Seattle Skyline

Inspiring Places to Photograph in Seattle

I was recently interviewed by Redfin and asked about my favorite “photography spot” in Seattle.   

Without hesitation I said:  Seattle’s Kerry Park

Why? Kerry Park is probably the most picturesque location in all of Seattle.  Having a combination of the Space Needle, skyline, Mt. Rainer and Puget Sound as its backdrop, you are guaranteed to come away with amazing photos of the family, a proposal moment, wedding party photos or whatever your photo project entails.  For favorite spots of many seasoned Seattle Photographers, refer to the article below that originally appeared on Redfin and is posted here with the author’s permission. 

Regarded as “The Emerald City,” Seattle, WA, is known for its outdoor scenery, coffee culture, and delicious seafood. Whether you’re a local renting a house in Ballard, a tourist for the weekend, or you’re moving to the area and just want to know what it’s like to live in Seattle, we reached out to local photographers to share their favorite places to take pictures that are uniquely Seattle. From Discovery Park to Pier 62, keep reading to see what they had to say.

19 Unique places to take pictures in Seattle

The many beaches of Seattle 

A city surrounded by water, Seattle has a lot of shorelines to explore – each providing stunning water and mountain views and rocky beaches. Some notable beaches include Alki Beach, Golden Gardens Park, Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park, Madison Park Beach, and Myrtle Edwards Park. 

Bibiana Ruiz Photography shares, “No matter what time of year you’re going to take your photos, Seattle’s beaches are the best place to achieve the PNW look. From Alki Beach to Marina Beach in Edmonds, you can find rocky beaches, mountain views, and cloudy skies – PNW ingredients for beauty.”

Gas Works Park

The site of the former Seattle Gas Light Company gasification plant, Gas Works Park is a 19.1-acre park located across the lake from Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood. This is a great park to relax and take pictures because of its beautiful views of Lake Union and the Seattle skyline. During the summer, you can see many kayakers, paddleboarders, and boaters enjoying the festivities on the water.

Erick Ramirez Photography raves, “Gas Works Park is a favorite of mine to not only take photos, but to take in the city and people watch. During sunset, the city begins to light up and is perfect when it gets closer to blue hour. It has a great vibe with all the people enjoying their time and the easy access to restaurants around the park.”

Volunteer Park Conservatory 

Volunteer Park Conservatory is a large greenhouse modeled after London’s Crystal Palace. It is considered a historic landmark. The conservatory lives on Volunteer Park which features botanical gardens, trailways, and play fields that you can explore while taking pictures. 

“My favorite photography spot would be the Volunteer Park Conservatory,” notes Victoria Redko Photography. “There are multiple locations that look amazing for wedding photography. The flowers in the spring and summer are beautiful. You also have a mix of everything, from greenery and trees to the beautiful indoor conservatory filled with cactuses and unique plants.”

Pier 62

Pier 62 is a one-acre waterfront public space next to the Seattle Aquarium. The area is designed for a wide range of recreational, cultural, and educational activities, from yoga to farmers’ markets to festivals. 

“One of my favorite photo spots in the city is Pier 62 just next door to the Seattle Aquarium,” shares Amanda Lloyd of Lloyd Photo and Films. “It recently reopened after renovations and is a beautiful pier that features views of the skyline, a dock you can now walk down to, the Ferris wheel, and the water. We love catching the ferry and the amazing sunsets.”

Cory Parris Photography adds, “One place that might not seem obvious is Pier 62. It is an empty pier that is open to the public that has beautiful views of the waterfront, the sound, and the city. It is enjoyable to photograph people there around sunset.” 

Kubota Garden 

Located in the Rainier Beach neighborhood of Seattle, Kubota Garden is a 20-acre Japanese garden maintained by the Seattle Parks and Recreation and the Kubota Garden Foundation.

Courtney Martin Photography notes that “Kubota Garden has to be one of the most peaceful areas in Seattle. Not only is this a perfect park for photography of all kinds, but it’s also wonderful for an afternoon stroll, reading a book, or taking a picnic. It has many animals to observe and photograph, especially in the spring, like rabbits, ducks, koi fish, and many types of birds.” 

Harbor Ave Vista Point 

“My absolute best spot for stunning images of Seattle is Harbor Ave Vista Point in West Seattle at the blue hour, where the Seattle skyline is spectacular,” notes Folrev Photo.

Harbor Ave Vista Point is a lookout point with sweeping views of the Seattle skyline. It is located in the north end of the West Seattle neighborhood.

Colman Park and Mount Baker Park 

Colman Park and Mount Baker Park are adjacent parks that feature picnicking areas, large grass fields, natural areas, trails, and beaches. 

Dani Weiss Photography reveals that two of her favorite locations are in Rainier Valley. 

She says: “Colman Park has terrific lake views and wonderful options for variety with a nice lawn and beautiful willow tree. Another spot close to there is Mount Baker Park with loads of greenery and was designed by the Olmsted Brothers.”

Discovery Park

“Discovery Park in Seattle has a dreamy landscape with so much to offer,” boasts Briana Calderon Photography. “With trails that view the Puget Sound, wildflowers that dot the fields in spring and summer, and a sweet little lighthouse on the water, this has become my favorite spot in Seattle to photograph.”

Discovery Park is the largest city park in Seattle, spanning 534 acres. The park offers stunning views of the Cascade and Olympic Mountain ranges, meadowlands, and beaches. A beautiful lighthouse, known as the West Point Lighthouse, also lives in the park and marks the northern end of Elliott Bay.

Maria Alcantara Photography notes, “Discovery Park in Magnolia is a wonderful spot to catch a Summer sunset and take memorable photos. The golden hour light here is incredible due to its expansive, unobstructed view of Puget Sound. Walk towards the sun on a clear day and catch the views of the Olympic Mountain ranges, plus a peek of Mount Rainier. When the sun sets on the bluff meadow area, everything turns golden making for a completely nostalgic experience.” 

Loc Le Films adds, “The sunset over the water behind the Olympics creates spectacular golden hour lightning, plus the open grass field will make this place unique for engagement, weddings, family, and maternity.” 

In fact, with so many areas to explore, it’s easy to spend an entire day in Discovery Park. Some notable areas include the visitor center, Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center, North beach, and South beach. 

Breanna + Kevin says, “There are hundreds of acres to explore, and each time we are there we find a new spot to shoot. From golden grass fields to views of the sound, even a sandy beach – there are beautiful backdrops everywhere you look.” Dream Catcher Pictures adds. “It’s massive, so it never feels crowded, it’s got everything in one park – trees and trails, tall grass, open meadows, a bluff overlooking the water, and a gorgeous lighthouse. The view from the beach is breathtaking when you visit on a sunny day.” 

“It is a universal location if you want a little bit of everything the Pacific Northwest has to offer,” raves Jahni Lynn Photo. “You walk through trails of the forest and fields down to the beach and lighthouse at the bottom, and if you get lucky, you can see the mountain on a clear day.” 

Perhaps the best thing about Discovery Park is its vicinity to Downtown Seattle. It only takes about 30 minutes by car to get there from downtown making it a quick local trip. 

“My favorite photography location near Seattle’s vicinity is Discovery Park,” notes NWLifeshots Portrait Photography. “If you are looking for a photography spot with beautiful postcard scenery, huge open meadows, miles of trails, a secluded beach, mountain views, and a lighthouse, Discovery Park provides it all.”

Seward Park 

With 300 acres of land, Seward Park is home to lush greenery, bike and walking paths, and an amphitheater. On a clear day, you can see Mount Rainier from a distance.

“My favorite ‘secret’ spot for a traditional Northwest outdoor scene is Seward Park in South Seattle,” shares Jennifer Loomis Photography. “Here you get it all  — beautiful views of Mount Rainier when it is clear, the traditional feel of the old-growth Northwest forest, and a gorgeous beach on the north end of the park.”

Occidental Square Park

Located in the heart of the Pioneer Square district, Occidental Square Park provides goers with numerous recreational activities, beautiful London Plane trees, and small shops and businesses. It is a great place to capture people reading, relaxing, or grabbing a bite to eat.

“My favorite spot to take photographs in Seattle would probably be Occidental Square. There’s so much urban variety within a few blocks of this location. Old buildings, tall, arching trees, chairs and tables, many symmetrical elements to play with, and even the Seahawks and Mariners stadiums for a backdrop,” raves Travis Lawton Photography.

Kerry Park

A Seattle gem in the Queen Anne neighborhood, Kerry Park provides a stunning viewpoint of Downtown Seattle and the Puget Sound. On a clear day, you can see Mount Rainier in the distance and ferry boats crossing the Puget Sound.

“I have been photographing in Seattle for many years, and Kerry Park comes to mind,” says Anita Nowacka. “I am often drawn to the iconic landmark famous for its classic view of Seattle. The spot offers timeless elements of the Pacific Northwest: Elliott Bay, the Space Needle, the city, Mt. Rainier, the Cascade Mountains, and ferry boats gliding in the distance.” 

HSB Visualz shares that Kerry Park is his favorite photography spot in Seattle because it captures the heart of downtown Seattle. “The pockets of greenery create a calming effect and the buildings lit up at night elicit a feeling of togetherness. By encapsulating the ambiance of Seattle, Kerry Park is a spectacular place for residents and tourists to socialize and enjoy a captivating view.” 

Washington Park Arboretum 

Washington Park Arboretum is located in Washington Park and is jointly managed by the Seattle Parks and Recreation and the Arboretum Foundation. There are many activities to do here like birding, biking, or exploring one of the many gardens like Azalea Way, Pacific Connections Garden, Joseph A. Witt Winter Garden, and the Japanese Garden. 

One of Ashley Thompson’s favorite spots in Seattle is the Washington Park Arboretum, starting near the Graham Visitor’s Center. She notes, “It’s always in bloom with seasonal flora, so the backdrop for your portraits will be gorgeous and varied year-round. In a one-hour session, you can find secluded fern-covered corners, open fields, tree-lined paths, artistic bridges, and romantic benches overlooking quaint and quiet ponds to pose and interact for family, engagement, maternity, or senior portraits.” 

“You have so many options in this park such as a bridge, garden area, beach, and trails,” says Alicen Lum Photography. “Each season has its own unique look for a beautiful background. There’s even a Japanese garden for more photo opportunities.”

Red Poppy Photography adds, “One of my favorite locations for family sessions is the Washington Park Arboretum. This beautiful park offers endless trails, small ponds, and lots of trees that provide plenty of shade. It’s especially beautiful when the Cherry trees are blooming.”

She also shares a pro tip: “Get there early in the day to beat the crowds (and to find parking easily) and enjoy the many trails and hideaway spots this location has to offer.” 

Jack Block Park

Jack Block Park is a 15-acre park located in the West Seattle neighborhood. There is a public beach, walking pier, observation tower, and children’s play area. 

“One of my favorite photography spots is Jack Block Park. This is a Port of Seattle park, just around the bend from the popular Alki Beach Park, which makes it less crowded. It features a variety of options for photo backdrops: a giant grassy hill, native plants and trees, a beach area, and cool viewpoint area to view the Seattle Skyline,” reveals Native Light Photo.

Memorial Way at the University of Washington Seattle Campus 

Memorial Way, located at the University of Washington Seattle Campus, features sycamore trees, stone pylons, and memorial plaques. At its entrance is a large “W,” the logo of the University of Washington. 

“Memorial Way on the UW campus works wonders at all times of the year,” reveals Quinn Russell Brown. “Stand your model on the sidewalk under the London Plane sycamore trees, and the sun will trickle through with soft and even light. For an alternate backdrop, move to the grass nearby. I’ve shot in this location on hot summer days with bright sun and overcast days with light rain.” 

Local rooftops 

If you are looking to take some photos for fun, there are many local rooftops that you can check out that have beautiful views of the Seattle skyline and its surrounding nature.

“If you’re a city enthusiast or just trying to catch the last bits of light of a beautiful summer day, check out the local rooftops of your area. Think parking structures, bars, or social clubs. You’ll get an incredible scenic view of your surroundings (and if you’re lucky, the iconic Seattle skyline) and usually be able to avoid people you might encounter in more popular places,” says Chelsea Abril.

Places to take pictures around the Seattle area

Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest

Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest is a natural forest located along the western side of the Cascade Mountain range. Here you can find many breathtaking hikes such as Bridal Veil Falls, Lake Serene, Hidden Lake Lookout, Goat Lake, and Park Butte. Each hike provides different and unique things to capture, like lakes, mountains, and glacier views. 

“Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest is one of my favorite places to photograph couples and one of the most popular places to get married in Washington. This park offers beautiful backdrops for engagement photos, elopements, and weddings. Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest is one of the closest options to Seattle to get epic mountain views, lakes, rivers, and forests,” reveals Rachel Syrisko, Elopement & Wedding Photographer of Rachel Syrisko Photography.

Rattlesnake Lake

A popular trail for walking or running, Rattlesnake Lake leads hikers along the edge of the lake for some scenic views. 

“For a few years in a row, we made a sunrise trek to Rattlesnake Lake for the beautiful soft morning light, that glorious mountain in the background, and relative privacy,” shares Amy Paine. “When the water is low, we head left on the main path and find some rock steps that lead to a small area perfect for photo sessions out of the way from the main visiting area.”

Franklin Falls

“Franklin Falls is a well-known trail out past Issaquah going into the Cascade Mountains,” notes Andrea Michelle Photography. “During spring, summer, and fall, Franklin Falls can be accessed for a magical picnic or fun hike with the family, including the four-legged ones.”

Located in the Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest in the Snoqualmie area, Franklin Falls is a 2-mile out-and-back hike that leads to a stunning waterfall, which freezes over in the winter.

Crystal Mountain

Crystal Mountain is an alpine ski resort located in the Cascade Mountain range. There are many things to check out at Crystal Mountain including skiing, dining, mountain biking, and some breathtaking views 

“One of my favorite spots for photos in the Seattle area is Crystal Mountain. Not only do you get to take a gondola up to the lookout but on a clear day you can see Mt. Rainier up close and personal. It’s a must-see for locals & tourists alike,” raves Greenhouse Photo + Co..

Top Family Photographers

Best Family Photographers in Seattle. I am proud to be one!

Recently I was chosen as one of the top twenty family photographers in Seattle by Expertise, a company which ranks service based businesses and connects them to their community in cities across the USA.

Expertise creates lists of the best local professionals to give customers the confidence they need to make the best choices in hiring a professionals, from attorneys to plumbers.

Expertise uses the following criteria to make their selections:

A history of delighted customers as a signal of outstanding service.

Building customer confidence with licensing, industry accreditations, and awards.

Masters of their craft, based on years of practical experience and education.

Consistently approachable and responsive, so customers never feel ignored.

Providing customers a seamless experience both online and off.

Once the businesses are ranked, Expertise reviews the highest scoring results to ensure that they can, quote, “proudly stand” behind each selection. All of the relevant contact information is then gathered, and detailed descriptions are written to give their readers a clear overview of each business.

Expertise looked at 165 family photographers in Seattle and chose the top twenty. Needless to say, I was thrilled to be included among them!

There is enormous competition in the field of photography. Seattle portrait photographers and family photographers have to work very hard to be seen, recognized, and contacted by potential clients for family, senior, graduation, and business portraits, or special events occasions.

Aside from artistic excellence, commitment to our craft, and outstanding customer service, success involves many hours of marketing, networking, building a diversified online presence, and staying active on social media.

The daily aspects of business are tougher for creatives who love their craft and enjoy connecting with people in order to create portraits of them. So, it feels incredibly rewarding when all the effort that goes into owning your own business as a visual artist is recognized.

Such recognition motivates me to embrace the next busy season of Seattle Family photography and keep doing what I love best-creating portraits of Seattle’s families.  Here is the link to check out best family photographers in Seattle:

Best Seattle Family Photographers

Lifestyle photography

Pondering the path taken. By a Seattle Photographer

Sometimes we don’t know where we are going until we get there.

Before I opened my business as a Seattle portrait photographer, I was a waitress attending photography classes.  I remember having a hunger to capture everything around me.  It could be the light coming through a crystal vase, clothes pins on a line, a single bird on a branch, a shiny door knob, a textured sand dune, or discarded objects.

This phase of my life seemed carefree and frivolous. Sometimes I would take pictures by myself, sometimes with a friend who shared the same visual hunger.  We would get up early to witness different light, take road trips, drive to diverse neighborhoods, and later share our work with others at cafes around town.

Though I didn’t know it then, this was an important phase in my career. I was diligently training myself, my senses, and my intuition. I began to understand light, and how to tune in to those visual details that are critical to composition.

All the knowledge I acquired lives in my work now.  Those elements now easily fall into place, almost of their own accord, and harmoniously exist in the portraits I create of individuals and families.

The exploratory phase of my life is not as intense any more, since I run a thriving photography business which requires a deep level of commitment. However, I am forever grateful for having a curious eye, and for learning how to observe, ponder, and marvel at everything that is out there in the world.

Family photography

The importance of framing your family photos. Seattle family and portrait photographer

A while ago when I was doing an online search about displaying and framing family photos, I found this comment by Michelle:

“I’m Brazilian and everybody here has family pics in the living room. My mom have lots of pics of me and my sister as toddlers, playing house, drinking tea, dressed up at holidays, playing in the street with neighbor kids, although I didn’t appreciate as adolescent. Despite that, I loved to visit my grandmother’s sisters and see pics of my mother’s cousins as kids playing, and that classical black and white boards of them as babies laughing, crying, making faces… “

As a creative with a visual orientation, I agree!  I think that a tasteful display of family photos creates a warm, cozy atmosphere, which turns a house into home. Most of all, it can create a sense of closeness when individuals are reminded of the continuity, love, and pride within their families.

I create powerful images of families at each photo session. Some feature single children, others, siblings, or children with their parents. My work supports the findings of psychological studies, which suggest that it is helpful for children’s development to see themselves as an important and cherished part of the family unit.

Recently, I photographed a Seattle family outdoors, on Alki Beach and in the rain. They requested their session revolve around their brand new Mini Cooper.  Although we had gotten all the photos needed to complete the project, I asked for one more take before we parted.  I took a photo of them as a team, bent over the open car hood, fixing a component of the engine.

When I presented the proofs, the entire family quickly decided that that particular photo would become the centerpiece of their living room.  For high visibility they chose to display it over fireplace, where they often gather together. The final photo was printed in a large framed gallery format with museum- quality glass, ensuring the highest standard in the visual presentation. As the family sits in front of the fire the image of their unique bond reinforces their closeness.

Don’t hesitate to frame and display your family photos as a reminder of the love you have for each other and the special moments you have shared. They will bring joy into your life each day!  Anita (Seattle Family Photographer)

Baby Photographer

Thoughts on bringing your dog to a family photo session. By Seattle Family Photographer

As a Seattle Family Photographer, I often receive client enquiries about family photo sessions.  It is not uncommon to get a question from a client asking if they might bring their dog or dogs to the session.  This is qualified by the assurance the pets are well behaved have been with the family since the kids were born. I always smile while reading pet owners’ enquires or listening to them on the phone when they say: “It would be great to get couple of pictures with them…”

I am not only open to the idea of pets participating in my family photo sessions, but I very much welcome it!

The presence of pets creates a fantastic opening when we start photographing. The smiles and tenderness on all faces is real from the start, and doesn’t need to be induced by me saying encouraging words like: “Hey now, smile for me.”

Dogs create an instantaneous emotional bridge between all of us within seconds of getting out of the car. Over the years, I photographed kids with their pets, adults with their beloved new puppies, and old dogs who have been in the family for many years and have little time left on earth.

I have photographed little, medium, and big dogs, which have been scruffy or fluffy, black as a coal, white as a snow, tawny as caramel, and yellow as autumnal fields. Some of them had fancy leashes and collars on, beautiful name tags, winter jackets, reindeer antlers, little hats and occasionally wore sun glasses. Different fashions for each but all had one thing in common: they came with their family members to be photographed as part of the family legacy.

Dogs love to participate in our sessions and give their best whatever happens: they sit, run, tilt their heads when their name is called, lick faces and make everyone all laugh. Afterward, when I see my clients’ pet photos posted on Facebook I have to smile. And then, years later, when I see same photos reposted on Facebook tears will fall from my eyes because they are usually accompanied by touching eulogies.

I recently came across such an example when my one of my clients posted:  “Our boy, Buddy crossed the Rainbow Bridge yesterday morning.  Who ever thought a little 12 pound ball of fluff could fill one’s heart with so much love? I love you, Buddy. You will never be forgotten.”

Great dogs like Buddy, Chester, Shasta, Jewel, and Simon are gone now. But their photos remain, bringing back beautiful memories.

By all means bring your beloved dogs (or any other pets) to Family Photo Sessions and we will create images that you will treasure for the rest of your life.

Seattle family photography

Repeat clients. By Seattle Family Photographer

I love my repeat clients.  What a cool thing it is to get to see their kids grow and change every season.  As a Seattle Family photographer, I have photographed this family multiple times now.  Images for repeat clients are made with recognition, trust, familiarity, peace of mind and already established connection.  Thanks for another wonderful session you all!  Always enjoy your attire selection and I have told you so…

Mother’s Day fine art gift from siblings, Seattle, WA

Mother’s Day is approaching. Three siblings commissioned me for a portrait.  They will choose the best out of many proofs presented. We will make a large print of it (perhaps 30×40 in size) and frame it gallery style. The framed portrait will be gifted to their mother on Mother’s Day. Amazing project and very touching to be working with such thoughtful young people.

Seattle Family Photographer and Creative Children

As a Seattle family photographer I often create visual sketches for my future work with children and families.  This sketch recorded on an iPhone video (link below) happened unexpectedly when I had two visitors while enjoying practicing playing my drum on the beach.  That moment gave me an idea to create few portraits of children playing the drum:

Seattle Family Photographer and creative children

Spontaneous Family Portraits, Seattle, WA

Family photography is what I love to do and it happens to be my work!  I am a photographer specializing in spontaneous family portraits.  Photographing children and parents involves both the predictable and the unknown.  My objective in every photo session is to create images that display spontaneity while also expressing the beauty and temperament of the subject. I am not people-shy. I am agile, involved, and active throughout the session.  I focus on the unexpected, humorous, or touching moments that arise during a session.  This spontaneity naturally occurs but can also be instigated through direction by me, the photographer.  Thus I call my style “directed photojournalism”- a balance between the carefree and the guided, with attention to composition and the uniqueness of each subject. All sessions take place under natural light.

Anita's Blog