Ojai, with a population of just under 8,000, is located in Ventura County to the Northwest of Los Angeles and the East of Santa Barbara. The city is known as an attraction for tourists and a weekend getaway for visitors known for its boutique hotels, farmers’ markets, and outdoor recreation.
As with most cities and small towns in Southern California, there is a shared history of Indian tribes, Mexican land grants, the railroad, and businessmen from the East speculating for gold or oil. The photo shoot venues in Ojai will need the backdrop of hacienda-style architecture and the natural scenery of a narrow desert valley.
Ojai is a trendy, artsy getaway where short-term rentals under 30 days have been prohibited in both the city and Ventura County since 2016. Although Ojai has been the location of many film and television productions, these have been before the 2016 ban on short-term rentals. National chain stores and restaurants are also banned. This city ordinance intends to promote local business growth and to keep the city unique and free of logos and brands.
Photo Shoot Venue Options in Ojai
All photo shoot venue options in Ojai will have to be private residences or buildings you can lease while in town. Due to the 2016 law, any rentals will have to be long-term if you want to shoot there, which means you have to rent them for longer than 30 days. Otherwise, you will have the opportunity to stay at one of the local hotels.
The services and products needed for a photo shoot are set designers, catering, and a professional photographer. There are limited choices from the services category that are supported by companies located in Ojai. Fortunately, an outdoor photo shoot is on a smaller scale than a full production and the need for equipment rental is minimal.
Of the ancillary services supporting a shoot, the most scrutinized is the catering. The food service to an Ojai photo shoot venue would be better served by a personal chef since the crew is smaller and the cost for mobilization would be less.
- Professional Photographer
The hiring of a professional photographer in Ojai is ideal due to the local knowledge of venues specific to the messaging and branding of the photo shoot. The photographer would know the landscape, and the best lighting and would have the equipment needed for the shoot. Any supporting crews for the set-up and the breakdown would be under the scope of the photographer.
Photo Shoot Venue Companies in Ojai
Whether you are shooting just a few photos for a family or a whole week’s worth of shooting for a company portfolio, there are some great photo shoot venues in Ojai to help. You can find catering companies, equipment rental, production help, and whatever else you may need here.
- Production HUB
This resource has proven invaluable to the photography industry with its clearinghouse-style list of companies in and near Ojai. The companies within the HUB serve all aspects of the photo shoot and the end product. Ojai is served by this solution-based system to complete the services and the crews for a photo shoot.
- Private Chef Robin
Chef Robin is located in Ojai and specializes in catering to groups of 2-20. The menus are specific to personal preferences and the recipes are the Chef’s creations from locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. Working with Chef Robin and the team will net you a personalized menu filled with dishes you and your crew will love.
- Joshua James Images
Joshua James is a multi-published, commercial photographer with his studio and gallery in Ojai. The photos in his gallery speak to his specialty in outdoor photography and his knowledge of the local landscape. The hiring of a local photographer will result in the best photo shoot at the best venue for a lower price driven by the shorter time schedule.
Pros and Cons of Photo Shoot Venues in Ojai
When a photo shoot venue is in a small community supported by tourists and weekend visitors, the ability to step back and evaluate the big picture is necessary. One advantage is no more important than any disadvantage. All must be placed within proper context for an informed decision before finalizing any plans for a photo shoot venue in Ojai.
- No competition
The photography industry is not an economic driver of this small community. Therefore, there will not be a lot of competition for location and demand, nor the high prices experienced in tight markets.
If a photo shoot needs to capture a trendy community with old Mexican-style architecture, then Ojai is the perfect venue in Southern California. If a photo shoot needs to capture the scenery of a low desert valley with surrounding mountain ranges, again Ojai is the perfect venue.
- Permit process
It is the goal of the city manager to be a one-step process for the permit needed for a photo shoot venue in Ojai. A permit is needed whether a photo shoot venue is on public or private property.
The transportation mode to and from Ojai is not the disadvantage; the disadvantage is there is only one practical choice, which is to have a car.
Ojai is located in a west/east valley at 745’ above sea level. The summer is hot and dry with temperatures exceeding 100°F. A photo shoot venue in Ojai will be at least 15 miles inland and will not get the benefit of marine cooling.
- Strict rental laws
Due to the strict transient rental laws, any property you rent will have to be for longer than 30 days. Short-term rentals are illegal in the city of Ojai.
Famous Locations in Ojai
- Certified Farmers’ Market
One of the main attractions of this weekend getaway city is the Certified Farmers’ Market on Sundays. The fruits, vegetables, and plants are locally grown and harvested fresh. The prepared food products include breads, gourmet desserts, and raw chocolate.
- Ojai Meadow Preserve
This preserve is the result of the community’s effort in the restoration of 58 acres endangered by development. Through grants and partnerships, the floodwaters from the Maricopa Highway and the local high school now flow into the preserve returning the land to its natural state. The tours within the preserve can be guided or self-guided on the hiking or the saddle trails.
- Topa Mountain Winery
The experience at this winery is outdoor and reservations are required. The taste times are for 90 minutes beginning at noon for up to 12 guests. There are two meeting rooms available for guests up to 50 for private events. The Topa Mountain Winery has become known as the best place in Ojai for hand-crafted wines.