San Diego, CA Photography Spotlight with Marisa Glaser Creative

Location Guides

Hey milspouse photographer! If your family is heading to any of the military bases in the San Diego area, you’re going to want to read this. Marisa Glaser Creative is sharing some insight from her time running her business while stationed at Naval Base San Diego. See what she has to share in this San Diego, CA Photography Spotlight!

What are your top three favorite locations for sessions? Briefly share about each.

Balboa Park

There’s plenty of free parking, and it’s so versatile with features including Spanish architecture, fountains, the famous pipe organ, and cactus and rose gardens. I like to do a 1-hour walking loop and give my clients lots of background options.

Family standing at Balboa Park in Marisa Glaser Creative's San Diego, CA photography spotlight
Balboa Park, Marisa Glaser Creative

Law Street Beach

A lesser known beach that offers cliffs, foliage, and long stretches of sand. Try to go during low or negative tides! During the winter it can be very overcast; still a great location, but worth noting if you’re aiming for golden hour vibes. Parking is a bit limited, so you may need to walk a few blocks from surrounding residential neighborhoods.

Couple sitting and looking at each other at Law Street Beach in Marisa Glaser Creative's San Diego, CA photography spotlight
Law Street Beach, Marisa Glaser Creative

Mission Trails

This is the place to take your clients that request “fields of wheat” or “rolling hills” in their location. Usually very quiet, dog-friendly, and easy free parking. Just don’t get caught there after sunset, the park gates close and your car will be stuck there!

Family walking on Mission Trails in Marisa Glaser Creative's San Diego, CA photography spotlight
Mission Trails, Marisa Glaser Creative

Are there any particularly busy seasons for photographers in this area? Any events an incoming photographer should know about?

Because San Diego is a destination city, summers can be particularly crowded with tourists especially at the beach – I tend to steer clients towards alternative location options and only use beaches from late August to April.

Traffic is the biggest thing that will affect getting to your shoots on time – a 15 minute drive can turn into 1 hour if you’re heading south towards downtown during rush hour to get to a “golden hour” session in Balboa Park! Padres games and other events like marathons or festivals will also make navigating downtown impossible.

What should an incoming photographer know about permits in this area?

The majority of San Diego’s parks and locations are free to use, even for professionals with gear like tripods and off-camera flashes. Small photo shoots, like those for engagements and family photos, DO NOT need a permit. Any large photo or film shoots that are commercial in nature (big productions like commercials, TV shows and movies), MUST have a permit. Drones are rarely allowed anywhere as there are so many airports and military air bases in San Diego.

What is the biggest piece of advice you’d give to an incoming photographer?

Christmas Mini Sessions are in high demand! There’s one local tree farm that offers hourly photography rentals for outdoor sessions, though people also love indoor studio or Santa setups.

Any other local expertise you’d like to share?

San Diego is home to 7 different military bases including Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard. There are tons of opportunities to photograph different homecomings and ceremonies, especially in the springtime!

Where can other milspouse photographers connect with you?


Are you a milspouse photographer interested in contributing? I’d love to have your insight! Please send me an email at and I’ll be in touch with the details!

If you enjoyed this San Diego, CA photography spotlight, be sure to check out other featured location guides and tips for moving your business!


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more about me

I've been navigating military life with my family since 2008. In that time, I went from a full-time classroom teacher to an online course designer to a photographer. Actually, I still teach a little math on the side because I just love it too much!

Through it all, I've discovered how passionate I am about connecting with military families. Whether it's taking photos at a retirement ceremony, coaching a fellow milspouse photographer, or just grabbing coffee with a new squadron friend, I love this community. And as a teacher at heart, I'm excited to use this space to share what I've learned about business and life with you.


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