We’re often asked for recommendations for the best locations for senior photos in Portland. We’ve photographed seniors here for a few decades (see dozens of our senior photos on our website), so we know so many great options for senior photo locations. If you have an idea for where you want to take your senior pictures, great! If not, we have lots of recommendations. We thought we’d share a few of our favorites here..
Here, in no particular order, are some of our favorite locations for senior photo sessions in Portland (including Beaverton, Tigard, Hillsboro, Sherwood, West Linn, Lake Oswego, and more!):
Best Urban Locations for Senior Photos in Portland
Northwest Portland Senior Photo Locations
Our photo studio in Northwest Portland is strategically located within 3 blocks of 10 amazing locations for great senior photos. We use our studio as a staging ground for our sessions, so your clothing and valuables stay safe. And if you want to be pampered with hair and makeup before your session, that happens in our studio before your shoot. It’s a great option for a mix of urban and natural in a senior session!
The Portland Bridges and Waterfront Park
Portland has so many great bridges to photograph, and adjoining waterfront parks. If you know how to light it right (and we do), you can get spectacular senior photos day or night. Just check out a couple of these examples on Portland’s Broadway Bridge and Waterfront Park:
Secret Graffiti Locations!
When you’ve been photographing senior photos as long as we have, you end up with a few secrets. And one of our secrets is knowing where some of the best locations for graffiti, murals, and ‘urban art’ are in Portland. If you want some bold color in your senior photo session, talk to us about the Secret Graffiti!
Best Senior Pictures in Natural Locations
Laurelhurst Park Senior Pictures
Laurelhurst Park is a great location right in the middle of Portland. It has a wide variety of trees, a pond, a cool stairway, sculptures, and more! We love taking senior pictures in Laurelhurst Park.
Mt Tabor Senior Photos in Portland
Who doesn’t want to have their senior photos on top of a dormant volcano? Trees, stones, old stairs, and views of downtown Portland make this a cools spot for senior photos.
Hoyt Arboretum Senior Photos
If you love trees and nature, the Hoyt Arboretum is the place to be for senior photos. Located right in the middle of the metro area, near the Oregon Zoo, it’s a great location with a lot of texture!
Cathedral Park Senior Sessions in Portland
Cathedral Park has one of Portland’s most iconic bridges: the St John’s Bridge. The architecture on top is amazing, but the view from below (which looks like a cathedral) is also stunning. Plus, there’s the river, lots of trees, some hidden graffiti, and more. It’s a fun and iconic place for a senior session, and a nice mix between urban and natural. However, in late 2022 through 2023, construction on the St Johns Bridge (covering the arches beneath the bridge) may make Cathedral Park a less-great option for senior photos. Read more here about Cathedral Park construction here.
Jenkins Estate Senior Photos in Beaverton
One of our very favorite locations for senior photos in the Portland area is actually in Beaverton: Jenkins Estate. It’s a historic estate (owned by the Jenkins Family) that was donated to the Tualatin Parks and Recreation District. It’s never crowded (unless there’s a wedding), it’s huge, and there’s so much variety! From the historic house, to the little Japanese Garden, to the variety of flowers that bloom through the year, it’s a hidden gem for senior pictures!
Cook Park Senior Pictures in Tigard
Cook Park is just behind Tigard High School, and is a great (and hidden) location for senior photo sessions. It’s right on the Tualatin River, and if you know where you’re going, there are some great places among the trees to photograph as well. It’s worth the trip, even if you’re not from Tigard!
George Rogers Park Senior Photos in Lake Oswego
Even if you don’t live in Lake Oswego, George Rogers Park is worth the drive. It’s a great location for senior photos, right on the river. And there’s a historic smelting plant there, too, which makes for some cool photos with historic architecture!
Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Senior Pictures in Sherwood
This is one of our favorite locations for golden hour senior photo sessions. Because it opens up to the West, we can use that beautiful golden light all the way through sunset! There’s also the Tualatin River, and so many beautiful oaks here. Plus, we’re likely to see herons, geese, nutria, and even deer while we’re photographing your senior pictures!
Macleay Park/Forest Park Senior Photos
Macleay Park is within Forest Park, and is a bit of a hike. But being able to photograph along the stream, in the trees, and even at the ‘Witches Castle’ is a real treat for senior pictures!
Cooper Mountain Nature Park
Cooper Mountain Nature Park is a place that some photographers like to take senior photos. However, there are signs everywhere reminding folks to stay on the trail, because leaving the trail damages the ecosystem they are trying to preserve and protect. It makes us sad to see photographers ignoring these signs, and trampling the habitat by taking their seniors and families off-trail. Also, there’s a lot of poison ivy there! There are other great locations (as we’ve listed above!) where we can photograph seniors without breaking the rules or damaging the habitat–or getting poison ivy rash.
Even More Great Locations for Senior Photos
We could go on and on about other locations for senior photos, including portraits at Pier Park, local cemeteries, The Pearl District, Jamison Park, The Burnside Bridge, The Hawthorne Bridge, local schools, and so many more. We’ve even photographed senior pictures in Big Al’s! We’ve photographed at them all! You can see more samples of our senior photos on our website.
Finding the Perfect Location for Senior Pictures in Portland
Finding the perfect location for senior pictures in the Portland area takes many things into consideration: the type of landscape (and how well it’s maintained); water features; when flowers or trees are in bloom; architecture, ease of access; cost for parking or entry; openness to the West (for golden hour/sunset light); and so much more. You also have to think about what locations can be used when it’s rainy in Portland (which is so much of the year!). Most locations are free, some charge a fee, and some (such as the Lan Su Chinese Gardens and the Japanese Gardens) sadly don’t allow portrait photography at all. We know all the ins-and-outs for finding you the best location for senior pictures in Portland.
We take all these things into consideration when recommending a location to our high school seniors, so we can TAKE GORGEOUS SENIOR PICTURES and HAVE THE MOST FUN!