Top 5 Spots for Family photography in Portland

These are Snappr's favorite parks, landmarks, and buildings in Portland for family portraiture!

As my children have gotten older I’m finding it harder and harder to persuade them to join me in a photo, they all complain that they don’t want to end up on a site pictured as one of the “Ten worst family photos”, Modern family portraits depict a happy laughing group enjoying their activity together, matching jumpers are a thing of the past. 

So where can you take a family on Portland that they can let their hair down and be themselves? Here are my top five locations to get a truly unique portrait with your family in some of Portland’s most breathtaking scenery.


Forest park, Northwest Oregon

Take a hike through Forest park it is the country’s biggest urban park. There are ruins aged with moss, lots of foliage from the trees but plenty of sunspots to be found. There are some nice old bridges, which are great for some low angle shots. There is also lots of cool flowing water once everyone’s limbered up; if they’re feeling brave enough! 


If hiking isn’t on the menu, fear not, Pittock Mansion also based in Forest Park is a spectacular backdrop for any photograph. The grounds play host to lots of family activity days too so you really can make the most of your visit.


Oaks Bottom Wildlife Sanctuary

For the animal lovers this is a perfect location, it is home to 720 acres, not all are open to the public, as they are home to lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

Jokes aside this is one of my favourites, the sanctuary itself is beautiful open space you do run the risk of being photo bombed by a giraffe but it’s worth the risk. There are some rules and guidelines for photography but the centre welcome photography of any kind.. At certain times of the year they do “wild nights” and open later, (or you can try for the early morning slot as there are fewer visitors at this time), when the animals are active and the sun is setting, this becomes the location for a truly magical family portrait.


Willamette River

For scenic city views, there are several boat tours of Portland along the Willamette chartering through a company such as yNaught will ensure you get the best spots, but if the family don’t all have their sea legs there are multiple points along the banks that you can capture the moment with Portland’s stunning Skyline in the shot. 


Sauvie Island Lavender Farm

The perfect purple shades of the lavender are a vibrant backdrop adding some real colour and depth for photo shoots, the best times of year are end of May or August, June and July the lavender is at its best, but this is peak season for tourists and you may struggle to get your shot unless you can beat the crowds early in the day. 


McCoy Park Water fountains

When the morning sunlight hits the water droplets from the fountains and everyone is laughing you know that frame captures the spirit of the family for them.

McCoy park opens at 5am, so if you really want to make the most of the daylight hours without interruptions ply the family with coffee and doughnuts and get out there early on while its just runners.