How to Shoot the Golden Gate Bridge: 15 Reader Tips

Tourists photographing the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. Frommers.com Community
Frommers.com readers shared their best travel photography tips on how—and where—to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge  Here are 15 ways to shoot the iconic San Francisco landmark in all of her glory.

Reader: Nick Fullerton

Hometown: San Pablo, Calif.

How to Replicate the Shot: Fullerton took his Nikon D60 to the Sausalito side of the Marin Headlands in early March around mid-afternoon.

Photo Tip: "The bridge is so photogenic that it's hard to not get a good picture, even in foggy weather. I lucked out on a beautiful day during a time of year when the grass is green."


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Dusk at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. Frommers.com Community
Reader: Patrick Stone

Hometown: Gilroy, Calif.

How to Replicate the Shot: As the fog started to clear on a late September afternoon, Stone rushed over to the old fort remains off the first exit coming into SF from Marin. "You can see the cement foundations to your right, and there is a parking lot and trail right there to walk out near the bridge. As the fog lifted, it left just a few wisps around the towers. The bridge was being lit by the sun going down under the layer of fog."

Photo Tip: "The best shots are always early in the morning or later in the evening. San Francisco is a challenging landscape to shoot because of the weather, but sometimes you get lucky… You just have to be patient, and have the time to explore."

Photo Caption: Dusk at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California.
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Sunset at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. Frommers.com Community
Reader: Marcus Panek

Hometown: Denver, Colo.

How to Replicate the Shot: On a March evening just after sunset, Panek captured this shot from a parking lot on the east side of the bridge.

Photo Tip: "Sunrise and sunset are typically the best times (sunrise will have less crowds), as well as after dark. A tripod is always recommended and necessary for shutter speeds slower than 1/30 of a second."

Photo Caption: Sunset at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California
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The Golden Gate Bridge at night in San Francisco. California. Frommers.com Community
Reader: Jesus Hidalgo

Hometown: Dover, N.H.

How to Replicate the Shot: On a mid-March evening, Hidalgo stood at Battery Spencer (on the north side of the bridge) and looked south.

Photo Tip: "The day I took this photo, I witnessed two weddings, withstood high winds, and also had many people approach me to take their pictures with the bridge in the background. To be able to take a photo of the bridge under the right conditions, you need patience. It can probably take more than one trip to get 'the perfect shot.'

As the light goes down on the horizon, that means two things: photograph the bridge during the golden hour (assuming it's not cloudy) and when it starts getting cold. Make sure you bring plenty of layers and a hat to keep warm."

Photo Caption: The Golden Gate Bridge at night with San Francisco's city lights in the distance
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The Golden Gate Bridge at night in San Francisco, California. Frommers.com Community
Reader: Megan Richardson

Hometown: Pasadena, Calif.

How to Replicate the Shot: Richardson grabbed this shot on a February evening just after sunset. This is the view from an overlook on a mountain road just outside of San Francisco in Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Photo Tip: "Every time I visit San Francisco, I try to get a new perspective of the bridge. The scenery around the bridge is always changing so your photos can have a completely different feel if you shoot them at different times of the day, or from different vantage points."

Photo Caption: The Golden Gate Bridge at night in San Francisco, California
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A view of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. Frommers.com Community
Reader: Jamie Sosoff

Hometown: San Francisco, Calif.

How to Replicate the Shot: On a November afternoon, Sosoff stood on the San Francisco side of the bridge at a viewing point near the former visitor's center/gift shop.

Photo Tip: "Don't aim to recreate a postcard. Give it your own spin."

Photo Caption: A view of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California
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A reflection of the Golden Gate Bridge in a rearview mirror. San Francisco, California. Frommers.com Community
Reader: Namit Kumar

Hometown: Cupertino, Calif.

How to Replicate the Shot: Kumar was driving on a June evening when he saw this view in the side mirror of his car.

Photo Tip: "Find some abstract angles. There are so many creative ways to photograph the bridge."

Photo Caption: A reflection of the Golden Gate Bridge in a rearview mirror. San Francisco, California
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Kids playing soccer on the beach near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. Frommers.com Community
Reader: Bob Dales

Hometown: New Orleans, Lousiana

How to Replicate the Shot: Dales was still living in San Mateo, Calif., when he visited the west end of Baker Beach in early November. He snapped this photo from the south side of the bridge around 2pm.

Photo Tip: "Try to find a unique vantage point… it took me an hour of driving around to find this one."

Photo Caption: Kids playing soccer on the beach near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California
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A detail of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. Frommers.com Community
Reader: Ryan Notch

Hometown: San Francisco, Calif.

How to Replicate the Shot: On a late November afternoon, Ryan saw this view from the east side of the bridge near the south pylon.

Photo Tip: "The bridge has many personalities and faces given the light, time of day, and season. I have walked the bridge dozens of times. I find a different mood and temperament each and every time."

Photo Caption: A detail of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California
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The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. Frommers.com Community
Reader: Rosemary Kline

Hometown: Birdsboro, Penn.

How to Replicate the Shot: Kline snapped this photo on a June morning while biking to Sausalito.

Photo Tip: "Our vacations always include bicycling excursions. When air travel is the mode of transportation, we have folding bicycles we take with us."

Photo Caption: The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California
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A view of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. Frommers.com Community
Reader: Dion Infantino

Hometown: Daytona Beach, Fla.

How to Replicate the Shot: Infantino stood next to the Battery Boutelle on a December morning.

Photo Tip: "Try to find yourself a spot and angle that you haven't seen done before. And the rest is a little luck and some good light."

Photo Caption: A view of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California
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Fog covering the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. Frommers.com Community
Reader: Chuck Kuhn

Hometown: Saratoga, Calif.

How to Replicate the Shot: "The Marin Headlands area is full of old military installations that once guarded the entrance to San Francisco Bay. Battery Spencer is one of the most accessible of these sites, though in some ways it may be overlooked since many people simply walk through it or past it."

Photo Tip: "When the fog rolls into San Francisco, you'll know to make the trip to the Marin side of San Francisco Bay. And bring a tripod."

Photo Caption: Afternoon fog obscures part of the Golden Gate Bridge.
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The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. Frommers.com Community
Reader: Alan Fullmer

Hometown: Cedar Hills, Utah

How to Replicate the Shot: Fullmer took Bike Route 95 on an early July afternoon and stopped on the bridge's southeast side just up from the visitor's center. This photo is what you see when you look northwest.

Photo Tip: "Depending on whether or not you want fog in your picture, take shots in the morning. If you don't want fog, you can wait until the afternoon when it burns off."

Photo Caption: The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California
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The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. Frommers.com Community
Reader: Kimball Andrew "Kim" Schmidt

Hometown: San Diego, Calif.

How to Replicate the Shot: Stand on the Marin side at Vista Point, looking south. Schmidt picked a weekend when there was no rush-hour traffic.

Photo Tip: "This is also the best location to take long exposure shots of traffic trails at dusk."

Photo Caption: The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California
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The Golden Gate Bridge being obscured by the fog in San Francisco, California. Frommers.com Community
Reader: Patty Nielson

Hometown: Lake Tahoe, Calif.

How to Replicate the Shot: Nielson used her Canon EOS T1i (500D) to capture this shot as the car was heading south over the bridge in late September around 11am.

Photo Tip: "Even if you don't think that you have a good shot or the elements are not quite right, take the picture anyway. With digital, you can just delete and only keep the ones you truly like."

Photo Caption: The Golden Gate Bridge being obscured by the fog in San Francisco, California
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