Where To Take Engagement Photos in Portland
We are so fortunate in Portland to have access to so many different environments for engagement photos. From urban to natural beauty, we pretty much have it all. Here is a Portland Engagement Location Guide, sharing some of my favorite spots around Portland to make your engagement session special.
How to Choose Your Location
When choosing an engagement session location, it's important to keep in mind the mood you would like for your photos and if they will fit with the theme of your wedding. If you'd like your Save The Dates to match the theme of your wedding, making sure things like matching colors to your wedding colors can make a difference. This can also be an opportunity to do something totally different and creative together. If you want something sophisticated, I'd choose an urban setting. If you'd like something more light and whimsical, I'd go with a more natural setting. If you want something intimate, an at-home shoot might be a great fit for you!
Tell a story
I am a big fan of storytelling and being active in our session. While I think it is important to get those clean posed photos, it also makes for dreamy photos and great memories to create a story with your engagement session. Why not make your engagement session like a scene from a movie? This is a great chance to plan a unique and fun date that I can capture for you. This provides a little something for you and your partner to do for natural connection and candid photos. Here are some ideas for storylines for your engagement session.
- Summer Picnic in the Park (I have a beautiful picnic basket we could use)
- A Romantic Café Date
- A Fun Night out Downtown (Possibly the use of a hotel room, lots of flash and black & white images while we run around the hotel and the city)
- Fun Day at the Beach
- Old Hollywood Glamour
- Cozy at Home
- Sharing in an Activity - Do something you both love together like surfing, painting, dancing, playing music, etc.)
- Escape From the Rain in the Park - Getting cozy under an umbrella, trench coats, boots)
- A Farmer's Market Shopping Date
- Street Car or Tram Date
- A Romantic Boat Ride - For couples with access to a boat and proper licensing.
- A Ride in a Vintage Car - For those couples willing to rent a car or who has access to a vintage car.
- Day at the Pool - For those couples with access to a pool.
- Walk on the bridge - Tilikum is a great option for this one.
- A Date at the Zoo - A weekday morning when kids are back in school would be a great time for this.
- A Scene From a Film - Think romance films like Lalaland, Breakfast at Tiffany's, The Notebook, etc.
- Sweet Treats - Ice cream date, etc.
- Breakfast in Bed
- A Bike-ride in the City Date
- A Game of Tennis - Think vintage romantic styling. I even have vintage wooden rackets to borrow.
- Berry or Apple Picking Date
- Pumpkin Patch Date
- Christmas Tree Shopping Date
- Celebrity-Style Studio Session
- Hot Air Balloon Festival Date
- Tulip Festival Date
- Sellwood Riverfront Park
- Eastbank Esplanade near OMSI
- South Waterfront
- The Rose Garden
- Pittock Mansion
- NW 23rd
- Portland Art Museum
- The Pearl - Tanner Springs Park
- Council Crest
- John's Landing
- The PSU Park Blocks
- Jenkins Estate - Beaverton
- Greenway Park - Beaverton
- Downtown Lake Oswego
- Summerlake Park - Tigard
- Murrayhill - Beaverton
Outside of Portland
- Sauvie Island
- Vista House
- Cannon Beach or Seaside
- Maryhill Stonehenge
- Wayward Winds Lavender Farm - Must be comfortable with bees
1) Sellwood Riverfront Park
I love this gem located in the Sellwood neighborhood. It has a little beach area and dock for beautiful photos along the water. It's quite busy in the warm months, but even in the busy season we can find pockets away from the crowd. (Parking can be a little tricky in the summer.)
2) Eastbank Esplanade
This is another great spot to get some rive and city shots in the background.
3) South Waterfront
I love South Waterfront for photos is because it has lovely walking paths and gives an urban feel without so many people. When the river is lower in the drier season, it can make for a great spot to get close to the water because there is a ramp down to the water. We can also hop on Tilikum bridge for some beautiful photos.
4) The Rose Garden
One of my favorite places in all of Portland. The International Rose Test Garden's flowers are in bloom from April to October, the peak is in June. It always gives me a fairytale vibe. I also appreciate the paved walkways around the park.
5) Pittock Mansion
Pittock Mansion has excellent views of the city below, but my favorite part is the mansion itself. This is one of the best spots for those couples hoping for a romantic mood for their engagement photos. Like the Rose Garden, it too gives a fairy tale feel.
6) NW 23rd
This is another great spot around town to give an urban feel, but the historic homes also make beautiful backdrops for photos. It's another great location for a session themed around a coffee or ice cream date.
7) Portland Art Museum
While the art inside the Portland Art Museum is incredible, it's actually the outside that I love so much. It's also a great place to use as a date and engagement session location. We could begin at a café, head to the museum, and when we are done it could be a great opportunity for a you and your partner to head inside and enjoy the museum on your own.
8) Tanner Springs Park - The Pearl
The Pearl is a great place to capture some urban park photos and modern buildings. In particular, I really enjoy the Tanner Springs Park area.
9) Council Crest
This popular sunset location is a beautiful place to sit under a tree as you enjoy a picnic. We could take cozy picnic-style photos while you enjoy a beautiful view of the city below.
10) John's Landing
For couples open to a walk along the river. Beginning at Willamette Park, we can walk along the Willamette River with beautiful views of city and the river in the background.
11) PSU Park Blocks
This is a great spot to take some adorable Farmer's Market photos. The historic and modern buildings can sure make for a beautiful urban backdrop.
1) Jenkins Estate - Beaverton
This huge park in Beaverton is absolutely stunning and has so much opportunity. It's a popular choice for my clients looking for family photos, but it's also a great spot for engagement sessions with it's natural plants and well-maintained gardens.
2) Greenway Park - Beaverton
My family and I frequent this park often during the spring to catch the new ducklings, but other than it's animals the other natural elements at this park are gorgeous. There is marshland with tall grasses and willows.
3) Downtown Lake Oswego
Walking around Downtown Lake Oswego has such great opportunity for adorable engagement photos. We could grab coffee and pastries and then head to the Parisian-style green café tables or walk around the water while enjoying some Salt and Straw.
4) Summerlake Park - Tigard
This is another popular suburban park that has great opportunity for photos. I could be another great place for a picnic style-session or a stroll enjoying nature.
It may not seem like much because it is connected to a busy shopping center, but this area in Beaverton has some surprising romantic pockets. I would recommend this location in the spring or summer to capture the beautiful willows in the breeze.
Outside Portland (but still close)
These locations are just outside of my typical travel range, but with an adjusted rate for travel, they make for gorgeous places for an engagement session.
1) Sauvie Island
Suave Island is my favorite place to get beach vibes without actually making the long drive to the coast. The soft sand gives a lovely glow and if timed at sunset, it's easy to take photos around other beach-goers. During the right season, we could even swing by one of the farms on the way out!
2) Vista House
If we head down I-84 for about 25 miles from Downtown Portland, we can pull off the freeway to arrive at Vista House. With it's sweeping views of the Columbia River, it's easy to see how it would make a great location for engagement photos.
3) Cannon Beach/Seaside
There is always just something so dreamy about engagement photos on the Oregon Coast. With the misty air and vast scenery, it is easy to get that light and airy photography feel.
4) Maryhill stonehenge
This location is a quite the trek from Downtown Portland at 108 miles away, but it is such a unique location. It sure makes for a refreshing location for engagement photos.
5) Silver Falls
For those couples that don't mind a hike, this beautiful location is about 60 miles from Downtown Portland. This location features a chance to walk behind the gorgeous falls.
6) Wayward Winds Lavender Farm
Located in Newberg, Oregon, about 20 miles from Downtown Portland. This beautiful farm gives the option to book the whole farm for the morning for a fee. Lavender is in season typically during the month of July.