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..

Guitar and sun set

Meditative Photography for Women

There is so much beauty that passes by us daily, or rather that we pass it by, and I would like to bring that awareness back and make a daily practice of it by teaching Meditative Photography for Women.

Spider web on a blue sail canvas

You might think that making photos and practicing meditation might be unrelated since the photography is an external act and meditation leads inward.Let’s explore this. Teachers of meditation say to focus on your breath during mediation and bring your “monkey mind” back to center with the breath.Compelling photography is generally not a product of a hurried existence. It is born through a process that runs through our senses.I see the true value of photography in its simplicity, seeing what is beautiful because it is without blame or judgment: a chipped pot, peeling paint, a broken down car or discarded mattress with bulging springs.

“I like and relish the aesthetic challenge posed by the limitations of the ordinary…. It is easier for me to take ten good pictures in an airplane bathroom than in the gardens at Versailles.”  — Sally Mann

Boat in a sea of grass

Once we really get the message about what simply is ,via our eyes to our hearts, it will perhaps be easier to cope with life and its imperfections. Think about it. If we find a broken car in a field beautiful,or a dilapidated fence with a wild vine worthy of scouting and exploring, why not look at our lives through that “lens” as well? Perhaps in that way, it will be easier to take life’s journey and ride out the waves of challenges that are always waiting to confront us.I have always felt like real photography, the real art of it, is simple and directly outside of our own door. It is found on our bed sheets when the morning light falls upon on them, on our daily walks, while we cut an onion for a meal with a steely knife that catches light as it contacts a wooden cutting board.  If one gets that, if one is moved by that, then one will excel with technology in a fancy studio.

Yellow bus in a sea of tulips

When I started out, I was dutiful in seeking photography projects to sate my curiosity of the outdoors, the light, of people, and of objects. I made photos of boats in a Seattle marina, of homelessness around Seattle, and images of dried twigs peeking through the snow.

Paddle on a red wooden boat

I still remember the curiosity I felt and had to document. I remember how deliberate I was with the process and how much passion I put into it, getting up early, and being excited about checking in with the world. Looking back, I call it my active meditation when I knew nothing nor wanted to know about meditation (oh the irony!). These were moments of pure perception, appreciation, connection between myself and everything external to me. That was truly a beautiful time and resulted in images that I still treasure. All those images were created in the immediate vicinity of where I lived and worked as a waitress.

Autumn leaf with a hole in it

Here are some images created over the years. They are simple. They brought me joy. They taught me about perseverance, being meticulous, being patient, trying again, and coming back to the same place, or subject, over and over. They belong to the formative years of my career as a portrait photographer. I have always valued that time with the camera, sometimes long hours chasing what made me stop, explore, ponder and finally push the button. It was meditative photography that moved me away from the fascination with the extraordinary and lead me back to a rediscovery of the ordinary.

Coffee cup on the table in a cafe

I am returning to it, with the intent of teaching meditative photography to women who wish to become more attuned to the world around them – and take the time to see it. I wish photography will become a counterpoint to hectic lives, a time when what matters is a woman’s perception of the world- how they see it and how they capture it. It is a powerful feeling to make a photograph that stems from within, from your very own heart.

Eventually, it becomes a way of life.

Paddle resting on a boat

“To take photographs,” wrote Henri Cartier-Bresson, “is to hold one’s breath when all faculties converge in the face of fleeing reality. …  It is putting one’s head, one’s eyes and one’s heart on the same axis. … “

Broken car window and steering wheel

Art is opening ourselves to possibility.

Let’s explore your potential and your feelings through the lens of meditative photography.

Toppled vase with flowers on a garden table


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.

Film Stills

Jasin Boland, Motion Picture Still Photographer in Seattle! Seattle, WA

Jasin Boland is the one who photographed the poster images for The Matrix, Bourne Supremacy, and Mission Impossible. I was part of the workshop where he talked about his fascinating life as a movie Still Photographer. He is a true inspiration to photographers. He is charismatic, humble, funny and ready to share his photography knowledge with those who are curious. I told him he was an inspiration. He said: “Thank you, but I have ways to go.” His answer amused me and impressed me. Here are several photos from the all day workshop with Jasin Boland. It was interesting to see him as a teacher, friend to others and just a pleasant guy to be around.

Workshop was hosted by Black Rapid Inc. in Seattle.

 Please, check the main website for my family work:

Flowers on Boat

Finding a visual story within the ordinary. Photography coaching sessions, Seattle, WA

Another photography coaching session this morning with a soon to be art student (with emphasis on photography in her school program). The objective was to find a visual story within an ordinary setting, with an emphasis on deliberate composition. We photographed together for 30 min and then shared the images and discussed them over coffee. A great morning at work!


 “Being intentional, coming up with a story beforehand helps me not to waste time, think about what I want to say visually, struggled with that before, photos come easier when you know what you’re looking for before you make an image.”

Kendall, an 18 year old art student, regarding what she gained from photography coaching sessions with me.


Seattle Children Photography

Elements of a “strong image”.

Through the most part of my work process, I am a natural light photographer. I use available light ( light that is present at the moment) to photograph. There are 3 key elements that I always strive to put together in order to make an image that works.

Strong image has to convey a story ( happy, moving or a funny one), be locked in a tight composition ( mostly triangle like or guided by the rules of thirds for example) and lastly be well exposed, so the story is well “painted with light” ( from Greek the word ‘photography’ is intended to give the meaning of ‘painting with light’). When these 3 elements live and work well together within the image, I consider it a strong one. Below, a simplified diagram and a photograph that illustrates my words:

Seattle family photos

What is Art? What makes good Art?

Art lacks satisfactory definition. Easier to feel it then to “define it”. I have asked few people I know and admire:  What is Art?  What is good Art?  If I have gotten any answers at all, this is what I got so far. Quotes below.

Art lacks satisfactory definition. Easier to feel it then to “define it”. I looked through books, publications and asked few people I know and admire: What is Art? What is good Art? If I have gotten any answers at all, this is what I got so far:

“To me, the fundamental function of all creative work – no matter what kind- is communication. Art is a way of rendering humanity into something that can be shared, taken in, considered and maybe even understood. It is a vessel of human connection”.

Leah Baltus / Editor in Chief of City Arts Magazine,  a monthly publication for Seattle,  that covers art, music, film, and everything creative in the Puget Sound region/

“What makes good art? “Good” is subjective of course, however my eyes delight an unexpected line, texture, juxtaposition of balance and unbalance. Just as the delight of a hummingbird startles me so does the art that I appreciate.”

Debra /business woman and an artist/


“These are  questions with no certain answers, since the answers are subjective. Tho many have tried, there just ain’t no Bible out there on this to tell us the truth! So, we can all just say with confidence, the truth of our opinions, for ourselves only.
So here is my truth:
Pretty much anything created is art. Doesn’t even have to be created by humans. I’ve seen some amazing paintings by elephants and cats. The urinal piece by DuChamp was exhibited as art and is still considered to be art, for it challenged and expanded the contemporary definitions of art at the time. Conceptual art that may not have a physical reality is art. How I plan and plant my garden is art.
What makes good art, now here is where I get really opinionated. Good art must have an affect on people- arousing appreciation for it’s beauty, stimulating an emotion or idea, spurring a call to action, or creating a feeling of transcendence where one has become more aware or appreciative than one was before the encounter with the art.
Good art must satisfy aesthetically- it must have form and content that “works”. Now that is elusive when one tries to identify what “works”. It’s just a thumbs up or down opinion, and frankly, I do think an arts education can better qualify people to make those judgments. The composition must have balance, harmony and tension. So must the content, or no one will be interested in it. Then it might still be art, just not good!
so there is a start on an answer to the question”.

Nancy /painter/

“Well, I have a bit of a problem with “I do think an arts education can better qualify people to make those judgments…” I’ve been through many great museums, the National and Phillips in DC, MOMA and the Met in NYC, the Louvre, etc. Often one sees the “everyday Joe’s” in attendance staring in wonder at the art. I must believe that it’s alright for Joe to say, “That’s just beautiful, great…I can’t tell you why, but I love it.” Art, in my view, should never be egalitarian or academic. It is there, with a bit of luck, for all, even as just a respite. My view, anyway.”

Steve /writer and a political analyst/


“When is it art? When it touches me.”

Judy /designer, drawing instructor/


“That is a rich question that deserves an ongoing discussion. The nuances of our unique individuality, personality and creative insights determine our appreciation of art over other art.
Some of the work I see is not art to me at all… . However to another it is.”

David / fine art photographer and illustrator/


“What makes good art? Oh my, that’s a helluva question. Critics, academics, artists and lay persons all have different views. One looks at Andy Warhol’s soup can and wonders; another sees the innovation, another sees the innovation and the first layer of symbolism. How do we know that Warhol wasn’t just doing an exercise to improve his skills? Many think that old painting of dogs playing poker is good art. Perhaps it is for them as it evokes some sort of emotion or response. Or, maybe they just “like” it.
Of all the paintings I’ve seen, Renoir’s “Luncheon of the Boating Party” is my favorite. Every time I see it, I see something new, sometimes even evocative. I’ve looked at “Across the Sky” many times: It changes each time I see it. It is not ours to say for anyone what art is, but only for ourselves”.

Peter /writer/


“In my opinion, people can intuitively recognize the difference between something lacking any artistic content and something possessing it, even if they cannot explain why.  Distinguishing between good art and bad art, in my view, is much harder.”

James /full time Father/


And famous words by Edgar Degas sum it all well. At least for now…

“Art is not what you see but what you make others see”.

Edgar Degas

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