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Five Top Spots to Take Fall Family Photos

Published: September 29, 2021


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

Woman walks through a hazelnut orchard.

Throughout the fall weekends, Dorris Ranch is a hub 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. Here there is grassy park space, natural woodscapes, autumn forests, river paths and the orchard's signature hazelnut trees in grand rows.

2. Mount Pisgah Arboretum

Mount Pisgah by Melanie Griffin

This Lane County park requires a paid parking pass and the walks to photo spots are a little more lengthy but just as beautiful. From golden meadows to leafy trails to the banks of the river, the Mount Pisgah Arboretum is a very special destination. Hike the trails outside the arboretum for spectacular vistas. 

3. Northern Lights Christmas Tree Farm

Northern Lights Christmas Tree Farm Pumpkin Patch by Taj Morgan

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

4. Skinner Butte Park

Couple stands side-by-side holding a pair of baby shoes between them with fall foliage in the background

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

Person in flannel shirt stands in front of a sun-soaked footbridge among fall foliage.

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

Fun Spots You Might Not Have Thought of:

Quick Photo Tips:

  • If using a smartphone, don't use zoom, step closer to your subject.
  • Make sure your lens is clean.
  • Take lots of shots! You can always delete later.
  • When shooting 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!
Author: Melanie Ryan Griffin

Melanie is a University of Oregon graduate who studied Cultural Anthropology and Cinema. After finishing school, she worked as a touring concert photographer for many years before expanding into writing concert and album reviews for online publications. Melanie is now the Art Director for Travel Lane County. She has lived in Eugene for more than a decade and spends nearly every weekend searching for new favorite places in the county. She has also lived in California, New Mexico, Florida, Spain and Slovakia but loves Oregon the most.

Melanie enjoys exploring the vibrant arts and culture scene in Eugene.  She also loves painting, cooking for friends, dancing, hiking and learning new things.