Best Portland Family Portrait Photo Locations

Where To Take Family & Kids Photos Around Portland - Vancouver - Camas

Hoyt Arboretum

variety of trees, open hills or forest areas,
sometimes tall grasses

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

cool Architecture, grassy open space,
rocky waterfront

Cathedral Park is one of my regular go-tos for family photos!  Depending on the look you want, we could spend time at the top of the park, with the views underneath the bridge and in the grassy space, or meet down at the waterfront along the Willamette River.

Peninsula Park

colorful rhododendrons in spring, roses in summer, yellow leaves in fall, & brick!

Hands down, Peninsula Park is my favorite park in the city for all kinds of  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!)

Peninsula Park in Autumn

One of the best parks in the city for fall colored foliage

The large trees at Peninsula Park turn a gorgeous yellow in late Autumn (typically very late October, first-half of November).  There are also some great red trees.  It's definitely one of my favorite locations for fall family photos!

Inner SE Portland

Bustling streets, colorful bars and restaurants, fun murals, hidden alleyways

Another great neighborhood I am always up for exploring for portrait sessions is central southeast Portland.  There are so many colorful murals, fun buildings, interesting storefronts, and just an overall energy that I love.  

Old Town / Chinatown

Interesting architecture, colorful walls and doorways, cobblestone and brick

Old Town and the Chinatown area of Downtown Portland is a great spot to explore for family portraits!  Around every corner, there's bound to be some charming doorway or unique architecture waiting to be photographed.  

Vancouver Lake

Pretty trees, forest trails, and a lake!

Vancouver Lake is a lovely location that's great for family photos.  There are pretty trees (that look great in autumn!), a beautiful lake, and lots of forest nature areas, providing lots of variety.

Cottonwood Beach - Camas

Overgrown forest trails, open grassy spaces, large sandy beachfront

Cottonwood Beach is one of my favorite beach locations for family photos.  The light through the trees is beautiful at golden hour, and there's a lot of variety for nature backdrops.  The best time to go onto the beach itself is right at sunset, so depending on the time of year, this can be close to 9pm.  This beach can also be very crowded in the Summertime, so typically best for Spring and Autumn sessions if you're wanting photos on the sand.

Alberta St. Arts District

One of my favorite places to find color!

The Alberta Arts District is a great place for fun and colorful family and kids 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

river views, great sunsets, rocky cliffs

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 Neighborhood

A quiet neighborhood with lots of color and quaint portland charm

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 families who want the colorful urban vibe but prefer their session to be a little more discreet :)

Deer Creek Greenspace - Camas

Tall grasses, beautiful sunlight, green meadows

This little neighborhood greenspace in Camas has the prettiest evening light I've ever seen!  A little hidden away, more of a secret location :)

Heritage Park - Camas

Pretty forest area, lakefront, tall grasses

Heritage Park is the main park at Lacamas Lake.   While it does surround the lake, I prefer the forested area near the Heritage Trailhead, where you can see the lake in the background.  It's just so pretty!  If you prefer more of a lakefront area, I prefer the park across the street called Lacamas Park at Round Lake, or a bit down the street - Fallen Leaf Lake.

Lacamas Park at Round Lake

Pretty green open space under tall trees, rocky beach, lakefront views

This side of Lacamas Lake is very pretty if you want photos right on the water.  There are lots of rocks along the beach, and the light is lovely at sunset.  The park also has some great trees and grassy areas for photos away from the lake.

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden

Springtime color explosion, streams, waterfalls, Lakes & Ponds, sunshine & ducks!

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.)

Laurelhurst Park

COLORFUL FLOWERS IN SPRING, VIBRANT YELLOW SEA OF LEAVES IN FALL, AND A DUCK POND

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.

Mt. Tabor

Tall forests, grassy open spaces, walking trails, reservoirs, & mini castles 

Mt. Tabor has a lot of options for a family 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!

Vancouver Waterfront

River views, modern urban buildings, grassy spaces, unique architecture

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!

Cherry Blossoms in Late April

Do you need more than cherry blossoms??

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).  

Fort Vancouver

Pretty Gardens, Rustic fencing, historic fort & officer houses, and a gazebo

Fort Vancouver has a little bit of everything, and is especially great if you want something with a more rustic look.  There is a nice open green space with a pretty gazebo, the wooden walls of the historic fort, a rustic fence surrounding a pretty flower garden, tall grasses, and even an area with the old officer houses.

George Rogers Park - Lake Oswego

A rocky waterfront beach and woodsy trails

This little park in Lake Oswego sits right on the river and has lots of space for rocky waterfront views.  There's a smaller stream that flows into the river, with a more woodsy vibe, and there are even nature trails through the woods.

Fallen Leaf Lake - Camas

Grassy overgrown lake shore with lots of pretty trees

This little lake in Camas is one of my favorites.  I love all the green shoreline and tall overgrown grasses.  The lake is full of lily pads, which adds to the lush feel.  And there's also some gorgeous huge trees for some variety.

Columbia Park

huge trees, open space, and great for fall

Columbia Park in North Portland is a great little neighborhood park with huge old trees and lots of green space.   It looks great year round, and tends to be a bit quieter.  And it's especially lovely in fall.

Where To Take Family & Kids Photos Beyond Portland

Oregon Coast

take your pick!  miles of gorgeous coastline!

You can't go wrong with any place you pick along the Oregon Coast.  It's all great for family photos.  Cannon Beach, Seaside, Oceanside, Astoria, Pacific City... I love them all!

Government Cove Peninsula

rocky cliffs, great views of the river, snow capped mountains, grassy spaces

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.  

Rooster Rock State Park

Pretty rows of trees, tall grassy fields, open green meadows, riverfront beach views

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.  

Viento State Park

Long rocky beaches, snow capped mountains, pretty river views

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!  

Latourell Falls

Dramatic waterfalls, forest trails, lush mossy rocks

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!  

Port of Cascade Locks

magical meadows, river views in both directions, dramatic trees and snow capped mountains

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 family photos!

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