This year you got plenty of shots of the kids bundled for the snow and puddle jumping in the rain. But arguably the best time of year for taking frame-worthy snapshots of the kids is spring. Portland bursts into an explosion of color this month so take advantage of it with the following list of floral photo ops you’ll be gazing at all year round. Read on to get snappy!

photo: ericnvntr via flickr

Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm

Open from Mar.24-Apr. 30, this festival gives your family access to 40 acres of blooming beauty. Is there really anything better than a backdrop filled with an expanse of row after row of flowers and Mt. Hood in the distance? Every year the owners arrange their varieties of tulips, daffodils and other flowers differently to create new patterns of colors for your camera to capture along with the smiling faces of your wee ones.

For a fun shot, put your little on the cow train or search out the photo cut-out boards for loads of giggles and great snaps. The festival even hosts a photo contest, so your pics could really pay off!

Check out our guide to the festival to learn more.

33814 S. Meridian Rd.,
Woodburn, Or
Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Cost: $5/person (13 and older), $20 per car maximum
Additional fees required for train rides and jump tents (weekends only).
Online: woodenshoe.com

Leach Botanical Gardens

This garden has grown to nearly 17 acres and features a diverse collection of over 2,000 hybrids, cultivars, and native and non-native plants that serve as a perfect environment for your outdoor shoot. If you are looking to go green, this is the place. And in April you’ll find trillium, phlox, arisaema (Jack-in-the-pulpit); erythronium (fawn lily), dodecatheon (shooting star) and western flowering dogwood for the perfect flash of color. There are plenty of trails to wander on while trying to find your perfect spot. Bring a sack lunch and make a day out of your family photo shoot.

Note: The garden allows photography but asks that you respect other patrons in enjoying an unplugged experience at the garden so please use common sense and courtesy when taking photos.

6704 SE 122nd Ave.
Portland
Hours: Tues.-Sat., 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Sun., 1-4 p.m. Closed Mon.
Cost: Free. Donations encouraged.
Online: leachgarden.org

photo: sringsmuth via Flickr

Camassia Natural Area

The hills of West Linn, above the Clackamas and Willamette rivers are alive with wildflowers! This 26-acre natural area is owned and maintained by the Nature Conservancy and during spring and summer and volunteers lead guided hikes and teach visitors about the ecology of the preserve. The area was sculpted by prehistoric floods that left a rocky plateau that is home to diverse floral life. During April and May flowers burst into bloom and provide a striking contrast to the dark basal bedrock and green mosses. You are sure to get some standout shots. Hiking through the area also gives you the opportunity to get snaps of your kids or yourself in the midst of more than 300 plant species. Your little models might even learn something along the way.

5000 Walnut St.,
West Linn, Or.
Hours: No set hours but morning light is wondrous for photos.
Cost: Free
Online: nature.org

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden

This stunning garden is home to more than 2,500 rhododendrons, azaleas and companion plants that burst into bloom every spring! The flowers make a magnificent display of colors for family photo shoots and Crystal Springs Creek flows along the westside of the garden. The manicured areas offer awsome opportunities for a variety of portrait settings which can include small lakes, paved and unpaved paths, fountains and waterfalls.

5801 SE 28th Ave.
Portland
Hours: 6 a.m.-6 p.m. through Mar. 31, open until 10 p.m. beginning Apr. 1
Cost: $4 admission fee is charged from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Wed.-Mon., March through Labor Day, but it is free for children under 12.
Online: portlandoregon.gov/parks

photo: tommy chheng via Flickr

Portland Japanese Garden

The beauty of Portland’s Japanese garden is undeniable. Portland’s own Japanese garden is considered one of the best in the world and offers  tranquil environment for family members young and old to enjoy. This garden has been designed to give its visitors a real taste of what the seasons are like in Japan. There are five garden styles over the 5.5 acre area for you to and your kids to explore through the lens including the Tea Garden, Strolling Pond Garden, Natural Garden, Sand & Stone Garden and the Flat Garden.

It’s not hard to find a perfect place to stop for shots as you run across cascading water features, a chabana garden and a bonsai terrace. Expect to see cherry blossoms in April along with azaleas. If you are wanting to capture the garden at it’s most colorful, it is recommended to  wait for mid-May when other plants like wisteria and rhododendrons come into bloom. But, it’s no stretch to say that the Portland Japanese Garden is beautiful all year round.
611 SW Kingston Ave.,
Portland
Hours: Mon. 12-7p.m.; Tue.-Sun.10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Cost:  $9.50/adult, $7.75 /senior (65+), $7.75/college student (w/ID), $6.75/ Youth (6-17), children 5 and under free
Online: japanesegarden.com

Do you have a favorite spring spot for family photos? Share it with us  in the comments!

—Annette Benedetti