malibu family photos
Top Los Angeles Beach Location: El Matador beach, Malibu

February 10, 2022

You can’t go wrong with a Los Angeles beach location for your session.  That golden light, sand, water and sky are a dreamy playground for your family to enjoy. I especially love beach locations that have some variety and diversity in landscape. El Matador Beach in Malibu checks all the boxes for a spectacular Los Angeles family photoshoot location. I am in awe of  the distinct rock cliffs along the coast, and the beautiful rocks in the water. They create a dynamic space to play with the light and play up the romance of you in this breathtaking location Not to mention, if you have some adventurous kids, the rocks are perfect to play on and rock climb!

While it is a highly requested location, there are only certain times of the year that we can shoot there. Here are some items to consider when booking your family session at El matador beach.

  1. Tide levels – the night (or morning if doing a sunrise session) of the shoot needs to be very low tide in order for you to be able to walk among the rocks down on the beach. Lately there have been more low tide nights in LA in the Fall and winter and very few in Spring and summer.
  2. Crowds – this beach is popular not only for photoshoots but also with tourists and beach goers. I avoid doing sessions here on weekends and holidays, and am more careful about summer nights here too as those can also get crowded! Even on a weeknight, your photographer needs to be able to shoot a family session here among many other photographers, so make sure you are going with someone (like me!) who is very experienced with family sessions specifically at this beach, which is more often used for couples and maternity sessions and fashion photoshoots.
  3. Styling – I recommend styling choices that complement the romantic landscape.No busy patterns. For color, ideally wear shades of neutrals (including black and greys) and pastels. However, avoid wearing pieces that really blend in with the rocks, such as either yellow or rust tones. White always looks stunning against the blue seas and golden rocks! Light denim can also work if you are planning to not wear a dress.

As a Los Angeles Family photographer, I am always scoping out the best locations that will be great for families to shoot at. I try to consider walkability, crowds and how the light hits during the ideal time of day. I want to give my families the best experience possible, so location scouting is super important! My top piece of advice is to ask your photographer questions if you are planning to shoot in a beach location. Ask them if they have shot there before, if the tide level will be appropriate for the location , and how busy you should expect the place to be. These are all important questions to ensure you have an amazing family photo session at the beach.

And if you are wanting to book your family storytelling session with me, I’d be honored! I am booking now for the Fall, which is a great time to shoot at El Matador Beach in Malibu. If you are in Los Angeles, and looking for a family photographer in Orange County, you can inquire with me here.

For more southern California family session location ideas, you can check out my Joshua Tree blog here.

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