Explore Bend, Oregon’s most breathtaking photography locations with insights from a seasoned Bend wedding photographer. Discover the top bend photography locations and the best-hidden gems that this breathtaking region has to offer.
Bend Photography Locations
These spots are some of the best due to their exceptional natural beauty, unique geological features, and the diverse photo opportunities they offer. Each location offers breathtaking and memorable opportunities to capture your unique story.
As a Portland wedding photographer, I’ve gotten to document love stories all over the state of Oregon and throughout Bend’s diverse region finding some of the best photo session locations along the way.
Winding along the Crooked River, Smith Rock State Park is a geological wonderland. With its towering cliffs and unique rock structure, this spot offers a unique opportunity to capture the unique landscapes of Central Oregon. New in 2023, they also have a pedestrian foot bridge to access more stunning views with ease.
Address: Smith Rock State Park, Oregon 97760
Phone: (800) 551-6949
Best time of day to go: Either early in the morning or late evening just before sunset.
Sparks Lake is located just outside of Bend! If you’re in search of mirror-like reflections of the stunning South Sister and Broken Top mountains, Sparks Lake is the place to be. As the sun dips below the horizon, the calm waters of this high-mountain lake create a breathtaking scene that will leave any person in awe.
Address: Sparks Lake, Oregon 97703
Best time to go: You will get the best photos at sunrise. It’s starts to get really busy by 9am.
Pilot Butte State Scenic Viewpoint
Pilot Butte is an adventurers dream come true with a viewpoint sits along an extinct volcano in the heart of Bend. It offers a 360-degree view of the city, the Cascade Range, and the High Desert. Visit at sunrise or sunset to capture the city bathed in golden light, and you’ll have photos that stands out from the rest.
Address: 1310 NE Hwy 20, Bend, OR 97701
Phone: (800) 551-6949
Best time to go: In the summer it’s best to go during golden hour. The sun can be very bright mid-day.
Tumalo Falls Trailhead
Tumalo Falls is another one of my favorite spots for engagement photos for a number of different reasons. Nestled in the Deschutes National Forest, Tumalo Falls is a stunning 89-foot waterfall surrounded by nature. This location is particularly photogenic in the spring and early summer when the wildflowers are in full bloom, providing a colorful foreground to the flowing waters.
Address: Tumalo Falls Trailhead, Bend, OR 97701
Best time to go: In the early morning. The middle of the day is the busiest time of day.
The Deschutes River runs through the city of Bend. The Deschutes River Trail is a scenic pathway that winds along the Deschutes River. It’s a quiet location for capturing the river’s gentle flow, framed by the surrounding greenery of the riverbanks.
Address: Deschutes River Trail, Bend, OR 97702
Best time to go: Late evening right before sunset
Shelvin Park is just 15 minutes from downtown Bend. Shevlin Park is a local favorite photography location. This forested area is a peaceful setting with walking trails, wooden bridges, and a serene creek. Capture the colorful foliage in the fall for a bright fall pop to your photos.
Address: 18920 Northwest Shevlin Park Road, Bend, OR 97703
Best time to go: It’s not usually too busy. About 1 -1.5hrs before sunset is the optimal time for the best photos.
Known for its world-class skiing, Mount Bachelor also offers spectacular views during the summer months. The deep blue waters of nearby Elk Lake make for an excellent backdrop as you capture the mountain’s beauty against the clear, blue sky.
- Address: 13000 SW Century Drive, Bend, OR 97702
- Website: https://www.mtbachelor.com/
- Best time to go: Late evening right before sunset, most ski and snowboarders have left the mountain.
Old Mill District Bend
For those who prefer an urban setting, the Old Mill District in Bend is a great choice. The Deschutes River runs through this area, providing an ideal setting for a cityscape with a hint of nature. Visit during the evening when the city lights reflect on the water for a truly magical experience.
- Address: 520 SW Powerhouse Dr Suite 624, Bend, OR 97702
- Phone: (541) 312-0131
- Website: https://www.oldmilldistrict.com/
- Best time to go:
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The landscapes of Lava Lands are like being transported to a new world. This location is a geological wonder of volcanic lava flows. With its striking contrast of black lava and blue sky, this is an excellent spot for capturing unique and dramatic photos.
- Address: 58201 US-97, Bend, OR 97702
- Phone: (541) 383-5300
- Website: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/deschutes/recarea/?recid=38394
- Best time go: In the winter it’s very empty. In the summer late evening or early morning is the best time for photos.
Oregon Badlands Wilderness
For those who seek solitude and the rugged beauty of the high desert, the Oregon Badlands Wilderness is a must-visit. This wilderness area is filled with ancient juniper trees, volcanic rock formations, and wide-open skies making it a diverse and unique photography location.
- Address: Oregon Badlands Wilderness, Bend, OR 97701
- Phone: (541) 416-6700
- Website: https://www.blm.gov/programs/national-conservation-lands/oregon-washington/oregon-badlands
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