The Santa Monica Pier is a lovely place to take engagement photos, but you should always be aware that a permit is required. There is an office behind the amusement park where you can arrange for a one-day permit, so don't risk getting thrown out. It's better to follow the rules both here and at any location at which you might want to photograph an engagement session or portrait. For this engagement session, off-camera lighting enabled us to create a lovely mood and really bring in the dark, stormy skies. I loved how the purple lighting picked up the purple in the bride's dress. It's never easy working with crowds of people walking through your shots, but thankfully, we caught a mostly-empty moment.. Location: 350 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401.