Best Locations for Photo Sessions in Portland

June 6, 2023

I am a wife, mother, and photographer who is determined to give you and your loved ones timeless and organic keepsake images that will captivate your heart forever.
EPP serves women and families by offering Maternity, Newborn, and Family Photography in the Portland, Oregon Metro Area. Our photography produces personal, relationship focused, film and film-like images.

Buckle up for this one- it’s a good one! I truly could have broken this down into a mini blog series (and maybe I will!) with East Portland, West Portland, and SW Washington/Vancouver locations. We live in such a geographically beautiful area, even the simplest park — heck even most residential backyards — are just stunning.

Hi, my name is Emilie and I’m the Portland Family Photographer who will help make your session planning a breeze—no overwhelm and endless google searching here! I personally work with each client to find the perfect location for their session that is a natural and meaningful fit for them. We work through a planning questionnaire and exclusive, detailed guides to put their vision into words. I take it from there and alleviate all of the decision fatigue and help my clients have the family photo session of their dreams! I mean, moms already have enough on their plate, right?

But today, for the first time ever, I’m publicly sharing my top SIX locations for your next family photo session in the Portland area. Normally I don’t share my super-secret (haha) favorite spots until a client is fully booked, but not today, and I’m not withholding any locations (except as I said earlier, I could write many more posts about great areas)!

And if you’re just popping by my blog looking for you family’s next photo op spot, I am here to help you, too, and share my top photo locations in the Portland Area!

1. Powell Butte, Portland Oregon

Easy to get to, plenty of space, with views of Mt. Hood while overlooking the city of Portland! Powell Butte is a natural stunner and looks amazing year-round (check out this snowy winter session at Powell Butte here). Powell Butte is great if you’re looking for a classic golden sunset location with plenty of vision diversity and area to run around! I’ve done SO many sessions here over the years and I never tire of it, and each session is uniquely beautiful!

2. Fort Vancouver, Vancouver, Washington

Whatever you’re doing right now, do NOT be giving me an eye roll. I get it, I grew up in Vancouver and going to the Fort (at least back then) had such a cliche connotation behind it. But let me just tell you, Fort Vancouver is BEAUTIFUL–when done the right way (hi! I can help with that!). Colorful summer gardens, open gassy fields, glorious apple blossom orchards, it really is a color-lovers dream!

3. The Sandy River, Troutdale Oregon

This little hidden gem has quickly become a favorite spot of both mine and my clients’! It’s the perfect spot for a picnic evening with grassy meadows that overlook the sandy riverbank. Weekend evenings can be a little busy but when the golden glow hits just right… it just sparkles with wonder! Don’t forget to bring dry clothes for your little ones, because dipping their toes into the river is absolutely irresistible (in my photographer and mom experience, haha).

4. Canemah Bluff, Oregon City, Oregon

Another beautiful hidden gem location that makes me oooh and ahhh every time! It’s nestled in a quiet neighborhood and relatively secluded. It’s beautiful year-round and is soaked in wildflowers during the summer. I have no bad things to say about selecting Canemah Bluff for your family photo session in Portland. It really is a bit magical!

5. Edgefield McMenamins, Troutdale, Oregon

Alright—number 5 on my list is Edgefield McMenamins in Troutdale. Edgefield is such a fun and lively place to spend the evening, it’s hard not to have a good time (and even a pre-sesh refresher, if you do partake)! I also have a secret wish to become a full-time gardener for Edgefield one day. Their grounds are really that beautiful, and so many of their gardens are harvested to be used in their restaurants. It is such a neat little (big, actually), place. I tend to stick in the gardens but there’s hardly a corner anywhere on campus that wouldn’t make for a grand photo backdrop!

6. Zimmerman House, Portland, Oregon

Bonus location! Now, I’ve been photographing my own family here for years, but have only had a few clients select it as their spot in my photography career, which blows my mind because it’s such an adorable historic garden house! You have to love a good dose of green foliage (which hello, I do obviously), but it features a beautiful wisteria tree and peonies in the spring, tall oak trees, luscious summer gardens, and an adorable front porch.

I can’t end this blog post without one final tip, something that I truly stand by here at EPP:

While location IS important to bring a story to life, Family Photos aren’t about the location. They’re about your family, your connection, and what your family is like during this little slice of time, and no location is going to change any of that! And seriously, I mean it. YOU are the star of the photos, not anything else.

Well, that’s it for now, friends! I hope you enjoyed the tips of where to have your next family session in the Portland area! Make sure to share this post with your friends who you know will be looking for the perfect little spot for their annual photos, and of course, hit the inquiry button if you want to work with me and have the family session of your dreams!

and stay tuned… maybe another blog series on locations coming… I have so many that I love, you never know… 🙂

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I am a wife, mother, and photographer who is determined to give you and your loved ones timeless and organic keepsake images that will captivate your heart forever.

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