10 Places to Photograph in (and around) Portland, OR


RMSP will be in Portland on April 16th and 17th as part of our 2016 Weekend Intensive program.

After a day or two spent learning how to improve your photography skills, there’s nothing more exciting than heading out to put those skills to the test. We thought it would be a fun idea to do a little e-scouting from Missoula and give a few suggestions of places to photograph in the area.

To scout from Missoula, we used Google Maps and Panoramio to see what other people had photographed in the area. And don’t forget that you can make any location feel completely new by going at night!

  1. Washington Park: Washington Park covers over 400 acres and offers more than 15 miles of trails, many different gardens including the Portland Japanese Garden, an amphitheater, The World Forestry Center Discovery Museum and The Oregon Holocaust Memorial.
  2. Oregon Zoo: Washington Park also houses the largest zoo in Oregon. They are involved in several Species Survival Plans, most notably California condors, Asian elephants and African lions. This is a great place to photograph these exotic animals.
  3. Lan Su Chinese Garden: Covering a full city block, this garden is filled with over 400 species of plants that are indigenous to China and structures common in Chinese gardens.
  4. Waterfront Park: Located along the Willamette River, this  park covers over 35 acres in downtown Portland. Many events are held here including fireworks, the Waterfront Blues Festival, Oregon Brewers Festival, Gay/Lesbian Pride Festival and the Bite of Oregon Festival.
  5. Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden: Crystal Springs Creek flows at the edge of these gardens that have over 2,500 rhododendrons, azaleas, and other plants. The gardens are surrounded by small lakes, paths, fountains and waterfalls.
  6. St John’s Bridge: This bridge is over 2,000 ft. long and spans the Willamette River. It has two 408 ft. towers that give it a very Gothic look.
  7. Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge: This city park and wildlife refuge is a popular place for people interested in photographing birds. It is located in a floodplain of the Willamette River and is known for attracting many different varieties of birds.
  8. Rocky Butte and James Woodhill Park: This park covers over two acres and offers stunning views of Portland and the surrounding mountain ranges. This would be a great place to go for sunset images.
  9. Forest Park: This is the largest wilderness park within city limits in the United States, covering more than 5,000 acres. More than 112 bird species and 62 mammal species live in the park and numerous hiking trails are available.
  10. Cannon Beach: Cannon Beach is just 80 miles west of Portland. You can find dramatic rock formations, beautiful beaches, rainforests, and waterfalls. Just off the beach is Haystack Rock which is probably one of the most photographed sites in Oregon.


Columbia River Highway Scenic Byway: Starting 16 miles east of Portland, in Troutdale, Oregon, this highway follows the Columbia River for 75 miles through some of the most beautiful scenery in Oregon. Keep an eye out for amazing waterfalls, historic monuments and buildings, and stunning overlooks.

Do you know of great places to photograph in Portland that we didn’t mention? We’d love to hear from you. Please leave your suggestions in the comments below.

If you do photograph in Portland, show us your favorites! Post them on our Facebook page, so we can check them out. Make sure to tag the images with “Portland.”