If you are looking for some ideas for where to take family photos in the Portland Oregon area this year, I’ve made a handy little list of my favorite spots. Of course, there are plenty more that I didn’t list, but this is a good starting point. These are not in any particular order.
The Top Of Powell Butte
If you have children who don’t mind a small hike, parking at the visitor’s center and walking up a bit to the top or even almost the top of Powell Butte is a fun spot to take family photos. If you go at the end of the day, the sun sets on the opposite side of the view of Mt. Hood, so you can get a nice shot of the mountain in the background. There are plenty of trails, trees, and open spaces.
You could spend all day walking around here! I love that they have all different kinds of trees in one area, so if you want Maple trees, just go to the spot on the map that says Maple trees… done! There are so many different trails here, you could definitely get lost here so be sure to start at the visitor’s center and grab a free map. I will admit that even with a map, I still got lost, so bring a phone with GPS, too! Or just bring someone with a great sense of direction 😉
It’s usually not where families choose to have their photos taken, but it’s actually really fun! It’s easy to find cool walls or architecture that add some extra interest to the photos, like a fountain or a graffiti wall. So if your family’s style is a bit more city than country, going downtown would be perfect for you. This works at any time of day because the tall buildings block harsh sun and the light bounces off streets and buildings for awesome lighting.
George Rogers Park
We call this place the Faux Beach because it’s like a beach, but it’s on the Willamette River. The sand is actually more like dirt and rocks but the kids think it’s just as fun. This would be such a fun summer photo spot. We could start out at the bridge they have up top, then on the beach, and then play in the water toward the end of the session. The last time I took family photos here was 2014 and I included a photo from that session along with a couple iphone shots from a playdate. I obviously need to take some photos here again because it’s such an excellent spot, you just need to be willing to drive out to Lake Oswego.
Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival
Every spring we make it out to the tulip festival in Woodburn because it’s probably one of the prettiest places I’ve ever seen. Walking down the rows of tulips just makes me happy. There are plenty of great photo spots here. Near the store, there is usually a setup with an old car and/or some huge wooden shoes and of course tulips. Then there are the tulip fields with scattered benches, tractors, and a windmill. Plenty of photo spots, as long as you don’t mind the crowds. I can usually photoshop out most of the background people, though. This year I’m doing Spring Mini Sessions here, so check out my facebook page for more info.
I love this spot because it’s like an outdoor castle up on a hill. There are stone steps on one side and a dirt ramp on the other, and when you are on top you are surrounded by stone walls and lamps. There’s also a big water tower on top. You get an awesome 360 view so if you are able to come here at either sunrise or sunset, you’ll be able to capture the view really well behind you in your family photos.
Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden
When you feel like walking around a super pretty spot filled with lakes, bridges, trees, and trails, then you should come to this place! When you first walk in, there is a long bridge that I absolutely love. Then you walk down to a small lake with a trail all around it and plenty of ducks, and after you pass that you get to the large lake with a walking trail along it. I haven’t gone in the spring yet, which I’m sure is full of flowers, but when I went in the fall, there were lots of leaves to play in and plenty of fall color in the trees.
Foster Floodplain Natural Area
I’ve done tons of sessions here because it always has great sunset lighting, there are plenty of interesting trees, a cool bridge, open field, and really just an all around versatile spot no matter the time of day. It’s also pretty close to where I live and there’s usually not many people around so it’s my go-to place.
One day I was looking at google maps, saw this spot, and hoping it would be a good photo spot I drove out to Gresham to check. I fell in love. It’s this tiny lake where people sometimes go to fish and there’s a trail around the side of it with a little bridge behind. You can also follow the trail across the street and find another bridge and nature trail. This is just such a cute spot, and it had great color in the fall. I can’t wait to check it out this spring, too. This spot works for sunset sessions (as you can see from the above photos), but I really think just after sunrise would be extra amazing because the sun would be behind the lake. That’s on my list of things to try, for sure.
I hope you enjoyed this post, as it took me hours to decide on and compile all these! I’m sure I’ll find more favorite spots as time goes on, so I’ll update this as needed. I’d suggest bookmarking this post so you can go back to it next time you need a spot for family photos. Or just message me and I’ll help you figure out the perfect spot for your family.