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Top Locations for Summer Photo Sessions Near Eugene, OR

So, you’ve booked your summer photo session and are wondering, but where should it take place!? Summer photo sessions offer unique choices for so many incredible location. We have an abundance of nearby waterfalls, the Oregon Coast, amazing lakes, rivers, mountains, and open meadows. To help make things easier for you, I’m sharing my top locations near Eugene, Oregon for summer sessions. I’ve broken the locations into local parks, water access, mountain views, and the Oregon Coast. With a few bonus location ideas for those up for an adventure to get the most spectacular backdrops.

Park locations for summer photos in Eugene:

  1. Hendricks Park: Known for its vibrant rhododendron garden and forested trails. This easy to access park offers lush greenery, ample shade to stay cool, and stunning blooms. Hendricks Park is also a wonderful setting for outdoor newborn sessions. It is such a short and easy walk with no shortage of beautiful scenery.
  2. Delta Ponds: Is conveniently located in the center of town and offers a wide range flat trails, wildlife sightings, and early summer blooms. Making it a fun and memorable photo session. This trail also offers a lot of shade on the trail and is an easy toddler led walk.
  3. Owen Rose Garden: This garden boasts over 4,500 roses of 400 varieties, providing and colorful and fragrant backdrop for your family photos. It sits along the river bike path. Which offers the option to go near the water for some fun candid moments observing the ducks and geese.

Park locations within 30 minutes of Eugene, Or:

  1. Dorris Ranch: Located right next to Eugene in Springfield, Or offers gravel walking paths through old filbert orchards, a Douglas-fir forest and views along the Middle Fork of the Willamette River. This is a lovely summer location option as the orchards and forested areas offer a lot of shade to help keep you and your family nice and cool.
  2. Lower Hardesty Trail: About 8 miles from Lowell, Oregon off of HWY 58, this location offers the opportunity to chill out in the shaded forest or embrace option mountain views. Although this trail can be rather long, we will not venture too far from the parking lot. So don’t be alarmed if you see the trail length and think I’m crazy for suggesting it.
  3. Elijah Bristow State Park: Near Dexter Reservoir is quickly becoming one of my favorite summer photo session locations. This gorgeous park offers a wide range of trails with numerous backdrops. From open wildflower fields with the best golden hour lighting. To forest paths down to the river for a little water play for your family. I may start influencing everyone to book summer sessions here from now on.

Locations with water access for summer photo sessions near Eugene, OR:

  1. Armitage Park: Situated along the Mckenzie River, this location provides lush riverbank views and spacious fields. Giving your family room to roam and have fun during your session. I especially love this location because the river view also offers beautiful views of the Coburg Hills, giving you a mix of river, forest and mountain views.
  2. Orchard Point Park: On the northeast shore of Fern Ridge Reservoir, featuring beaches, grassy areas, and beautiful views of sail boats on the water, make this a great spot for summer photo sessions in Eugene, OR. This would be a fun location for a summer picnic session that allows gives your family the option to cool off near the water. Plus, this open lake view provides some seriously amazing sunset views.
  3. Zumwalt Park: Situated on the northern shore of Fern Ridge Reservoir, this park provides wooded areas, meadows, and waterfront views that create a serene setting for family photo sessions. It is also very dog friendly, so it’s a great spot to consider when bringing your fur baby along to your session.
  4. Alton Baker Park: This park features scenic spots along the Willamette River, open fields, diverse foliage, making it ideal for variety in photo backdrops. Alton Baker is one of my favorite places to take my own kids to visit the birds at the duck pond and always makes for such joyful images. It is also very centrally located for those looking for easy access with a true to Eugene, Or feel.
  5. Mount Pisgah Arboretum: Surprise, surprise! Mount Pisgah is on every list of my top locations for every season. Because it is so picturesque, easy to access, and beautiful no matter the season. I especially love this location for summer photo sessions because of its wide array of native plants, wildflower meadows, and river access.

Mountain Views and Forested Locations for Summer Photo Sessions:

  1. Spencer Butte: For a more adventurous settling, let’s hike to the top of The Butte for stunning views of the valley, perfect for dramatic landscape shots. To complement your family’s love and transform your photos into striking works of art for your walls. This is a stunning spot for sunset sessions. Not up for a hike? No worries! There are beautiful forested trails and open meadows that also offer a beautiful backdrop to your summer photo session.
  2. Mary’s Peak: This is a wishlist location for me. It’s closer to Corvallis and Alsea, OR than Eugene but the views are so worth it! It’s a short walk from the parking lot to wide open meadow and breathtaking views of the Coastal Range. It’s also a great location to help beat the heat because it’s most often a bit cooler due to its higher elevation.
  3. Gillespie Butte: This is more of an urban mountain view, as Gillespie Butte offers a view of Eugene in a beautiful old oak filled park. This location is a bit of a hidden gem, but so lovely.
  4. Fitton Green: Located in Corvallis, OR and just a short hike to some amazing views make Fitton Green a top location contender for summer photo sessions. Going into higher elevations in the summer also typically means cooler temperatures.
  5. Horse Rock Ridge: Located in Shotgun Creek, about 45 minutes from Eugene, Horse Rock Ridge is a favorite of mine because of it’s short hike through a forested trail and opens up to an awe-inspiring peak that is sure to amplify any portrait session.

Oregon Coast Summer Photo Session locations:

  1. Sunset Bay State Park: This mellow beach is located in Coos Bay. It is a beautiful cove that helps block the wind and is great for smaller kids that you may not want to carry too far. But its name does not fail it, because the sunsets are incredible!
  2. Heceta Head Lighthouse: We Eugeneian’s are so lucky to have such a beautiful coastline within a short drive from us. I love Heceta Head for photo sessions any time of year. But I especially love Oregon Coast photo sessions during the summer because the temperature is typically much cooler than in the valley. This beach is easy to get to and offers beautiful cliffy ocean backdrops. As well as a charming old lighthouse that is just a short half mile forested hike. FUN FACT! Heceta Head Lighthouse is the most photographed lighthouse in America.
  3. Neptune Beach: This is my favorite beach on the Oregon Coast. So shhh, keep it between us! 😉 It’s just a few miles south of Yachats, OR and a short walk down to a small cove that is almost always empty. The beach is hugged by rocky tide pools and amazing sunset views.

Summer Adventurous Photo Session Locations Worth a Drive:

Let’s go chasing waterfalls!!

  1. Sweet Creek Falls: This location is just begging for summer family photos to take place. Approximately 45 miles from Eugene, near Mapleton, Sweet Creek Falls features a series of beautiful cascades and lush greenery. Perfect for an intimate family maternity session where you can show some skin and take a dip to cool down in your photos.
  2. Salt Creek Falls: About 55 miles east of Eugene, a little past Oakridge, Salt Creek Falls is the second highest waterfall in Oregon. The stunning 286-foot waterfalls and surrounded old-growth forest make for an impressive and adventurous photo setting.
  3. Proxy Falls: Located 60 miles from Eugene in the Three Sisters Wilderness, Proxy Falls is a spectacular waterfall surrounded by lush forest. It offers a dramatic and adventurous setting for family photo sessions.
  4. Spirit Falls: This 0.6 out-and-back trail is located near Dorena, OR is a rugged drive but well-worth the trip. This location is best during early summer, as it is known to dry out later into the season.

Ready for your summer photo session near Eugene, Oregon?

I hope my top locations for summer photo sessions as a Eugene, Oregon based photographer were helpful. I’m so excited to hear which location you’d like to have your summer photo session at! Regardless of the location, your family session will be fun-filled and result in gorgeous images to capture your forever memories and display works of art on your walls. I am here to help you from location planning, outfit selections, and creating a one-of-a-kind photo session experience. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions you may have.

If you’ve stumbled upon this article and have not booked your photo session with me yet, you can do so by filling out my contact form.

Be sure to check out these related posts for even more helpful information for planning your photo session:

Prepare for Oregon Coast Family Photos

Family Maternity Session at Spencer Butte

Personalized Family Photography

Prepare for Stress-Free Family Photos

Top Locations for Spring Photo Sessions Near Eugene, Oregon

Eugene Oregon Photographer, Family, Family Session


Top Locations for Summer Photo Sessions Near Eugene, OR

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