Victoria Beach Engagement Guide – Everything You Need To Know For Your Laguna Photoshoot

One of my all time favorite engagement photography spots in the OC is Victoria Beach in Laguna Beach. Why? Golden California light, sandy beaches, and the freaking Pirate Tower, that’s why! This iconic tower channels that phallic symbol energy that every newly engaged couple and elopement photographer desire for an epic photoshoot. But in all seriousness, it isn’t the BDE provided by the Pirate Tower that makes Victoria Beach a magical location for engagement photography. What makes Victoria Beach awesome are the rocky cliffs, sandy beaches, majestic ocean waves, and of course you (once you get there). But how do you get there, what is the cost, and what are the details!? Don’t worry, in this article I am going to go over everything you need to know about Victoria Beach engagement photos, and even sharing some images from previous Laguna Beach engagement sessions. Now, let’s get to it!

The Iconic Pirate Tower In Laguna Beach, California

So was the Pirate Tower actually built and used by pirates? Sadly, no. This tower, built in 1926, served a practical purpose for William E. Brown, a senator from Los Angeles and an acclaimed painter. He wanted a private staircase for direct beach access from his home, making Victoria Beach the perfect spot for his dream retreat.

In the early 1940s, Brown decided to sell his beachfront property. The new owner, a retired naval captain named Harold Kendrick, had a deep fascination with pirates, drawn to the home mainly because of the unique, slightly tilted tower. Kendrick, described as “eclectic and fascinating as the buildings themselves,” would dress in pirate attire, entertaining local children with games and sea stories. Victors of Kendrick’s challenges had the chance to grab a handful of money from a bowl inside his refrigerator, a prize of “cold cash.”

Here are some key facts about the Pirate Tower:

  • Height: The tower stands tall at sixty feet.
  • Original Purpose: Initially built as a private staircase to the beach for William E. Brown.
  • Year of Construction: The tower came into existence in 1926.
  • First Owner: William E. Brown, a senator and acclaimed painter.
  • Second Owner: Harold Kendrick, a retired naval captain and pirate enthusiast.
  • Accessibility: The tower is inaccessible during high tide, so plan accordingly and check surf conditions.
  • Unique Experience: Kendrick’s pirate games and stories left a lasting legacy on the local community.

Victoria Beach Engagement Session Tips

Okay, so you decided to have your engagement photos taken at Victoria Beach. Awesome. But would should you wear? I am no fashionista, but I would suggest you lean towards neutral tones to vividly stand out against the sandy shores. Also, be mindful to avoid blues to prevent blending into the ocean hues. Think flowing summer dresses or comfortable chinos. Sandals or simply going barefoot will add an authentic touch; leave the dress shoes at home to maintain the beachy vibe.

For the second part of your session, why not dive into the adventure? Slip into your bathing suits and let the ocean waves add a splash of fun to your engagement photos. This is your moment, make it memorable!

Essentials For Your Laguna Beach Engagement Adventure:

  • Towels: A must-have for any beach session, especially if you decide to take a romantic dip.
  • Refreshments: Keep the vibe bubbly with some sparkling water or champagne.
  • Swimwear: For those daring, in-the-water shots.
  • Extra Clothes: A quick change post-session ensures comfort for your journey home.
  • Sitting Arrangement: A picnic blanket transforms your session into a relaxed, intimate setting.

Dive in, embrace the spontaneity, and let the beauty of Laguna Beach frame your engagement adventure. Remember, this should be more than just an engagement session; it’s an experience. So have fun with it!

Photo Copyright: Adventure wedding photographer Ryan Horban

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Access Victoria Beach For My Engagement Session?

Find the entrance close to the intersection of Sunset Terrace & Victoria Drive. Then, walk in the neighborhood down Victoria Drive until you find the hidden staircase wedged between two homes (see photo below). Finally, you will take a staircase down to reach the beach. If you want to photos at the iconic Pirate Tower, simply make a right once you get to the bottom of the staircase and it will be about 100 yards away.

Another way to reach Victoria Beach will be to find parking along PCH near Montage Resort and then walk a short distance down the highway. This is only about 100 feet.

How To Access Victoria Beach

I always tell couples that if they want Victoria Beach engagement photos there will be a bit of walking so wear comfortable shoes.

Do I Need A Permit For Engagement Photos At Victoria Beach In Laguna?

Yes, you will need to get a permit if you want Victoria Beach engagement photos. The cost is $100 for 2 hours and you can start the permit process by visiting Laguna Beach’s official website. Also, here is a link that provides detailed information about filming and photography permits:

  • Contact OC Parks Permits at 866-627-2757
  • Business Hours: Monday – Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Can We Take Photos At The Victoria Beach Pirate Tower For Our Engagement Session?

Yes, the Victoria Beach Pirate Tower makes a magical backdrop for engagement photos. My only advice is that you and your wedding photographer should schedule the engagement session during low tide. Why? So you have easy access to the Pirate Tower. Also, understand that the Pirate Tower is an iconic landmark in Laguna Beach so that means a lot of people will be in the area. Therefore, try to plan your engagement session at Victoria Beach on a day there is less likely to be large crowds. Think Tuesdays or Wednesdays.

When Is The Best Time For A Beach Engagement Session At Victoria Beach?

Aim for the golden hour at Victoria Beach, right after sunrise or before sunset, for your engagement session. Lighting is soft, creating a warm and magical atmosphere. More importantly, the beach is less crowded, offering a more private experience. Keep in mind, Orange County wedding photographers flock to this location all year round so also try and plan your Victoria Beach engagement session on a weekday.

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