It's that time of year for family photos and portrait sessions! Whether you're pulling together photos for a holiday card, documenting couplehood, a new baby or an important milestone or just want to share updated images on your professional or personal social media accounts, here are some of the top spots for shots.

1. Dorris Ranch

Throughout the fall weekends, Dorris Ranch is a favorite of photographers and their clients. Probably one of the most popular destinations for professional photos, Dorris Ranch offers easy, no-fee parking and flat, short walks to a diversity of backdrops. There is grassy park space, autumn forests, river paths and the orchard's signature hazelnut trees in grand rows.

2. Mount Pisgah Arboretum

This regional park requires a paid parking pass. From golden meadows to leafy trails to the banks of the river, Mount Pisgah Arboretum is a very special destination. Hike the trails outside the arboretum for spectacular vistas. 

3. Northern Lights Christmas Tree Farm

This is a private farm, but Northern Lights Christmas Tree Farm traditionally opens its gates October through December for seasonal u-pick pumpkins or holiday trees. The rustic charm of the farm and its delightful decor make it a go-to photographer's delight. Other popular pumpkin patches also make great photo backdrops with their orbs of orange dotting the fields.

4. Skinner Butte Park

Bright green lawns and red and yellow leaves on the trees are a colorful backdrop for photo sessions. Parking is easy and walks are short to many different locations throughout the Skinner Butte Park area. You can also drive to the top of the butte and pose for pictures with all of downtown Eugene and the UO campus sprawled out below.

5. Alton Baker Park

From the duck pond, public art, the river backdrop and miles of manicured paths and more natural trails, Alton Baker Park makes for another lovely fall photo destination. Pose on a footbridge, down by the water or show off your active side cycling on the trails.

Other Fun Spots to Consider:

  • The Simpsons Mural in Springfield, or in front of any of the region's beautiful murals that resonates with you.
  • On top of Spencer Butte (big climb, big rewards).
  • Covered Bridges — Cottage Grove has six, and these historic landmarks make lovely backdrops.
  • Wayne Morse Family Farm — a small park with leafy trails and grassy lawns.

Quick Photo Tips:

  • If using a smartphone, try stepping closer to your subject instead of using zoom.
  • Make sure your lens is clean.
  • Take lots of shots! You can always delete later.
  • When photographing children, make a game of posing to keep them interested. Sometimes it helps to get the silly shots out of the way first.
  • If you're trying to get the whole family in the shot, don't forget your tripod.
  • Look for the light. Shadows can make a photo compelling but your family's faces shouldn't have them. 
  • Move around. Sometimes the best shots aren't posed. 
  • Consider the timing. Golden hour (just before sunset) makes everything look rich.
  • Don't forget to charge your battery before you head out to your location!