Your Guide to Choosing a Season for Your Portland Family Photos

Living in Portland, we have a lot of things to consider when deciding what season to book family photos. Weather, colors, sunset time, and location could all play a factor in your decision and hopefully I’ll give you some new things to think about. And who knows,  maybe you’ll try out a different time of year next time!

what season to book you family photos in Portland Oregon

Spring Family Photos

I’m starting with spring because it’s coming up soon (kind-of). If you like lots of green grass, flowers, and mild weather then the spring season may be perfect for your family photos. There’s a good chance you’ll get rain interrupting your plans, but if you can be flexible then so can I! A light sprinkle won’t scare us away, but any more than that and we will want to wait for a better day. 

TIMING: My sessions start around 1 to 2 hours before sunset, and sunset is 7:30pm in mid-March and 9pm in June. So make your decision based on that. If you have small ones who go to bed early, either start putting them to bed later the week before your session, or choose the earlier spring months.

LOCATION: There are lots of beautiful locations in the spring!

Here are some reasons why I love spring!

Long, green grass…

mommy and me photography session in pdx

Cherry blossoms in March/April (depending on the year)…

portland cherry blossoms photography spring - spring season family photos

Wildflowers in The Gorge in late April/early May…

Wildflowers at Memaloose State Park in Mosier, Oregon in the spring season

Lily fields in Late April/early May…

Little girl in field of lilies in camas washington

Peony Garden in Mid/Late May…

Amazing wildflower spot that blooms from the end of May to beginning of July…

two young kids leading mom through field of flowers in the spring season - outdoor family photos in portland
fun portland photographer
couple dancing in a filed of flowers with power lines behind them - spring season photos

Random flowers that pop up in Early June…

mom and kids looking at flowers together in the spring season
Mom hugging son during family photos
pregnancy photo in flowers

Tall, green grass in early June…

Portland OR family photographer

Vineyards and random flowers in mid-June…

Family Photography in the Summer

Considering this is Oregon, my favorite time for photos in the summer. The reason is that you’re almost always going to end up with sun, and that’s what I love most! You didn’t realize, but I’m adding another family member to your photos, and it’s the sun! I feel like it’s another subject in my photos, and I welcome it with open arms. Anyway, you can still find flowers in the summer if that’s your thing, or you can head to the beach and know that it won’t be freezing, or just enjoy the beautiful Oregon landscape. Wherever you go, the sun will almost always be there. So try a summer photo session next time, it’s awesome!

TIMING: Okay, there is something that you do need to think about before deciding if summer is for you, and that is the late sunsets. I book sessions around 1 to 2 hours before sunset, and in the summer the sunset can be around 9pm or so. If your kids can’t handle that, then maybe summer isn’t the best plan for you.

LOCATION: These are some of my favorite summer photo locations.

This faux beach close to Portland works any time in the summer…

portland and vancouver family photography

Amazing views in The Columbia River Gorge….

mom and daughter dancing in the columbia river gorge - summer season family photos

Sun-drenched riverbanks… 

Fallen trees with the sun shining from behind…

couple laughing together with the summer season sun behind them - portland photos

I love it when everything is not SO green. The brown tones look gorgeous!

photos in the summer season - family of three embracing with the sun behind them

But this is Oregon, so plenty of spots are still green, even at the end of summer!

This flower field is still in bloom in early July…

pdx family photography

Sunflower fields in late August and early September…

Toddler boy peeking his eyes out of his overalls - portland Oregon family photography

And I mentioned the coast… Summer is the perfect time of year for a beach session…

Family of five hugging in the sunset on the beach - oregon coast family photographer
family of four standing on the beach with wind blowing - Oregon Coast Rockaway family photographer

Fall Family Photo Sessions

Okay, okay, we all know that fall is a lovely season for family photos. I understand the appeal: changing leaves, moderate temperatures, it’s just before the holidays. Sunset starts getting later so it’s great for little ones. Usually in the beginning of fall, you have a better chance for sun, but the later it gets, the more likely it is to rain. So be prepared to be flexible if we get rained out. 

TIMING: Sunset and sunrise are both possibilities in the fall! Other times of the year, sunrise is waaaaay too early, but in the fall it’s not bad at all. And for sunset, it’s not too late so it’s great for younger kids who go to bed early. The best time for color is typically mid-October through early November but it really depends on the year. This year we had color all the way through November! It was weird. 

LOCATION: So many options, so little time. I have plenty of favorite spots for fall photo sessions. But don’t worry, I’ll help you find a good one.

Natural areas where the sun shines through the trees (and even if it’s early in the season, the golden sun gives the illusion of changing leaves even when they haven’t yet)…

Long grasses with colorful trees behind…

Cuddly family in the fall in Portland Oregon
Family walking through tall grasses
Family with two young boys laughing

Big puddles of water can be found after a big rain…

Mom, dad, and toddler in front of a puddle and mountain

There is color to be found, and I’ll help you find it…

Fall season family photos - son laying in moms lap

Maybe you want to take a trip to an alpaca farm (I have exclusive access any time of the year!)

Here’s an example of a sunrise session in the fall…

A trip to a vineyard and a large, grassy field…

Family walking through tall grasses

Sweeping landscapes in The Gorge are beautiful any time of year but are especially gorgeous in the fall. Doesn’t matter if it’s sunny or not…

Family of four embracing with the columbia river gorge behind them - fall season
Family photos in portland oregon with dog

Late fall brings a great vibe, too…

family of five photographer in portland
Family cuddling and laughing on blanket
Portland fanmily of five laughing together

And when the fog rolls in, embrace it!

Family Photos in the Winter Season

Well, it’s going to be cold out. And possibly cloudy, which can be amazing! But I try to be extremely flexible this time of year because there’s usually a lot of rain, so we may need to reschedule. I don’t pack my schedule in the winter, to be sure there’s plenty of room for rescheduling. Make sure to dress extra warm with lots of layers for the kids because cold kids do not make happy kids.

TIMING: Sunset is around 4:30-5:30 so it’s good for little ones as far as bedtime goes, but it’s COLD out so if you have family members who don’t do well in cold, make sure to take that into consideration. Sunrise is usually colder than sunset so I usually stick to sunset in the winter.

LOCATION: You may want to have a few locations in mind, just in case its super windy or rainy in the gorge on the day of your session, but Canby is looking nice (or something like that). 

I love the look of the bare trees in winter…

And tall, dried out grass adds awesome texture…

family of four exploring a park in the fall season

Water locations look amazing any time of year…

winter season maternity session
Maternity photos in the winter season - mom walking with river behind her

Cloudy skies and mountains make a great backdrop…

Family of four on a cloudy day with mountains behind them - southeast portland photographer family photos

Something about winter sun is magical…

portland oregon - girl spinning in dress with the sun behind her - winter season family photography

Personally, I like every season and I think it would be a great idea to try out a new season every year!

Which season is your favorite? 

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COMMENTS Expand
  1. These pictures are GoRgeous!! So many great tips. You cover everything We need to know. I think im goinG to fly to portland just to get picS like these 🙂

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