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