Epic Portland Photography Locations

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Discover the Best Portland Photography Locations for Stunning Family Photos

I feel so incredibly lucky to live in one of the most amazing areas of the world. The Pacific Northwest (PNW) is full of magic and enchantment, offering a rich tapestry of landscapes and backdrops that are perfect for family photography. The best part is that we really don’t have to go far from Portland, OR, to create beautiful photos for your family. If you’re on the hunt for epic Portland photography locations, look no further. Here are some amazing spots I have scouted just for you:

Columbia River Gorge

One of my absolute favorite places in the world, the Columbia River Gorge never disappoints. Whether we venture deep into the Gorge (about 1.5 hours away from Portland) to iconic spots like Rowena Crest, or we stay a little closer , we will always find ourselves surrounded by breathtaking scenery.

family of four playing games during family photo session

portland photography locations like this can make your photos dreamy


Making a Day or Weekend of It

Why not extend your photo session into a delightful day or even a weekend getaway? Here are some fantastic leisure options in the Gorge to complement your visit:

  • Society Hotel: Nestled in the heart of the Gorge, this boutique hotel offers a unique blend of rustic charm and modern comforts. Perfect for a relaxing stay.
  • Skamania Lodge: This stunning lodge provides luxurious accommodations with spectacular views of the Gorge, along with plenty of activities like hiking and zip-lining.
  • Sugar Pine Drive-In: Treat yourself to some delicious, nostalgic treats at this charming drive-in, located right by the Columbia River.

The Oregon Coast

This coast really is something special. When you get photographed at the Oregon coast it’s a little hard to accept anything else haha The beauty of these beaches really do make your photos something special. Locations at the Coast vary from 1:30 to 3 hours away, but they are always worth it!

Here you can also make a weekend out of it so you can really enjoy your time and have lots of adventures.

portland photography locations include this beautiful beach

River Beach Portland Photography Locations

You’d be surprised at how amazing some of the river beaches around Portland, OR are. Sure, we could drive 1.5 hours to get to the Oregon Coast, which would be totally epic. But if you don’t feel like making such a long trip, especially with kids, I totally get it! I have scouted a beautiful river beach location just 30 minutes away from Portland that will leave us wanting for nothing. The serene environment and gentle waves provide a perfect backdrop for relaxed and joyful family photos.

family of four playing by the water

Waterfall Locations

I have a slight obsession with waterfalls. I make a point to visit as many places with waterfalls as I can because I think they are pure magic. This year, I scouted a top-secret location specifically for my clients that will make your jaw drop. Not only does it have a stunning waterfall, but the entire scenery is just out of this world. It feels like we are on a different planet, and the results are incredible! Waterfalls provide a dynamic and awe-inspiring backdrop that adds a touch of wonder to your family photos.

Rocky River Portland Photography Locations

One element that not many people consider when choosing a location for family photos is the texture that the background will bring. I believe textures and colors can transform your family photos from nice to WOW! That’s why I spend a lot of time searching for locations with something special, like these beautiful rocky river settings. The rugged rocks, flowing water, and lush greenery create a visually interesting and dynamic background that enhances the natural beauty of your family.

river location in portland

Beautiful State and Regional Parks

We are incredibly fortunate to have so many beautiful state and regional parks around us! It’s tough to choose, but I do have some favorites where I have created some amazing magic with my clients. Here’s what I look for in a park:

  • Access to Amazing Light: Soft, natural light can make a huge difference in the quality of your photos.
  • Beautiful Views: Scenic vistas provide a stunning backdrop that adds depth and interest to your photos.
  • Interesting Natural Elements: Unique features like old-growth trees, wildflowers, or tranquil ponds can add a special touch to your images.
  • Kid-Friendly Areas: It’s essential to have something fun for the kids to do so they stay happy and engaged during the session.

couple dancing at the rose garden

In Your Home

Are you suspicious of the weather this time of year? Would your kids rather never have ice cream again than be out in the cold for an hour? Then having your session at home might be an excellent idea! At-home sessions provide a cozy, familiar environment where your kids can feel comfortable and relaxed. Plus, we won’t have to worry about the weather, and you can wear anything you want without freezing! This option is particularly great if you have a newborn, as it allows for a peaceful and intimate setting.

If you’re worried about your home not being “good enough” for pictures, I can assure you that’s not a concern! As long as we can find a couple of windows with good light, we will create amazing memories. I am fully vaccinated and will be wearing a mask at all times (for both indoor and outdoor sessions) to ensure your family’s safety.

More Hidden Gems for Portland Photography Locations

Hoyt Arboretum

Located within Washington Park, Hoyt Arboretum is a treasure trove of diverse plant species from around the world. With 189 acres of trails and over 6,000 specimens of trees and shrubs, it provides endless opportunities for beautiful photos. The arboretum’s vibrant colors and unique plant life create a captivating backdrop year-round.

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden

This 9.5-acre garden in Southeast Portland is known for its stunning collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, and other native plants. With picturesque ponds, waterfalls, and bridges, Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden offers a serene and colorful setting for family photos, especially in the spring when the flowers are in full bloom.

The Pearl District

For a more urban feel, the Pearl District in downtown Portland is perfect. This trendy neighborhood features cobblestone streets, industrial-chic buildings, and vibrant murals. It’s a great spot for capturing the city’s energy and creativity. Plus, there are plenty of cafes and shops to explore after your session.

Forest Park

As one of the largest urban forests in the United States, Forest Park offers over 5,200 acres of wooded trails, streams, and wildlife. It’s an ideal location for nature-loving families who want a forested backdrop. The park’s lush greenery and peaceful atmosphere make it a favorite spot for many of my clients.

Sauvie Island

Just a short drive from Portland, Sauvie Island offers a rural escape with its farms, fields, and river beaches. The island is particularly beautiful in the fall when the leaves change color, creating a picturesque autumnal setting. It’s also a fantastic spot for seasonal activities like pumpkin picking and berry picking, which can add a fun, interactive element to your photo session.

Mt. Tabor Park

Mt. Tabor Park, located on an extinct volcano, offers unique topography and stunning views of downtown Portland. With its open meadows, wooded trails, and scenic reservoirs, it provides a diverse range of settings for family photos. The park’s elevated position means you can also capture some breathtaking skyline shots.


Now that you have a ton of choices for Portland photography locations, let’s plan your session! Whether you prefer the majestic beauty of the Columbia River Gorge, the serene river beaches, the magic of waterfalls, the texture-rich rocky rivers, the lush state and regional parks, or the comfort of your own home, there’s a perfect spot waiting for you. Each location offers its own unique charm and beauty, ensuring your family photos will be nothing short of spectacular.

Click here to get your session booked, and let’s create some unforgettable memories together!

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