There are so many important decisions you’ll make when it comes to your family photos. What time of year is best? What time of day? You’ll have to coordinate your wardrobes, prep your kids (or dogs😉), etc… DON’T WORRY! First off, I have tons of resources in addition to this one that can help you with all of these things! (They’re linked at the bottom of this blog!) But right now, I want to talk about location, location, location for your family photoshoot. You can’t really go wrong with any location in the Bend area, or Central Oregon in general. It’s beyond beautiful, and the absolute perfect backdrop for your priceless family photos.
But there are lots of choices! And to pick the right one, you have to consider all the needs and wants of your specific family dynamic, and the vibe you want for your session. I’m going to cover locations that are friendliest for your littlest littles, the ones I love the most for having your pets with you, and a few that are amazing for a little more adventure! Let’s get started.
Locations closer to town for convenience are easiest when you have little ones! Sawyer Park is right off the hustle and bustle of 3rd Street, but you’d never believe you were right in the heart of the city! Sawyer is full of trees, lava rock, and the Deschutes River runs through the middle. With a location like this one, we barely have to leave the parking lot for some amazing views. This is perfect for your little ones, whose legs won’t be able to take them super far!
Shevlin Park is also dog-friendly, but I’m adding it into my kid-accessible locations because I think it’s a great place for a family outing! This park has miles and miles of trails for hiking, but hiking isn’t required for a great day with the kids! You can kick back and enjoy Tumalo Creek for an easy, laid-back family photoshoot. There’s even picnic sites to add some cute fun to your session!
Big Sky has an off-leash dog area, which makes it the perfect family photoshoot location for a bit of extra fun! Being able to let your pups run free a bit during the session can add a little excitement and fun to the day, so I always love options like Big Sky. There’s also lots of natural walking trails here for a little more exploration.
Of course, with “Good Dog” in the name, this place has to be just about the most perfect spot for a day out with the fur babies! Officially, this spot is called Rimrock Trailhead, but so many people love it as a place for their dogs that it earned its nickname! This is an out-and-back trail in the Deschutes National Forest, so you’ll get the classic Central Oregon view of the pines and the hills here. This trail is also ADA-compliant, so it really is an amazing spot for a family photoshoot!
There are a lot of amazing options you can find right off the Cascade Byway, so I wanted to highlight a few that I think are especially pretty! Little Lava Lake is about 26 miles from Bend. The clear blue water, mountains in the background, and lava rocks make this oh-so-worth it! I also really like Sparks Lake, which is near Mount Bachelor. There’s miles and miles of wetlands here, which is a really unique backdrop to have for your family session. And, I’m all about exploring and appreciating Central Oregon, which Sparks Lake is perfect for!
I cannot get over the fact that there’s actual lava sites so close to where I live! How cool is that?! There’s lakes, lava flows, rock formations, picnic sites, and more here. I think this spot is a hidden Oregon gem, and the views are seriously unmatched! Imagine witnessing the sunset over the volcano… And yes, the volcano is still active, but you’ll be perfectly safe here!😉
If you’ve done any snooping here on my website, you’ll see that I love sessions at Smith Rock! Engagements, family sessions, or just-because! This is true high-desert terrain, and I am obsessed with the vibes here. Check out a recent family session I shot here to get a feel for the area!
This is a gem nestled in the Cascade Range near Sisters, Oregon. It’s a vacation resort with golfing, biking, hiking, kayaking, and even things like stargazing!! This is the place to go for a truly unplugged, relaxed, fully-immersed-in-nature experience. If you plan a vacation weekend there, having a family photoshoot at the same time is perfect — you can document these precious memories to look back on for years to come!
You can find Tumalo Falls just a few minutes away from the trailhead, so there’s no need for intense hiking (unless you’re into that). You can get a $5 day pass to explore 4 different trails all from the same starting point. And Tumalo Falls is seriously amazing — it’s a 97-foot waterfall that flows into Tumalo Creek. What a dreamy backdrop for a family session, right?!
And there you have it! All my favorite family photoshoot locations to meet you and the fam wherever you are, for any type of adventure! I have loved every moment of living in Central Oregon, and I can’t wait to show it off to you and the family while taking your gorgeous photos! Reach out to me here to book at one of these amazing locations.
And, as promised, here’s more resources to help you prep for your family session:
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I am here for your fabulous family pictures, weddings, as well as senior portraits. I'm a photographer based in Bend, Oregon, but have been known to travel World Wide for amazing projects + puppy breath!!! Oh, and tell your dog I said, Hi!
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FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY, WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY, ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHY, SENIOR PHOTOGRAPHY. BASED IN BEND OREGON. TRAVELS WORLD WIDE FOR FABULOUS PROJECTS + PUPPY BREATH.
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