Credit: "St. Tropez Light Blue Beach Chairs" © Gray Malin

If you’ve been on Instagram recently, you’re probably familiar with Gray Malin, the Los Angeles-based photographer famed for his wanderlust-inducing aerial beach photos. Malin counts among his celebrity fans Rihanna and Reese Witherspoon (two of our #WCWs, as you all well know), and his work is pure joy in photo form.

That’s why we were thrilled to have the chance to ask Malin about his work, and get his can’t-miss guide to summer in Los Angeles.

HelloGiggles: I love your aerial photos of the Hawaiian islands and other beach destinations. What is it about aerial imagery that intrigues you? And how do you capture those shots?

Gray Malin: I take my aerial photos via a doorless helicopter at varying degrees in altitude. What intrigues me is that from above, the people with their umbrellas and towels create patterns that are eye-catching and unique in that they are mere moments in time that can never be captured again.

Credit: "St. Tropez Light Blue Beach Chairs" © Gray Malin

HG: Do you think there’s something about the current cultural moment that makes your photos particularly appealing? If so, can you explain?

GM: Someone’s taste in art is clearly subjective, but I think what appeals to people with my work is that it is joyful and approachable. Whether it is an aerial shot or an image of a sweet giraffe with balloons, it is a piece of work that will make you stop, take a closer look and, hopefully, smile. Personally, I believe these types of images are timeless.

Credit: "Afternoon Croquet" © Gray Malin

HG: You’re so known for your beach imagery — I’d love to know about your favorite places to go during the summer months in Los Angeles. Are there particular restaurants, shops, museums, galleries, beaches, or other destinations you love?

GM: California is truly a spectacular place to live. Variety is certainly plentiful here, as the beaches vary up and down the coastline. For quick getaways, I love heading south to Laguna Beach or up north to Santa Barbara. As for a local beach, I like the Will Rogers State Beach for an easy day on the sand, and then Venice for a bike ride on the boardwalk.

Credit: "Venice Beach" © Gray Malin

For a nice glass of rosé while watching the sunset, I’d choose the upstairs patio at Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica, or The Farm at the Malibu Pier for a delicious dinner with sunset views.

Credit: "Malibu Kayaks" © Gray Malin

Also, I recently posted about the best places to take a selfie in L.A.

Credit: "Angel Wings Project" © Gray Malin

[And] keep a lookout for later this summer, when I’ll be doing a Santa Monica/Malibu travel guide, with a special stop at the Malibu Wine Safari.

Need more Malin? Head to or find him on Instagram @graymalin.