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Guide to Choosing a Salem, Oregon Photographer *UPDATED FOR 2023*

August 6, 2022

Filed in: Families

If you’ve landed here in search of your perfect Salem, Oregon photographer, you’re in luck! I’ve written the ultimate guide to choosing a photographer in Salem, from the top three questions to ask yourself before you begin your search, to my favorite locations for pictures in Salem, to what to DO with those beautiful photos after your session! Read on to find out everything you need to know about choosing a Salem, Oregon photographer.

family of four Salem Oregon Photographer


Three Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Salem, Oregon Photographer

What style of photography do you envision on your walls?

In your holiday card? Framed on your bedside table? I adore and specialize in light-filled, timeless images that can be enjoyed for years.  If airy pastels and sunlight filtering through trees is your thing…let’s talk! If it totally is NOT your thing (maybe you’re looking for dark, moody images), there are photographers out there who are YOUR people too! It’s important to get clear on what you want your final photos to look like, and then choose a photographer who can provide that. It’s all about communication up front, before we start making the photos.

champoeg state park summer photos location

What Kind of Experience do you DREAM of?

When people think about experience as they’re choosing a photographer, they often just think of how much experience their photographer has in their career. And sure, that’s important (I’ve been in business for over ten years and I’m always learning how to make your photos better!). But the BIG DEAL question is…what do YOU want to experience during your photo session?

Do you hope for a full-service photography experience? We’ll chat about your goals for your session so that it’s completely customized for your family. A location that I’ve chosen that will meet your goals, so you never have to worry about where to do photos? Yep. A customized styling board with shopping links so that you can envision how it will all look AND you can shop online for your whole family in record time? YES. Full use of a closet full of dresses hand-selected because they photograph so beautifully? YES, ABSOLUTELY! And after your session, you won’t just be left with digital photos sitting on your hard drive. We’ll talk about that next!

full service salem oregon photographer's client closet

What Will You Do With Your Photos AFTER the Session?

I’ll guide you through your options for wall art by showing you exactly what your photos will look like on your walls! With just a photo of your wall, I can design a to-scale gallery of wall art from your session. Clients love visualizing this AND that they don’t have to figure it out themselves (because, really, you have other things to do!).

wall gallery in a living room from salem oregon photographer samantha shannon



Favorite Photo Locations in Salem, Oregon

Deepwood Estate

Deepwood Estate is a dream for a Salem, Oregon photographer! It’s one of my favorite photo locations in Salem because of its versatility. I adore its manicured, traditional gardens that surround the white Queen Anne style home. Tucked behind the estate is what makes this location perfect for a full family session: a natural area that allows for a completely different look from the garden. You can read more about photo sessions at Deepwood on my post here.

Deepwood Estates, 1116 Mission Street SE, Salem OR 97302

family of four outdoor photos in salem oregon



Downtown Salem can be a really fun location for senior portraits, headshots, or family sessions with smaller families and older children.


Bush’s Pasture Park

Bush’s Pasture Park is a great location for Salem, Oregon photographers because it has such great variety! I love the oak grove, and we actually had our own family photos there. In the fall, it has some great fall color which I just adored during these family maternity photos I shot for Mom Magazine Salem:

fall family photos at bush's pasture park in salem, oregon

Bush’s Pasture Park, 600 Mission Street SE, Salem OR 97302


Minto Brown Island Park

Minto Brown Island Park is huge, which means it’s the perfect place to relax and take your time with a calmer, relaxed outdoor photo session. If you’re looking for a natural outdoor setting that’s not super crowded, Minto Brown is an excellent option.

Minto Brown Island Park, 2100 Minto Island Road SE, Salem, OR 97302


Oregon State Capitol Park

It’s true that the Capitol Park really shines in the spring, when you can have your photo session at the Salem Cherry Blossoms.


Booking Your Photo Session in Salem, Oregon

Ready to chat more about maternity or family photos in Salem? Browse through my full portfolio here, learn more about the experience here, and then contact me! I book about 3 months out from March through October, so get in touch as soon as you know you’d like to book so that we can get you on my calendar. I’m looking forward to working with you!

After Your Salem Oregon Photography Session

Looking for things to do in Salem after your photo session? Travel Salem has a wealth of ideas, from kid-friendly restaurants in Salem to Willamette Valley hiking trails!

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