UPDATED 9/2022 to add more locations and updated photos to show favorite spots!
Locations can be a part of your portrait story, not just a pretty backdrop. I like to give you the option to choose where we have your portrait session for a few reasons:
- You’re comfortable where you are and it shows in your photographs.
- You recall and create meaningful memories with each person in your family in a space that you’ve been to before.
- You know where things are, how to get there, and what to do!
But if you don’t have a preference on a location and you’d rather I decide or if you’re from out of town, I’ve compiled a brief list of locations around Tacoma with photos and descriptions to help you decide where you want to tell your story. Keep in mind that we are not limited to these locations! I’m willing and able to shoot anywhere! The only thing that may limit us is admission, fees or photography permits such as conservatories or private gardens.
As with any public park, please be safe and go during daylight if you want to visit the locations on your own. Grab a friend for a walk and be aware of your surroundings. Please do not trespass on private property. If you don’t know, don’t go.
Point Defiance Park, Tacoma
Perfect in any season. The changing colors of autumn leaves by the pond make a beautiful backdrop. So many Tacoma families have fond memories of watching the ducks and walking the paths of Point Defiance Park. In the spring and summertime, the blooming roses and arches give an intimate feel. Even in the wintertime, the bare, twisty branches in the rose garden can offer a dark and mysterious vibe.
Titlow Park and Beach, Tacoma
When the tide is just right, Titlow Beach has a lot of space to explore and play. Beautiful in any season because of the water and the forested trails, the park gives a perfect NW variety of picture spots.
Dune Peninsula and Ruston Way, Tacoma
Dune Peninsula Park is one of Tacoma’s newest parks. Formerly a toxic wasteland, the amazing efforts by the city turned it into a serene spot for biking, whale-watching, and taking in the beautiful mountain views. Ruston Way Waterfront is lovely for a local beach walk and bird watching.
Discovery Park, Seattle
While quite a trek from Tacoma, Discovery Park in the Magnolia neighborhood of Seattle is one of my favorite locations to shoot. It faces the west, giving us the much desired golden and blue hour dreamy feel. This park has it all: forest, beach, tall grass, buildings painted butter yellow, and even a lighthouse with a trail access. If you don’t mind walking, this is 534 acre park is a gorgeous choice.
Chambers Bay Park & Beach, University Place
One of the most interesting parks near Tacoma is Chambers Bay. Formerly a sand and gravel quarry, the park’s large skeletal concrete structures separate the park from the golf course and line a trail leading to the bridge and a beach below.
Charlotte’s Blueberry Park, Tacoma
Best in the fall between September and November, Charlotte’s Blueberry Park is a hidden Tacoma gem. The bushes are fully of U-Pick blueberries in July and August, but by September the leaves are firey red and perfect for fall minis. The park is large with lots of places to explore.
Swan Creek Park, Tacoma
Hidden where Pioneer Way and Waller Road meet in Tacoma, Swan Creek Park is a quiet little swimming hole surrounded by trees. You might want to bring a towel because shoes are bound to come off. There are trails and little bridges to explore as well.
Wright Park, Tacoma (conservatory + fee)
Like Point Defiance, Wright Park is gorgeous in all seasons. The yellow leaves of the ginkgo tree brighten up the park even on the darkest days. The conservatory fee is only $25/30 minutes which is so worth paying (it’s for a good cause, too!) if you love plants and need an indoor location. The 27-acre arboretum has lots of beautiful spots to sit and enjoy being with your family.
(Opera Alley, steps of UW, glass bridge & museum)
Tacoma’s downtown area is so unique and interesting. Urban sessions aren’t just for individuals. Documentary sessions or even Lifestyle sessions can take place in the city. If nature is not your thing, let’s explore the town!
Home & Neighborhood
There’s no place like home. You know your family best and where they would feel most comfortable. I love just sitting on your front porch or hanging out in bed.
Ft. Steilacoom Park, Lakewood
Fort Steilacoom Park has so much to offer with the old barns, winding trails through the trees, a lake view, and tall grass. I recently took a family there to watch the sun come up over Mt. Rainier and it was spectacular! The best times at this park are early mornings or late evenings.
Wild Hearts Farm (+fee)
A local family designed their property specifically for photographers and clients. With options like tire swings and wooden swings, an old truck, a vintage trailer, gardens with ever changing flowers and a natural light, rain free dome, they’ve made endless possibilities.
Manchester State Park
Located in Port Orchard, this old building was originally used to assemble and store mines in the early 1900s. Now it’s rented out for parties and weddings. No fee is necessary if we go for a family, senior, or engagement session. The building is rustic, unique, and offers some interesting views. It’s surrounded by pines and maples and close to a small beach.
In Studios, Tacoma
Photographers and other business owners are renting their spaces out to creatives by the hour or day. They’re becoming some of my favorite spots to shoot in because we are allowed the creativity and the freedom to make the space exactly what we want. Rates vary by availability and weekend/weekdays.
Restaurants, Coffee Shops, Stores, Libraries
Do you have a favorite restaurant? Have you ever wanted to document your every day life shopping at Target or Costco? It takes a little more planning and permission from the manager, but these sessions are often so much more relaxed and personal.
Want to go on an adventure? There are places I’ve always wanted to take my sessions. Do you have ideas?