Whether they're finishing up at SFSU or UCSF, or nearby Berkeley or Stanford, or any of the other dozens of colleges and High Schools that make San Francisco a world destination for higher education, every student in the bay area wants a great senior portrait to go with their big day. These are our favorite locations for graduation photographs in the City by the Bay:
Breezes and seafoam and seagull calls fill the air at this famous San Francisco landmark. Originally designed as a bathing complex for skittish Victorian-era swimmers, the old facility has long since fallen into horrible disrepair. While it's not much good for swimming anymore, Sutro baths is an iconic San Francisco location with beaches, high rocky outcroppings overlooking the sea, and famously beautiful sunsets. This is the perfect place to take senior photos (or pretty much any other kind of photography) because of the fabulous backdrop and excellent light. Just be prepared to maneuver around the bevy of other photographers you're bound to see.
San Francisco's waterfront is famous for excellent views and sourdough bread. But it's also crowded, and the popular sites like the Ferry Building and Pier 39 fill up quickly. Pier 14 is an excellent place to go when you find yourself near the waterfront and want to get that "San Francisco Bay" feel, but also need to dodge the crowds. This long and skinny pier is hidden away to the south of the Ferry Building. it juts out straight towards Treasure Island and, depending on where you face, makes it easy to put the city or the water in the background. The best time of day for this spot is early in the morning because the sun disappears behind the tall buildings of San Francisco's financial district in the afternoon. Plus, it's right near the Embarcadero Bart station, making for easy transport for graduating seniors from the East Bay as well.
Rolling lawns of green and century-old San Francisco military building make Crissy Field an absurdly beautiful place to take a set of senior photos. Not only is the field well manicured and appealing, you'll see the Golden Gate Bridge from a unique angle in the background, and most of the North San Francisco Bay - including Alcatraz and Angel Island. Crissy Field is also easy to reach by car (although not necessarily by public transport) and it's close to other beautiful sites like Fort Mason. There are many unique spots here for great senior photos.
Golden Gate Park is gigantic - bigger than Central Park by about 20% - so telling someone to go take a set of senior portraits in Golden Gate Park is a bit like telling them that Berkeley is "over some water." For an expedient senior photo, I recommend starting at Speedway Meadow near the center of the park. It's a big rolling field that's often used for music festivals. It's wide, open, green, and surrounded by trees, with a few adventurous eucalyptuses hanging around in the middle. In late Spring, you'll even see lots of wildflowers!
Not every senior wants a picture with green grass and fluffy clouds. A great alternative for those who prefer concrete and grit is treasure island, where's theres a variety of spots with great views of the city and interesting props to include in the background. I'm partial to the abandoned parking lots between old movie studios (which, by the way, were the filming site for much of the first Star Wars movie) on the South side of the island.