Fall photo shoot spots that will elevate your Instagram game

Illustration of a view outside the windowsill of a home, supporting a pumpkin and showing a tree of orange leaves, by William Bennett.
William Bennett/File

Related Posts

Looking to check off some fall-themed items to your bucket list? Visit these photogenic locations near Berkeley for a nice stroll or to take some Instagram-worthy photos. Whether you want a cool backdrop to showcase your fall outfit or simply want a pile of leaves to take photos in, this list of locations has got your back.

Lafayette Reservoir Recreation

The Lafayette Recreation Area is a water storage reservoir open to the public for a variety of activities including hiking, picnicking, boating and, of course, taking many pictures. A dense collection of vibrant trees, bushes and perfectly tamed grasses line the perimeters of the lake, creating the perfect backdrop for a boat photo. The hiking trails are relatively flat and easy to navigate so there is no need to worry about sweating during the romantic walk or candid photo. 

Filoli Historic House and Garden

Head up to San Mateo to visit the most gorgeous 654-acre estate, along with a fascinating history and magnificent architecture and landscaping to go with it. The home is decorated with detailed paintings and antiques, as well as beautifully arched windows that overlook the horizon and its impressive garden. When you walk outside, you are immediately greeted with a trail of bricks that leads to an array of plants and flowers and, not to mention, the cylindrically-cut trees. If you are lucky, you’ll get to snag a photo along the pond and massive pool. 

UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley

Located right by the UC Berkeley campus in the Berkeley Hills, this botanical garden attracts many visitors, including students, locals and travelers. The garden fosters a large and diverse body of plants from around the world, sectioned off by different regions. During autumn, the garden possesses its own fall charm, with colorful perennials and shrubs blooming and trees turning colors. No matter where you go, you will find a plant section that fits your fall vibe. This garden is free for students, so make sure to take advantage of this opportunity! 

Palace of Fine Arts

If gardens aren’t really your thing, check out the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. The monumental structures are carved with beautiful precision and detail, and are framed with soft lakes and trees that illuminate autumn energy. Take a photo twirling in the center of the arches, or snap a fake proposal in front of the palace to prank your friends and family.

Salesforce Tower rooftop 

Head up to the top of the Salesforce Tower in the heart of San Francisco for a gorgeous view of neighboring high-rise buildings and bridges. The industrial style of the buildings pairs surprisingly well with the beautifully crafted meadows and landscaping of trees and plants. Walk along the path and you will find water fountains that spring up from the floor, as well as giant domes and lights that make the rooftop experience feel infinite. From the blossoming plants to the city view, your photo options are endless. 

Mount Diablo State Park

For all my fellow hikers, Mount Diablo peak offers a stunning view of the horizon. You feel like you can almost touch the clouds while capturing all angles of the sunset. Along the hiking trail, you will get a glimpse of various plants and bushes, as well as new foliage from California poppies. This hike is perfect for snapping photos uphill, while capturing the backdrop scenery of mountains and trees.

From sunsets, to hikes, to plants, your photo options are endless! These Instagram-worthy locations are close and convenient enough for a weekend getaway. Spend time in nature while getting gentle exercise and countless photo opportunities for the rest of this fall semester.

Contact Geraldine Yue at [email protected].