large family playing in the sand along a river in Portland Oregon

Family Photos on the River? Yes, Please!

There are so many beautiful locations near Portland to take family photos, but one of my favorites is along one of our beautiful rivers! So today I’ll be sharing with you four reasons why I love photographing families at river locations.

Parents playing with their young kids

Reason 1: There’s a Variety of Landscapes on the River

When it comes to capturing the beauty of your family, I love to have some variety at the location. Along the river areas, you have access to a range of landscapes that are perfect for getting those breathtaking shots. From dense trees to sandy “beaches”, there’s something for everyone. Explore different types of terrain and take advantage of unique compositions around these areas. There’s just something about having water in the background of photos that makes it feel extra special.

Parents kissing while holding their kids by a river

Reason 2: The Natural Lighting is Beautiful for Photos

Taking advantage of natural lighting is one of the biggest benefits when it comes to photographing families at river locations here in Portland, Oregon. Soft, diffused light is a must for my style of family photography and the water provides a ton of it! The way the sun hits the water is truly magical, and then when the sun goes past the horizon, the soft light will feel like a dream. Whether you want to photograph the family during sunrise or sunset, we’ll be able to achieve beautiful results no matter what!

family sitting on a log staring out at the columbia river

Reason 3: River Locations Offer Privacy and Space

When it comes to capturing those special moments with your family, having enough space is key. Fortunately, being on the river offers plenty of large open spaces that make it easy to play and run. With fewer people in the area, at least the spots that I love, you can also take advantage of more privacy during your session. This makes it easier to get everyone’s attention and focus solely on capturing those precious moments with your family!

Boy in the water and sand with family and river behind him at location in Portland, OR

Reason 4: Rivers are Fun!

Capturing kids’ natural smiles, laughter, and curiosity in family photos is a must! Hanging out with me on the river doesn’t just have to be about taking beautiful family photos – it’s also about having fun! There are plenty of activities that you can do together during your photo session… looking for bugs, throwing rocks in the water, jumping off logs, or splashing in the river, for example. We can discuss some different ideas ahead of time if you’d like to incorporate an activity that requires more planning, like a picnic or boat ride. So bring all your energy and let’s have some fun!

Little boy with ladybug on his finger at the river in Portland, Oregon

Portland river locations are the perfect backdrop for a fun and relaxed family session. With plenty of gorgeous scenery, beautiful natural lighting, and plenty of space to run, portland’s riverside areas are definitely some of my favorite places for photos. Plus, with fun and interactive elements, you can make lasting memories as a family while creating beautiful keepsakes for your walls (or coffee table!).

Mom sitting on a log with her son sitting on her lap
Mom crouching down to talk to her toddler boy while her other kids play near the river behind them
Boys building a sandcastle by a river near Portland, Oregon and parents hugging

Want Portland family photos on the river like these?

If you’re looking for family photos on the river near Portland, Oregon (or somewhere else, I travel!) then let’s start planning your session! I have a client closet available if you’d like to borrow any clothing, as well as a location guide with all my favorite photo spots (including my favorite Portland river locations!). If you want to know more about my family sessions, you can check out my family portfolio, which also answers some frequently asked questions. See you soon!

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One Comment

  1. These family photos by the river are amazing! The different backgrounds make each picture special, and the natural light makes everyone look so happy. I like that there’s lots of space for families to have fun and play together. The idea of doing activities like looking for bugs or splashing in the river sounds like a blast! I lived in Portland, I want a family photo session by the river – it seems like a great way to make awesome memories! 🌟📸

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