Add landscape photography to your list of Oregon vacation ideas. You’ll capture stunning images of impressive volcanic peaks, lush rainforests, pristine coastline, and picturesque waterfalls.
We’ve teamed up with fellow photographers to create this list of Oregon photography locations.
You’ll find helpful tips for some of the most noteworthy destinations in Oregon for nature photographers.
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CAMERA GEAR FOR LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY
DOWNLOAD: Camera Gear Checklist
- Camera: check out the compact travel cameras we recommend!
- Tripod: take a look at these compact and lightweight travel tripods!
- Camera Bag: protect your camera from sand and water → We use Lowepro camera backpacks for outdoor photography.
- Neutral density filter: to compensate for variance of light you’ll need to use a neutral density filter. → Check out the Kase magnetic filters we use!
- Camera cleaning kit: remove dust or water that WILL get on your lens. NOTE: this is not for cleaning the sensor.
- Memory cards: purchase name brand memory cards since you’re trusting your images to the card! → We use Lexar and Sandisk!
- External hard drive: copy photos to a portable external hard drive ‘just in case’.
- Headlamp: use when taking sunrise and sunset photos!
AWESOME LOCATIONS FOR OREGON PHOTOGRAPHY
Use the interactive map below to find each Oregon photo spot listed here:
PHOTOGRAPH OREGON: COLUMBIA GORGE
- Multnomah Falls
- Latourell Falls
PHOTO SPOTS NEAR PORTLAND
- Tillamook State Forest
OREGON PHOTOGRAPHY: NATIONAL PARK AND MONUMENTS
- Crater Lake National Park
- Newberry Volcanic National Monument
OREGON COAST PHOTOGRAPHY
- Cape Mearas
- Cannon Beach
- Thor’s Well
- Coos Bay
- Coos Bay King Tides
- Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor
Map of Oregon Photo Spots
CLICK to access the Google Map of photography locations in Oregon.
PHOTOGRAPHING OREGON: BEST PHOTO LOCATIONS
Multnomah Falls is the highlight of the Columbia River Gorge, a popular tourist attraction, and rightfully so. The entire falls are best seen anytime of the year and each season creates a whole different mood to it.
Multnomah Falls is a popular photo spot in Oregon, and rightfully so! Photo Credit: Ghe Buhay
Definitely hike up to the bridge to get a closer view of the falls. But from a photographer’s perspective, Multnomah Falls is best viewed and photographed in its entirety from below.
Ghe Buhay Photographer tip: Arrive early or late for the best light and less crowds. Otherwise, try to photograph Multnomah Falls from the sides, and at a lower vantage for a different perspective.
One of the easily accessible falls on the Columbia River Gorge, the trail to Latourell Falls is a short hike from the main highway.
Latourell Falls is a must-photograph spot in Oregon. Photo Credit: Ghe Buhay
Latourell Falls is a wondrous waterfall to photograph, but it’s usually shadowed in grandeur by the famous Multnumah Falls. You can feel the mist of the falling water as you walk to the edge of the trail.
Ghe Buhay Photographer Tip: carry a microfiber cloth to wipe the mist that accumulates as you take photos. → Must-have item: microfiber cloth!
On your Oregon road trip, be sure to visit the town of Woodburn near Salem, Oregon. You’ll find the Woodburn Tulip Farm in this small town south of Portland.
Photograph the tulips in Oregon in the spring. Photo Credit: Ghe Buhay
During the spring the town holds the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival. You’ll see tulips in every color that form a wonderful rainbow of flowers in an endless looking field.
In addition to photographing the tulips Woodburn, if you’re lucky, you’ll also be able to see and photograph the snowcapped Mt. Hood in the distance.
Ghe Buhay Photographer Tip: Don’t be afraid to get a bit dirty to capture a photo of the tulip rows from a low vantage point.
Tillamook State Forest
From Portland, you drive through the forest to get to Tillamook, and the forest extends pretty much to the ocean.
Photograph waterfalls in the Tillamook Forest. Photo Credit: Denise Thompson
The mountains of Tillamook Forest are beautiful, but the waterfalls get most of the attention. Photographers love to take pictures of the waterfalls in Oregon with the cascading water amidst the lush greenery around it.
Crater Lake National Park
Crater Lake is without a doubt one of the most spectacular sights in southern Oregon and a photographer’s dream. The lake is best known for its intense blue color, a product of its depth and clarity.
In the summertime, when the 33-mile Rim Drive is open, numerous viewpoints along the caldera’s edge provide endless photographic opportunities.
Photograph the stunning blues you’ll see at Crater Lake. Photo Credit: Just Go Travel Studios
Favorite focal points include Wizard Island and Phantom Ship, and both can be viewed from pullouts along the rim. However, we highly recommend hiking the Watchman Peak and Sun Notch Trails for some of the best views of the lake.
Better yet, hike down the Cleetwood Cove Trail to the lake’s edge and take a shuttle boat out to Wizard Island , where you can take in views from the top of a volcanic cinder cone!
Just Go Travel Studios Photography Tip: Early morning is generally the best time for photography if you are hoping to catch reflections of overhead clouds on the still Crater Lake.
Newberry Volcanic National Monument
Located just south of Bend, Oregon, little-known Newberry Volcanic National Monument offers a stunning assortment of landscapes including lava flows, a cave, mountain peaks, lakes and waterfalls!
There are two main areas to Newberry Volcanic National Monument: 1) the Lava Butte and Lava River Cave area and 2) the Paulina Lake area which includes Paulina Peak, Paulina Falls and the Big Obsidian Flow.
Newberry Volcanic National Monument provides amazing views to photograph. Photo Credit: Just Go Travel Studios
Paulina Peak was one of our favorite photo stops and can be accessed by road in summer months but be prepared for a rough ride with steep grades and hairpin turns towards the top! If you can handle that, you’ll be treated to some amazing views from the highest point within the monument!
The Big Obsidian Flow is unlike any other hike we’ve experienced—we suggest closed-toe shoes for this one! Follow the interpretive trail through the 700-acre flow including pumice and shiny, black obsidian. And don’t miss Paulina Falls where twin waterfalls spill over the lowest point of the Newberry caldera.
Just Go Travel Studios Photography Tip: Views from Paulina Peak are best on a clear day when you can see the snowcapped peaks of Washington, including Mount Adams!
Where the Tillamook State Forest meets the sea, you will find Cape Mearas, Oregon.
Since you’re in a mountain range, you’ll notice that Cape Mearas sits high above the ocean and offers breathtaking views of the coastline and large, green rock formations just off the coast.
Cape Mearas Lighthouse in Oregon. Photo Credit: Denise Thompson
High on a cliff lies the Cape Mearas Lighthouse. The lighthouse itself is small compared to most you see, but its position is high enough to suit its purpose. The late afternoon sun hitting the red reflector inside was spectacular.
Denise Thompson Photographer Tip: With the forest and ocean side by side, keep your eyes open for the many photographic opportunities in one area.
Cannon Beach is famous for the large rock formation just off the coast that resembles an old-world style haystack – known as Haystack Rock.
The rock towers 235 feet into the air at the ocean’s edge and is the subject for nearly every visitor’s camera.
Haystack Rock near Canon Beach is a popular Oregon coast photography spot. Denise Thompson
It is illegal tp fly a drone near Haystack Rock without permission, so don’t do it. Haystack Rock is a sensitive nature area, and drones may not be flown anywhere near the rock.
Denise Thompson Photographer Tip: As the sun sets, take advantage of the light or weather effects that can produce interesting effects around the base of the rocks.
There are several seaside towns along the Oregon coast. The beach in Oceanside sits in an alcove amongst the cliffs and trees.
Sunset photography along the Oregon coast is stunning! Photo Credit: Denise Thompson
At low tide, you can go in and explore some of the caves carved out by the surf. The beach is beautiful, especially at sunset. If you time it right, you can capture the yellow orb as it dips down between two peaks of a rock.
Denise Thompson Photographer Tip: Sunset photography is worth the wait and effort when you find a scene and subject to catch the viewer’s attention.
Finding Thor’s Well is really hard to locate via GPS. It’s in the town of Yachats, on the Oregon Coast near Cape Perpetua.
Thor’s Well showcases the power of the ocean. Photo Credit: Ghe Buhay
Thor’s Well is a sinkhole that swallows streams of seawater around it. The location can be very dangerous when the waves crash alongside making it easy to slip and fall.
It’s a truly wonderful sight to see the power of the ocean and the interesting hole it has carved that ended up being known as Thor’s Well.
Ghe Buhay Photographer Tip: Check the tide schedule. The best photography at Thor’s Well happens at high tide; it’s uneventful during low tide.
Along the central Oregon coast, at the northern tip of the Sand Dunes park, you’ll find Florence.
Photographers enjoy capturing the various types of landscapes in the area. And if you don’t mind a bit of hiking, the trails here are not too crowded.
Haceta Head Lighthouse photo spot in Oregon. Photo Credit: Daphne Brislin
Haceta Head Lighthouse Trail to Hobbit Beach is a must-do Oregon photography spot.
Daphne Brislin Photographer Tip: The sea lion caves is also a cool place to take photos with the sea life in the area.
From the downtown corridor to Cape Arago State Park, the Coos Bay area offers easy access for the photographic journey.
Rocky Cliffs along the trail from Sunset Bay to Cape Arago. Photo Credit: Daphne Brislin
There are awesome places like Sunset Bay State Park that offer several coastal trails to hidden beaches. The forest trails hide World War II bunkers and panoramic views of the rocky coastline below.
During winter months the dramatic rocks at Shore Acres State Park make for amazingly dramatic waves for the photography buff in all of us.
Daphne Brislin Photographer Tip: This Oregon photography location also has a harbor, boats and bridges making it a one-stop photo spot!
Coos Bay King Tides
The king tides occur when the Earth, Moon and Sun are aligned at perigee and perihelion, resulting in the largest tidal range seen over the course of a year.
Along the Oregon coast this can occur during the winter months, and typically January and February are the most active months to plan your waves watching experience.
There are many places you can watch these massive waves, but avoid any low lying coastal places due to sneaker waves that usually accompany these tides. Several deaths occur when people are too close or on the rocky ledges against warnings.
King Tide along the Oregon Coast. Photo Credit: Daphne Brislin
One such place that seems to be a photographer’s favorite is Shore Acres State Park. Just outside of Coos Bay, Oregon the rocky cliffs and great vantage points at this location are perfect to capture the waves as they hit.
If you want to aoivd the crowds, hit the trails just south of Sunset Beach. If you park in the pullout marked lighthouse, you can walk either direction on the coastal trail and find a less crowded view of the waves. Sunset Bay is just up the road from Shore Acres and one of the trails will actually connect you to the state park.
Daphne Brislin Photographer Tip: If you travel with furry companions be aware that they are not allowed in Shore Acres so trail dogs will only be able to go to the border line.
The area near Bandon down to Port Orford is full of photographic opporunities like scenic beaches, whales near the shore and lighthouses.
The Coquille River Lighthouse is a draw for many visitors and photographers.
Photograph the unique Bandon labyrinths. Photo Credit: Daphne Brislin
But just as impressive are the subjects along the beach near Face Rock State Park. You’ll find the popular Face Rock and Merlin’s Hat. There’s also Blacklock Point, tide pools and the iconic labyrinths.
Daphne Brislin Photographer Tip: You can’t beat the Oregon photos you’ll get here; plan to spend a lots of time at this location.
You’ll find river boat tours, fantastic beaches and the Oregon Redwood Trail near Brookings, Oregon.
The trees along the Oregon Redwood Trail. Photo Credit: Daphne Brislin
If you enjoy hiking, it’s the best way to appreciate the tall trees along the Oregon Redwood Trail.
Enjoy and photograph the ocean views, or access the coastal beaches as you drive along Highway 101. There is so much to see, do and photograph here!
The inside of a redwood tree. Photo Credit: Daphne Brislin
Daphne Brislin Photographer Tip: There are endless things to photograph in Oregon, like the inside of a tree trunk found along the Oregon Redwood Trail.
Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor
Right off Highway 101 this scenic section houses some of the most iconic Oregon shots.
Foggy scene near Natural Bridges, Oregon. Photo Credit: Daphne Brislin
Photographers from around the world are hoping to get “the shot” of famous places like Natural Bridges and Arch Rock. Due to the popularity of the area it can sometimes be crowded.
I recommend you hike trails less traveled and you will be rewarded with amazing views.
Daphne Brislin Photographer Tip: You may need to use your editing skills to crop out people.
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Plan a Trip to Oregon
- Oregon Road Trip
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- Oregon Photography Locations
- Taking Kids to the Beach