the Yorba Linda side of Carbon Canyon Regional Park, the Winery at Main Street, the Canyon Inn and the newest area in Yorba Linda, the Yorba Linda Town Center.
Recommended Wedding Venues and/or Engagement Locations in Yorba Linda includes the Richard Nixon Library, Black Gold Golf Club and Redwood Grove.
City of Santa Ana
Located in the center of Orange County lies the County’s largest, and most populous, city, Santa Ana. The city covers approximately 27 square miles and is full of rich history, from a political sense as it is considered the home of the county’s government and judicial buildings, to the early settlers of the region and a very deep-rooted history in Hispanic culture. For many years, locals and tourists avoided Santa Ana due to crime related issues, but in more recent times Santa Ana has been going through a revitalization of the city, especially in the downtown area with art galleries, great eateries and a fantastic art district.
Things to see or do in Santa Ana includes the Bowers Museum of Cultural Art, the Discovery Cube Orange County, the Santa Ana Zoo at Prentice Park, the Heritage Museum of Orange County or do some shopping at the Santa Ana Main Place Mall. Other things to see or do is to go inside the Old Orange County Courthouse that is rich in tradition, you can visit old World War II airplanes at the Lyon Air Museum, or you can visit the old Yost Theater.
Recommended Wedding Venues and/or Engagement Locations in Santa Ana includes The Santa Ana Historic District, the Yost Theater, the Estate on Second, the Old Orange County Courthouse, The Hacienda and the Heritage Museum of Orange County.
City of Fullerton
Talk about a city steeped in history. The city of Fullerton was founded back in 1887 and continues its rich traditions, all while still be modernized. The city is probably best known for three different “scenes.”
First, the city of Fullerton’s motto is “The Education Community” and that is due to it being home to higher educational institutions such as California State University, Fullerton, which was founded in 1957 and Fullerton Community College, which opened in 1913, among others. The city also has several high schools, including Fullerton High School since 1893.
Second is the music scene. First in the early 1950’s, Fullerton resident Leo Fender designed and invented the electric guitar. In the 1990’s, Punk Rock hit the scene and became very vibrant. It was home for many of the top bands of that era such as Agent Orange, The Adolescents, D.I. and Social Distortion. Other musical notables include Mike Ness of The Monkees, Jackson Browne, Stacey Q, Berlin and a young student at Cal State Fullerton known to the world as Gwen Stefani of No Doubt fame.
The third area is more recent addition to the city as they took a run-down area of Fullerton and upgraded it to one of Orange County’s top areas to go for nightlife. This .28 square mile area has at least 30 restaurants/bars with atmospheres that range from the serene tea and coffee houses to a little more on the wild side. As for the food, there is something here for everyone. Although the SOCO (South of Commonwealth) District is new, it maintained that old-town Fullerton feel to it.
Things to see or do in Fullerton includes The Fullerton Arboretum located at Cal State Fullerton, the Maverick Theater, the Muckenthaler Art and Cultural Center, Downtown Fullerton, STAGES Theater, the SOCO District or catch a Cal State Fullerton baseball game as they are a perennial contender for the College National Championship every year and has won several titles.
Recommended Wedding Venues and/or Engagement Locations in Fullerton includes The Summit House Restaurant, the Villa del Sol, Coyotes Hills Golf Course, the Fullerton Arboretum, the Muckenthaler House, the Casa Bonita Event Center, Craig Regional Park, Hillcrest Park and the Hotel Fullerton.
City of Irvine
The city of Irvine is known as a master-planned city when William Pereira, a Los Angeles architect, and Irvine Company’s Raymond Watson planned out the layout and look to every house and commercial facility. Irvine is home to the very prestigious University of California, Irvine and may be considered as the Silicone Valley of Southern California. After all, their motto is the “City of Innovation.”
With that said, Irvine is a very “Green” space as more than a third of the whole city is permanently preserved for parks, natural open spaces and trails. As of 2019, Irvine includes 19 community parks, 39 neighborhood parks, 81 athletic fields, 155 acres of sports fields, 54 miles of bike trails and about 5,600 acres of open space/greenbelt areas.
Things to see or do in Irvine includes the Irvine Spectrum Center, Pretend City Children’s Museum, the Orange County Great Park, Irvine Improv, Botanical Gardens at UCI Arboretum, Tanaka Farm Tours or take in the one of the many great concerts at FivePoint Amphitheatre, more commonly known to Orange County locals as the Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre.
Recommended Wedding Venues and/or Engagement Locations in Irvine includes The Irvine Spectrum, the Strawberry Farms Golf Course, UC Irvine, the Katie Wheeler Library, the Jeffrey Open Space Trail and the Hotel Fullerton.
City of Huntington Beach
Who hasn’t heard of Huntington Beach? After all, it is the “Soul of Socal” according to their city motto. This local gem of a city is 9.5 miles long that is home to a great beach culture and excellent surfing all year long, causing it to be nicknamed “Surf City.” Made famous in many songs, especially by Jan & Dean, as well as the Beach Boys, Surf City is home to the annual World Surfing Championships that are held every summer. Of course, there is more to Huntington Beach than just the waves, but for anyone that visits here, the beach, with all its shopping and eateries/bars, is where to be. In addition, Huntington Beach is the home of the Ocean View Little League. The same team that went on to win the 2011 Little League World Series by winning 2-1 over the country of Japan.
Things to see or do in Huntington Beach includes the Huntington Beach Pier, the downtown area of the city, Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve and the International Surfing Museum. And of course, you can shop at the Bella Terra, get your Octoberfest in at Old World Village and finish your visit with a sunset gondola ride.
Recommended Wedding Venues and/or Engagement Locations in Huntington Beach includes Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort, the SeaCliff Country Club, the Red Horse Barn, the Huntington Bay Club, the Newland Barn and the Huntington Beach Pier.
City of Anaheim
Did you know that Anaheim was once the second largest city in Los Angeles? It’s true as Orange County did not exist until it split off from Los Angeles County in 1889. Anaheim was founded back in 1857 but it really got its popularity with the building of Disneyland in 1955 and then the Angels baseball team in the mid-1960’s. The construction of motels and hotels in the area caused the area to grow in residential districts and industrial. The boom in the city’s economy during this time increased property values quite a bit.
Today, Anaheim is home to many great places to visit for adults and children alike. The city has the amusement parks, professional sports teams with the Angels and Ducks and so many great eateries and nightlife, its no wonder this city is seen as the hub of the county.
Things to see or do in Anaheim includes Disneyland, California Adventure, Downtown Disney, take in an Angels baseball game or a Ducks hockey game. You can check out the Anaheim Packing District for good food, drink and music or take the kids on some rides at Adventure City. The City National Grove of Anaheim is an indoor live music hall. You can also spend time at the Anaheim Garden Walk, take in a convention at the Anaheim Convention Center, or spend your days at the Yorba Regional Park, catch a summer concert at the Ronald Reagan Park or take a stroll at the Oak Canyon Nature Center. And of course, you have to check out the iconic Anaheim White House Restaurant and all the Craft Breweries that the city has to offer.
Recommended Wedding Venues and/or Engagement Locations in Anaheim includes Yorba Regional Park, the Oak Canyon Nature Center, Angel Stadium, the ARTIC Train Station and Disneyland.
The South Orange County Triangle of Cities
As you enter the northern part of South Orange County, there is an area to the northeast that is made up of four cities that when you draw lines from one to another on a map it creates this triangle. The cities involved include Silverado, Rancho Santa Margarita, Lake Forest and Trabuco Canyon.
Silverado, aka Silverado Canyon, was founded in 1878 and is located up against the Santa Ana Mountains. The city got its name for being a former silver mining area back in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This small-town plays host to a summer concert series and annual Country Fair. Silverado might be most known for the Cook’s Corner, a favorite hangout for motorcyclists.
Rancho Santa Margarita is much like Irvine, a master-planned community and is located between Mission Viejo and the upscale Coto de Caza. Rancho Santa Margarita is probably best known for much of the filming that takes place for The Real Housewives of Orange County. This is the town they shop, eat and do much of their daily business in.
Lake Forest wasn’t incorporated until the end of 1991. Therefore, many of you may remember its former name of El Toro. Despite expansion of this beautiful city, Lake Forest ranks as once of the safest cities in the nation. The name Lake Forest comes from the two man-made lakes within the city and for all its beautiful green trees.
Trabuco Canyon is located in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains and Cleveland National Forest. Due to its location, to get to the bigger cities, there are plenty of winding roads that can be narrow but are shaded by beautiful trees everywhere. There is a lot of naturesque beauty in this small-town area.
Things to see or do in the South Orange County Triangle of Cities includes Silverado’s Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary, Rancho Las Lomas Wildlife Foundation and Cook’s Corner. In Rancho Santa Margarita, you have to take in a summer concert at Central Park and visit the Tijeras Creek Golf Club. Lake Forest is home to the Modjeska Playhouse, Heritage Hill Historical Park and the famed Saddleback Church. Trabuco Canyon has O’Neill Regional Park and the Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park.
Recommended Wedding Venues and/or Engagement Locations in the South Orange County Triangle of Cities includes:
City of Silverado: Rancho Las Lomas and the Holy Jim Trail.
City of Rancho Santiago Margarita: The Bell Tower Community Center.
City of Lake Forest: Red Rock Canyon.
City of Trabuco Canyon: Dove Canyon Courtyard, the Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park and the Thomas F. Riley Wilderness Park.
Orange County really does bring out the best in photographic opportunities. And as you can see, many of these locations can really bring out a sense of uniqueness and joy to your photos. We invite you to look through these locations on our Wedding Venue and Engagement Location pages.