If you’re thinking of doing your engagement photography session at San Francisco’s stunning Lovers’ Lane location… seriously, just do it! It offers so much and is really photography-friendly.
In this blog post I’m going to showcase some of my favorite photos I’ve taken at Lovers’ Lane at the Presidio, as well as provide you with valuable information that will help you plan your shoot.
That’s right – I’m not about the pretty pictures, I’m also about helping couples get the very best out of their San Francisco engagement session, whoever you choose as your photographer!
What you need to know about Lovers’ Lane
The most important thing to know is that Lovers’ Lane is actually a trail of over half a mile, located in the Presidio of San Francisco. The trail connects Presidio Gate to the Main Post. Lovers’ Lane also connects to other Presidio trails that you can find on AllTrails.
The second most important thing to note is that there is ONE location that you’ll typically want to bear in mind for your Lovers’ Lane engagement photos. The actual thing you’re seeing is a nature art installation called Wood Line by the installation artist, Andy Goldsworthy.
Many people are not actually aware that when they’re getting their engagement photos done at this location, they are surrounded by actual art, created by a world-renowned artist!
I first heard of Andy Goldsworthy as an art-obsessed kid growing up in England (where Goldsworthy hails from also!). It’s always been very special for me to walk among his work because he was an artist hero of mine as a school kid.
He uses natural elements from the landscape in an organic way. Eventually all his artworks will be reclaimed by the earth. Here, felled tree trunks are arranged artfully to create a zigzagging effect that recedes into a vanishing point far in the distance.
The Wood Line begins on the southern end of the trail, and curves continuously through the eucalyptus forest. There are also pines, planted by the military in the late 19th century. The gap where the Wood Line now exists was formed by the cypress trees the military planted dying over time.
The scent here is absolutely divine, as is the soft crunching of the dry leaves underfoot.
As eucalyptus trees are evergreen, it makes Lovers’ Lane a great choice for your engagement or wedding photos year-round.
To find out more and see the construction of this amazing art project, check out this video:
Where to park for Lovers’ Lane engagement photos
There is dedicated Trailhead Parking (clicking that will take you directly to Google Maps) for about 4 – 5 cars. Unfortunately, the last few times I’ve been to Lovers’ Lane, that parking has been closed completely due to COVID.
You can however easily find free street parking however, at Presidio Boulevard and Pacific Avenue. It is at the top of the hill, here, so you want to park as close to that intersection as possible to avoid a sweaty uphill walk!
Best time of day to shoot at Lovers’ Lane
Due to the tree cover here, Wood Line at Lovers’ Lane is beautiful at any time of day. The shoots I’ve done with my couples have all been around sunset – some an hour or two before, and some technically when the sun has already set for a dark and moody feel.
Bear in mind, however, that the official ‘sunset time’ given on Google or your weather app, tends to be at sea level. The sunset will be much earlier here given that the trees block out the sun far earlier, so be sure to factor that into your photography session timing.
Sunrise is also a fab time – I’ve seen some other photographers’ sunrise shoots here. However I’m not really into the whole sunrise thing personally and I would not consider it worth the absolute, horrendous PAIN of an early start (can you tell I’m 100% a night owl?!)
As the area has grown in popularity, you may expect to wait a few moments if there’s a photographer and their party already there, finishing up their shoot!
For this reason, I highly encourage a weekday session to avoid hordes of dog walkers, families, tourists, hikers and other photographers with their clients that are here on Saturdays and Sundays.
Can you combine Lovers’ Lane with other locations?
Yes! The Wood Line location is 100% worth combining with any one of the nearby areas from the list below.
Your choice will depend on how much time you have available, what kind of vibe you’d like for your photos, and, to a lesser extent, time of day (which is something for you to chat through with your photographer).
Here are some favorite nearby locations – but the sky’s the limit!
Find out more locations and see them all on a map on my huge guide to my favorite San Francisco engagement photography locations, linked here:
The good thing about Wood Line is that there is one main vantage point where you want most of your photos taken. From there, you can get the full effect of the receding tree trunks.
That means there aren’t a TON of different areas to get lost in around here. So be sure to combine it with somewhere else for some great variety in your finished wedding or engagement photos.
I recommend somewhere with a light, airy feel to contrast with the dark forest-y vibes.
What to do on your Lovers’ Lane shoot
As I’ve kind of hinted at, there is one main location where you get the full effect of the curved logs, surrounded by a grove of mature eucalyptus trees. A skilled photographer will of course use a variety of different lenses etc to obtain a multitude of effects and angles.
But it’s essentially a one-shot location, with a few additions you can explore.
If you cross Liggett Avenue, you’ll get this gorgeous, backlit effect with the light streaming in and creating a soft, warm glow. Just make sure you time it exactly right.
Likewise, in the main Lovers Lane area, you can shoot to the side to take advantage of where the sun is and give a completely different feel.
Also, cross over the main road on the inside edge of the location. There are more areas to play with including the long grass and a sweet little tree stump. The houses in the background are super pretty and very historic in this part of the Presidio.
This couple, Maia and David, were actually my first COVID couple back in May 2020. They decided to share personal vows on their wedding day, after the impersonal civil ceremony they did earlier in the day.
We worked with an area a little off the main path because they wanted privacy and no distractions or interruptions. They read some meaningful words to each other and shared a beautiful moment.
What kinds of shoots work at Lovers’ Lane?
This is a location that lends itself well to wedding, photography, family and portrait shoots. It is popular, so be prepared for a line at Wood Line.
Be sure to ask your photographer what their policy is on removing bystanders from the backgrounds of your photos.
Personally, a real pet peeve of mine is seeing random people in the background, so I tend to wait for backgrounds to clear up. I then retouch the images to ensure that there are no distractions in your photos.
Due to it being a nature-y location, a variety of different styles work here. Whether you want to dress in formal evening wear, with ballgowns and tuxes, or be way more casual, the choice is yours!
Many couples opt to do an outfit change and pick their outfits according to the style of the venue. I have a full and detailed guide on what to wear for your engagement shoot here!
The couples that work with me tend to be more on the casual, relaxed and easy-going side. Many of them place a high importance on feeling like – and dressing like – themselves (with a bit of finesse, natch), but not go overboard with fancy outfits and overly stylized looks.
At the end of the day, it comes down to each couple’s personal preference and finding something which is authentic to you, your personal style and honors your story as a couple.
Whether that’s a Cinderella gown, jeans and a t-shirt, or somewhere in between, I find the most beguiling style being yourself!
Showcasing my best photos from Lovers’ Lane (Wood Line) Presidio
Lovers’ Lane has been called one of San Francisco’s hidden gems, but I’m not so sure anymore! It’s certainly a really popular location for wedding and engagement photos – and with good reason!
I would be honored to be your wedding or engagement photographer for your session at Lovers’ Lane – check out more details about my services and portfolio here.