Percival Landing, Olympia - If you like Urban Portraits then downtown Olympia is a great option for you. We can walk along the water at Percival Landing and capture images with the soft neutrals of the Sound. On the way back we can cut through downtown Olympia to catch some funky, colorful and fun portraits. From brightly colored doors, cool architecture, beautiful murals and the boardwalk with the Sound behind it, Olympia is a very nice location to have your portraits taken! There is even a fun farmers market to shoot, a tower, docks, a playground, a neat bridge and so much more! I also love downtown Olympia for all it's little coffee shops and restaurants! A couples session in a coffee shop is just plain adorable and fun! Some free parking near the Olympia Farmers Market, street parking and most lots are paid.
The Capitol Building, Olympia - Not far from Percival landing is the regal and structurally impressive Capitol building. From elegant stairs, giant pillar, beautiful fences, massive intricate doors and a rose garden there is lots of great variety at the Capitol Building. Can you guess the best perk about the Capitol building? If you were going to say easy parking (in the evenings) or the great view of the lake you were close but those aren't the best! The best perk of shooting your portraits at the Capitol building is it's located within walking distance of one of my favorite bakeries! Wagner's European Bakery & Cafe has an excellent selection of baked good and they make stunning wedding cakes (they made mine!) Parking is fairly easy to find and is only free during the evening and weekends.
Pioneer Park, Tumwater - Pioneer Park is beautiful and big enough so you don't have to wait for other people to clear the area for your shots! As a Pacific Northwest Portrait Photographer a variety of rich green backgrounds, cool grey paths/ground, fields of tall flowers and quite a few interesting logs to sit on is the 'cat's meow' of variety for little local parks and Pioneer Park has it all. I also love this location because it has a little patch of foliage that provides coverage if it starts to sprinkle! We all know how important that is in Washington state! Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter - this location provides interesting backgrounds which makes it a great choice all year round. There is plenty of parking at this location, although during the summer when there are sports it can be pretty packed. No Parking Fees.
Nisqually Wildlife Refuge, Lacey - Nisqually Wildlife Refuge is a bit of a walk but worth it for some beautiful images! There are wooden walkways, two old white barns, fields of tall grass and a fun long pathway that creates beautiful leading lines for your images. As a bonus, you can't walk through without seeing wildlife. We frequently see frogs, deer and a variety of birds (depending on the season) during our sessions at NWR. Please note that there is a small entrance fee for this location, there is a drop box for payment at the main building and is done on the honor system.
Tolmie State Park, Lacey - Tolmie State Park is a fun little beachy location that can yield some stunning photos! It has an amazing bridge, lots of trails with rich green backgrounds and an amazing beach that works well for both posed and candid portraits. Please note that a Discover Pass is needed to park at this location. During limited summer hours you can purchase on site but to be safe I'd recommend purchasing one ahead of time.
Ft. Steilacoom, Lakewood - Ft Steilacoom Park may be my favorite local park to shoot in. Barns, dark green foliage, a lake, grassy fields, mossy woods, a long path, flowers in the spring, old ruins, an apple orchard.... Ft. Steilacoom has it ALL. On clear days there is even a view of Mt. Rainier! This location has plenty of parking and it's free! YAY!
Museum of Glass, Tacoma - Downtown Tacoma, near the Glass Museum is an urban portrait photographer's dream! It is possibly even my favorite location for urban portraits! The bridge to the Museum of Glass has visually pleasing art and some beautiful clean and neutral buildings behind it. There is a great selection of art, including a fountain, that makes for some interesting and unique portraits. One of my favorite locations to shoot there is an old brick apartment building with metal stairs. It can be really fun and diversify your session. I also love shooting portraits in downtown Tacoma near the Museum of Glass because it is within walking distance of so many great locations. The Spanish Steps, Fireman's Park, Opera Alley and all the funky downtown businesses and garage doors are a few examples. It is also a two minute car ride from the 11th Street bridge which is an AMAZING location to make you stand out, yet still have an interesting background in your portraits (for safety reasons we will need a spotter for this location so please let me know ahead of time if you are interested in shooting at the 11th Street bridge). Parking is hit or miss...mostly paid parking.
Pt. Defiance Park + Rose Garden, Tacoma - Pt. Defiance Park is a top spot for summer portraits due to the colorful and fun rose garden. There is also a Japanese Garden area that is beautiful to take portraits in. PDP is also a wedding destination - and a stunning one at that! This location can be fairly busy though, so I'd recommend weeknights or mornings when it isn't as crowded. Parking is free but limited - on busy days, don't bother. Pt. Defiance Park is also a few minutes drive from Owen Beach - Ask about how you can include both for your portrait session.
Owen Beach, Tacoma - Right down the road from Pt. Defiance Park is this little, not so hidden gem. Owen Beach is simply beautiful and can include beach pictures, woodsy pictures OR BOTH! Owen Beach can be very crowded though so I'd recommend a sunrise session here. Parking is free and there are plenty of parking spots on site.