The biggest considerations here is the busy 101. There is no fence and when dogs run out onto the road here, cars are often driving fast and can’t see a dog running out between parked cars. PLEASE be certain this is a suitable and safe location for your dog.
Since it’s the beach they are likely going to get sandy, if not sopping wet. This might not be the ideal location for certain breeds depending on your tolerance of cleaning them up afterward. Certain breeds look better wet than others. For example, a Labrador hardly looks any different from when they are wet to dry, but a Yorkshire show dog might be a different story.
As always, when taking a dog to a public place, your dog should be friendly with other dogs and people. Mornings are quieter but afternoons, weekends, especially during a high tide, it can create a crowded situation where your dog must be capable of interacting with many different personalities.
Following the stairs up the bluffs, takes you to a nice little clearing that is just gorgeous in the spring.
Del Mar Dog Beach is very nice in the mornings, all year round. A low tide is preferable but not essential. Dogs are required to be onleash from Memorial Day to Labor Day but in our experience, sunrise photo shoots are fine as long as you are respectful to other beachgoers. Weekends, holidays and special events can make it very crowded. A low tide for afternoon photo shoots is essential and worth planning for. Without a low tide, a lot of the beach is inaccessible and instead of having pretty natural cliffs as a background, we have to work around the 101, parked vehicles and other distractions.
Parking is free before 8am but is strictly enforced at all other times. Please refer to the map to see both free and paid parking options along the 101, Via De La Valle, Border Ave & S Sierra. Parking kiosks and accept cash or credit cards. Just make sure you get enough time and your ticket is visible on your dash because they will give you a ticket! There is a pretty good little hill from the road down to the beach in certain places that would be dangerous for anyone with mobility issues or to control difficult dogs. Please use the sidewalks to access the beach if you’re not sure.
Please be very careful with your dog(s) near the busy 101. Usually, we meet down by the water, north of the river, where the bluffs start. If you need any assistance getting your dogs safe from the vehicle, please don’t hesitate to ask! If your dog is one of those dogs that can’t wait to get into the water and you’d like the variety of some dry shots, please keep your dog on a leash until I arrive.
Picking the photos after she edited everything was my favorite part. There was so many to choose from!! She really had a lot of different options which was great. In the end I got two prints and one canvas. The quality was amazing and I loved chatting with her when I went to pick the photos and prints. It was fantastic working with her! She made everything easy and fun to do. This was my first experience with a photographer and she really set the bar high for any photography I need in the future. But if you ever need pet photos, I’d greatly recommend her!!
I replied to a casting ad Tara had posted almost 6 years ago in Vancouver for pure bred black labs she could photograph for a calendar. I am so happy I replied because it was a great experience. Tara was amazing. She made everything very comfortable and casual, and she was genuinely happy to be there. We chatted often about our dogs and how similar her puppy was to mine and how they should meet. She had invited me to her home so I could see the photos and so our dogs could play. Sadly, whenever Tara would send me an invite I was not available and vice versa. I was unable to get out to see her before she moved back to California. Tara always stayed in touch with me and would tag me in pictures my dog whenever she would post one or if a photo of him was used in an online article, she would tag me in it as well. Many years later I asked Tara if she still happened to have the photos from his photo shoot as I wanted to get some prints. Much to my surprise, she still had them almost 5 years later. We set up a date and time to skype and look at the photos and wow, there was a lot of photos. Tara was incredibly patient with me when it came to choosing the pictures I wanted (I think she spent at least 2 hours with me). It was very difficult to choose because almost all of them were beautiful shots. I ended up buying 18 prints? in different sizes, and 1 canvas. I am in Canada and expected it would take a bit longer to arrive, but everything arrived in a very reasonable time frame and I LOVE all of the photos, as well as the many others who requested one of her pictures of my pup. Thank you Tara! I will definitely cherish every single photo!!