Where to Shoot Great Photos in Big Bear Lake

Posted: 02/26/20 | By Brady Enger

Get the scoop on the best times and locations to capture the shots that will make your Big Bear memories last forever.

Living in - or visiting - Big Bear is spectacular, and a majority of folks want to be able to capture its beauty in photographs. However, sometimes the timing isn't right or the phone camera doesn’t do the scenery justice. Sometimes you'll need to get up in the early hours of the morning to go to new and unique places for the gorgeous photos you want to take. Many people think you need the fancy, thousand dollar equipment, but it’s actually not necessary! Early on when I began scenic photography, I learned that the best camera is the one you have with you. A photographer is only as good as their knowledge of the image they’re capturing. Or the image they're envisioning!

My name is Brady Enger of Bending Energy Photography and here’s some helpful info for you to take with you as you capture the images of your favorite Southern California mountain escape.

Scenic capture of Big Bear Lake

First Things First

The way I’ll be describing my tips and information is from sunrise to sunset, and the best times in between.

Golden Hour

I’m sure you’ve at least heard of it but might not know what it is. Golden Hour is one of, if not the most, ideal times for photography. It includes the first hour after sunrise and the last hour before sunset. Most photographers prefer to shoot during these times because of the soft and natural lighting. Golden Hour has a nice, warm, inviting, and comfortable feeling; it’s not overbearing with bright sections or extremely dark in the remainder of the photograph. You will want to try and have the entire photo well lit so viewers aren’t questioning why it’s mismatched with bright and dark.

Golden Hour is the perfect time for capturing spectacular photos and also an awe-inspiring experience being surrounded by nature and all its beauty. The biggest issue for most is waking up early enough for sunrise, I promise you though, you won’t regret it once you’re in the mix of it all. Having coffee ready to go helps too!

Wintery landscape in Big Bear Lake, CA

High Noon Harshness

As the day goes on, I try not to shoot too much when the sun is at its highest due to the photos' lighting being quite harsh. Photos tend to have sun glare, be overly exposed, and not have a soft feeling.

A photographer is only as good as their knowledge of the image they’re capturing. Or the image they're envisioning! Brady Enger

Evening & Nighttime Shoots

My favorite time to shoot is right before sunset, through sunset, and into the night. Again, Golden Hour is just before sunset, when your photos can have that soft golden tone. Once that hour is up, we have the sunset itself. When there are high clouds in the sky, you can get an extremely colorful sunset! Clouds can add so much to a landscape shot by adding a different feeling as well as different sections of light with epic color variations. Colors can range from yellow to orange, to red and pink and purple as the sun continues to set. The sunset comes to calm the Earth as it continues to rotate, allowing us to see the stars. This allows for a whole other discussion of going out at night and taking photos of the stars. Stay tuned for that!

The nighttime sky in Big Bear Lake, CA

One thing that’s great about photography, is it plays to everyone's personal preference. I might not like shooting at a certain time of day or with a certain style, but it doesn’t mean someone else won’t like that. Photography is about getting creative with subjects and landscapes. Getting a lower, or higher angle instead of straight on gives a different perspective and a different feeling. The same goes for adding subjects or focal points in your image. Regardless of the time of day, you’ll always be able to get creative with whatever you’re shooting.

Brady Enger is the owner of Bending Energy Photography which offers professional photo and video services for real estate, portraits, advertisements, products, and promotional videos. Follow this talented artist on Facebook and Instagram, or learn more at


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