Although Sunset Cliffs in San Diego gets it’s name from the panoramic ocean views as the sun sets in the western sky over the horizon, a sunrise there is just as beautiful. Gabby & Jackson just happened to be in San Diego at the same time as my family and we were able to set up a little couples session at sunrise on the edge of Sunset Cliffs. The sky was filled with pink and blue hues as the sun rose on the other side of the Earth, before peeking and giving us a nice golden glow to finish out our morning session. 

Approximately a week before I left for San Diego with my family on vacation, I was at the dinner table with our friends and we mentioned our trip. He just so happened to mention that his cousin and her fiance were also going to San Diego at the same time as us. I reached out and bam. A session was booked! Let’s break down this photoshoot and photographing couples at the Sunset Cliffs in San Diego!

Just outside of the Sunset Cliffs neighborhood is a little walking trail and, of course, cliffs, with some leading down to the ocean.

Gabby + Jackson

Gabby and Jackson met in 2020 when they were set up by a mutual friend in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Gabby, of course, made the first move and texted Jackson, to which he responded by asking her out. The rest is history of course!

Gabby and Jackson were actually in San Diego to get married at the San Diego Courthouse THAT DAY. They had a larger, more festive wedding planned in 10 months but they had a few reasons of their own for saying “I do” before then. Gabby and Jackson both wanted an intimate wedding ceremony while also wanting their large and loving families to be a part of it as well. So they flew to San Diego for the weekend, signed a marriage license in the courthouse at 9:30am on a Friday morning.

Which makes this couple’s shoot at Sunset Cliffs even more special because it was the day they “first” got married!

Photographing at Sunset Cliffs in San Diego

Sunset Cliffs is a gorgeous area and also sometimes weird to figure out how to get to it. Just outside of the Sunset Cliffs neighborhood is a little walking trail and, of course, cliffs, with some leading down to the ocean. My husband, Gus, and I drove there the day before to scope out the area, figure out the lay of the land. And let me tell you… we could not. After doing more research and google maps satellite view. I finally figured it out. 

We had to drive through the campus of Point Loma Nazarene University (although campus was closed) to a little parking lot down the hill. We arrived a little before sunset. We could tell the sun was rising but because we are on the other side facing west and the hilly terrain of San Diego blocked our vision, we couldn’t see it yet.Once there, it was just us and a few surfers gearing up for a morning surf. 

We walked along the trails a little bit and took a few pictures. There were other couples from the nearby neighborhood coming in for their morning walks with their pups and partners. After only a few hundred feet you’ve arrives to the stunning edge of the Sunset Cliffs. There’s some variety in height and the width of their “jutting out-ness” which gives a beautiful texture to your photos!

Although sunset tends to be incredibly busy here, there really wasn’t anyone around us for sunrise! 

After about 35 minutes or so after the timed start of sunrise, the sun started to peak over the hills and it was still in it’s golden glow! So not only did we get the beautiful ocean backdrop, we also got the stunning hills and neighborhoods with the golden sun glowing through the couple! You can even climb lower through the cliffs closer to the beach to get even more backdrops!

There are ways to get all the way to the beach although they looked a bit adventurous than we wanted to attempt so we stayed on the rock. However, if you had the right shoes and mindset, there’s ropes to hold on to!

Overall, this little slice of heaven on the side of the road is such a stunning place to be, whether for a couple’s session, wedding, elopement, or just a walk in the morning/evening!

Going on vacation somewhere cool? Maybe I am too! Or I can be 😉 Reach out to me and let’s plan our next vacation together!

Want to keep perusing? Here’s some other blog posts I think you’ll like!


April 18, 2024

Serene Couples Session at Sunset Cliffs in San Diego, California

Whitney Stark


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  1. Naomi Levit says:

    Sunset Cliffs look amazing! What a beautiful view. And what a sweet couple.