Hoyt Arboretum is one of my favorite locations for portraits in Portland. It's centrally location in Washington Park, and has so much variety. It looks great all year round, and never seems to look the same twice.
Cathedral Park is one of my regular go-tos for engagement photos! Depending on the look you want, we could spend time on top of the bridge, or walk down to the waterfront along the Willamette.
Hands down, Peninsula Park is my favorite park in the city for engagement portraits. It looks great all year long, and there is so much variety for every type of session you could want. It's colorful for most of the year, and even when it's not, there's great brickwork that gives so many options for posing and backdrops, that's it's a win-win every time. Plus there's a pretty fountain (that hasn't been in operation since Covid, but hopefully will be in use again soon!)
My favorite type of session is when the couple chooses a random neighborhood and we just explore. You could literally choose any random city block and I'd be a happy camper and find plenty of spots for photographs. NW Portland is one of those areas I never get tired of exploring. There's always pops of color, a mix of urban and rustic charm, and plenty of pops of nature to mix in as well.
Another great neighborhood I am always up for exploring for engagement sessions is central southeast Portland. There are so many colorful murals, fun buildings, interesting bars, and just an overall energy that I love.
Old Town and the Chinatown area of Downtown Portland is a great spot to explore for engagement portraits! Around every corner, there's bound to be some charming doorway or unique architecture waiting to be photographed.
The west side waterfront has a ton of variety and stretches for miles along downtown. There are bridges, beachy areas, little parks and green spaces, shiny urban buildings, walking paths, and more!
The blocks surrounding the Portland Art Museum make for great portraits! It's a little more artsy, and a little less industrial than many of the neighborhoods listed here. There are many courtyards, interesting green spaces, cool doorways, and just a modern urban flair.
The Alberta Arts District is a great place for fun and colorful engagement portraits. Nearly every single block has at least one mural or piece of street art. Buildings are painted with pretty vibrant colors, and there's still plenty of nature mixed in. There are also lots of overgrown alleyways which have a very Portland feel.
Elk Rock Island is such a cool park, basically right in Portland! Just a short 5 minute walk from the parking area to the cliff area, there are great views over the river, and it's so pretty at golden hour. The island is only accessible when the river is low (during warmer seasons), but even the areas leading to the island are great nature spots.
Kenton has some of my favorite colorful walls and murals. I'm always going for the pinks purples and blues, and this area doesn't disappoint. It's also a quieter neighborhood, and the murals are tucked away from the beaten path, which is great for couples who prefer their session to be a little more discreet :)
This little neighborhood park in SE Portland has some great nature views and pretty sunshine. There are often ducks by the water that may make an appearance in your photos! It has a romantic feel, and a walk around the reflecting pool is always refreshing. (Note : the reflecting pool hasn't been in operation since Covid)
This is a great location right in the Hollywood neighborhood. If you'd like some fun colorful backdrops, but want an otherwise simple session in one easy location, this is a great option! It's just a big ramp up to a pedestrian bridge and each wall is painted in a different main color, with art and quotes. So many options in one small space!
The Lewis & Clark College campus has some gorgeous spots for engagement photos. The reflecting pool and garden area is my favorite! The reflecting pool is only operational during warmer seasons, but the rest of the space is pretty year round!
This is one of my favorite gardens in the city. It's a hidden gem that you can't even see from the street. It's especially gorgeous in the Spring when all the rhododendrons are blooming in every color of the rainbow. (Note: There is a photography fee to use it during regular business hours, and they are currently on limited hours due to Covid.)
Rocky Butte is a unique and pretty spot in outer NE Portland. It boasts great views in all directions, and you can often see all the surrounding mountain peaks on clear days. The stone work is very pretty and has a fairytale castle feel.
Mt. Tabor has a lot of options for an engagement session. The park is pretty huge and depending on which parking area you choose to start at, you'll get completely different looks. There's a more forested side, a more open and sunny side, and areas with the reservoirs and neat little castle shaped buildings. If you really want to take advantage of the variety of Mt. Tabor, I recommend at least 1 hour for your session since it involves a lot of walking!
If you haven't been to Laurelhurst Park, you're missing out. It's such a pretty, relaxing, and romantic park right in the middle of Portland. In the spring, there are lots of colorful blooms, and in the fall, it has some of the best autumn foliage I've ever seen in one place. The duck pond is also a hit and is often a pretty bluish green color.
Council Crest Park is at the top of a big hill and has some great views of the city. There is a nice open grassy space, some trees, a stone wall, and depending on the time of year we may catch the yellow wildflowers!
Frenchman's Bar is in Vancouver, on the opposite side of the Columbia river, which I prefer when it comes to the sunlight as the sun sets! It's also got some of the most open beachy areas of any waterfront within the city area.
The late blooming cherry blossoms are some of my favorite! They are so fluffy and a deeper pink than the ones that bloom in March along the waterfront (of course those are pretty too!). I have a few spots I love to visit during the bloom time (typically the second to last or last weekend in April).
The new-ish Vancouver waterfront is a secret little gem just over the bridge from Portland. There's an awesome suspension pedestrian bridge over the water, a lovely boardwalk along the riverfront, some grassy spaces, and just lots of options for backdrops!
The Sandy River Delta area is a great spot if you want a waterfront backdrop with trees for your engagement photos. There's an open sandy beach, big rocks, and trees line the river on both sides for an all natural look.
This location is phenomenal! There is a ton of variety in landscape and every direction you face is gorgeous. Walk up the hill for above river views of the gorge, or walk along the river for open grassy space or rocky shorelines. I definitely recommend at least a 1 hour session to fully experience all this location offers.
This is one of the closest stops between Portland and Multnomah Falls for a rocky river view. It's just a simple random boat ramp right off the highway. A great little spot for some shots on the river with views of the Washington side gorge.
This state park close to Hood River is a great romantic location for views of the Columbia River Gorge. Long stretches of rocky beach, blue waters, and mountains in all directions, there's plenty of variety for your photos!
Rooster Rock State Park has a little bit of everything and is one of the first exits in the gorge (so not too far away!). There are tons of pretty tree lined spaces, tall brown grassy fields, open green spaces, and rocky beaches along the river. There's also a channel that runs through the back side of the park, which offers a different waterfront look.
Rowena Crest in the Mosier area is gorgeous! It's one of the furthest points on my list when it comes to the gorge, but it's well worth the drive. There are dramatic cliffs overlooking the Columbia River, tall grasses, wildflowers in Spring, and not far away you can find plenty of orchards with pretty fruit trees. Especially pretty in Spring!
Not far outside of Portland, if you're looking for views of the gorge from above, Crown Point Park is a great option! Vast views overlooking the river, interesting architecture, and pretty trees all around offer lots of variety.
At the Port of Cascade Locks, there is an island park in the middle of the Columbia River, and it is beautiful. There are lush green grassy spaces with gorgeous huge trees, mountain views, rocky waterfronts, and even a great view of the Bridge of the Gods. A wonderful location for engagement photos!
Latourell Falls is one of my favorite waterfalls in the gorge. It's easily accessible, dramatic in size, has lots of options for various photo angles, and you can even scramble down next to it if you're super adventurous!
This park right off the highway in Hood River has a magical forest feel. I love the crooked wind swept trees and lush grassy space. There are pretty views of the gorge as well, although it's a bit more industrial feeling with the chain link fencing. That gives it it's own style of charm! This is a great spot to pair up with another location (like Mitchell Point), to get a variety of looks for your photos.
This simple viewpoint is right off the interstate and has a pretty view of the gorge closer to the Hood River end. The stone wall is very pretty and gives some options for posing! This is a great location to pair with another stop or two during your session.
If you're feeling super adventurous and love a road trip, the Painted HIlls in Central Oregon is a great option for an engagement session. There are colorful hills, and beautiful desert views.
Another location that's amazing for the extra adventurous... The Alvord Desert in Eastern Oregon! This location is gorgeous if you love a vast open playa, snow capped mountains, and dramatic clouds. There are also hot springs at the desert that could make for fun casual photos as well!
Panorama Point is a short jump up the hill from Hood River. A simple little overlook park, it boasts a great view of Mt. Hood and the fruit loop valley.