Best Phoenix Photography Locations To Take Photos
Living in Arizona, we’re blessed with many, many different and beautiful backdrops to use for family portraits, senior portraits, engagement sessions, and maternity photos locations. The Phoenix metro area offers an array of different styles and vibes, from retro/urban, to iconic and scenic desert backdrops. Here’s a list of some of the best Phoenix photography locations.
Choosing a Phoenix photography location can be daunting, and even intimidating. How do I find the type of setting I’m looking for? Do they allow photography? Is there a fee? Your photographer should have all of this information, or at least be able to help with planning, but that’s why I’ve decided to start cultivating a list of popular and “go-to” spots around the Valley. Many of these are popular destinations with photographers, and some are a little more off the beaten path.
While you’re looking and planning for the best locations for your family photos, senior photos, portrait photography sessions, weddings, or engagement photo locations in Phoenix, please keep in mind that all of the places on this list have different requirements for photography. Some are free, some require permits or fees, and some may have other specific requirements.
The most important thing I can share is RESPECT THE LOCATION. Leave it at least as good as you found it. Please do not leave trash, destroy property or anything else that will ultimately ruin the experience for someone else. Confetti shoots can be popular, but they leave a mess behind and can be harmful to wildlife. If you choose to do confetti, or use any other messy props during your shoot, please, please clean up your mess below you leave. If possible, use environmentally safe options. Smoke bombs can be fun, but they can stain buildings and leave damage if not used properly.
While there are many great photo spots in Phoenix that do not require permits or charge, there are many that are now charging fees or becoming restricted due to carelessness and destruction of others.
Best Photography Spots in Phoenix For Family Photos, Engagement Photos, and Senior Portrait Photography
- Lost Dutchman State Park – Located near the Superstition Mountains, Lost Dutchman State Park is another mecca for photographers. One of my favorite places to go, just in general for photos or hikes. Note: There is not a $50 fee for photoshoots.
- Superstition Mountains – The Superstition Mountains is one of the most popular and iconic local attractions. You can’t go wrong with these gorgeous mountains as a backdrop. One great option for access to the mountains if you’re not able to go into Lost Dutchman is using First Water Trailhead.
- Corona de Loma Trail, the Warpaint Loop: Trailhead starts at: 33.328687, -112.012077. Check out Alex’s Senior Portrait Gallery shot here.
- Desert Breeze Park
- Downtown Chandler
- Veterans Oasis Park – Veterans Oasis Park is one of Chandler’s most popular locations for families. At any given time, especially during the fall, you’ll see many other shoots going on while you’re there and it can be quite crowded. Here’s a family session shot there.
- Tumbleweed Ranch Park
- Freestone Park
- Riparian Preserve – Another popular East Valley photoshoot location, especially for family photography sessions.
- Water Ranch Lake
- The Grove Church – (Note that they’ve cut down a lot of the orchard, and this space does get crowded)
- Broadway Cave Trail
- Wave Cave Trail
Lower Salt River Area
Shooting along the river is a great option to get a classic outdoor look. Driving along Bushy Highway offers several great recreation areas, as well as pull off spots to shoot at to get some great water and desert scenes.
- Coon Bluff – A very popular spot for family photography and senior portraits along the Salt River in part because of the variety and unique settings. Note: As of 2020, they’ve started putting up 4 miles of fencing up in the area. This has affected access to certain areas that were once available, as potentially posing threats to wild horses. Learn more about the impact and what you can do here.
- Butcher Jones
- Pebble Beach
- Phon D Sutton
- Water Users Recreation Site – Another very popular location for family, senior, couples, and portrait photography sessions. Check out some samples from this Maternity session along the Salt River.
- Desert Trails Park
- Downtown Mesa – Including the Mesa Arts Center
- Mesa Community College Rose Garden
- Usery Mountain Regional Park
- Horseshoe Bend. One of Arizona’s iconic locations. Note: the permit/fees are somewhat confusing here. It is best to call ahead and verify what their fees are.
- Upper/Lower Antelope Canyon. The most recent update is that photography tours and permits are no longer available. This may change after COVID, but it’s best to call ahead and check.
- Apache Wash Trailhead
- Camelback Mountain
- Desert Botanical Gardens – No fee required outside of entry fee.
- Dobbins Lookout
- Downtown Phoenix
- Heritage Square
- Japanese Friendship Garden The gardens do require a photography permit to shoot, which can be somewhat expensive. Fees depend on whether it’s during business hours or after hours, and type of shoot. Check the website for more information.
- Papago Park
- Phoenix Zoo
- Roosevelt Row Arts District – If you’re looking for a more urban feel, and backgrounds with murals, this is the spot for you. Just park and walk.
- Scorpion Gulch – Very popular destination. Here are a couple sample sessions of Portraits and Senior Portraits.
- South Mountain
San Tan Valley and Queen Creek
- Encanterra Country Club
- Queen Creek Olive Mill
- Queen Creek Wash – (This is actually behind the Safeway Store)
- San Tan Mountain Regional Park. No permit is needed here, just the $7 entrance fee per car. You are required to stay on the paths.
- Boulders Resort & Spa
- McDowell Sonoran Preserve – Note, there is a $50 permit fee to shoot here, and it can take several days for processing. Try to plan for at least 1 week out.
- Taliesin West
- Bell Rock
- Cathedral Rock
- Red Rock State Park
- West Fork
- ASU Campus – Perfect for senior photos at iconic locations such as Palm Walk, and Old Main. Note, this place does get extremely busy around graduation time, so plan accordingly.
- Hayden Butte
- Mill Avenue
- Tempe Center for the Arts
- Tempe Town Lake
- Agua Caliente Park
- Mission San Xavier del Bac
- Pinnacle Peak –Trail Dust Town
- Saguaro National Park
- San Pedro Chapel
- The University of Arizona (Main Campus)
These are just a few of the best Phoenix photography locations available for your next photography session in Arizona. I’ll keep it as current as possible, but please keep in mind that locations constantly change their policies on photography, and it’s best to call and check beforehand.
Note: Some of these locations (Water Users, Coon Bluff, Phon D, etc), will require a Tonto Pass. More information on Tonto Passes can be found here.
Do you have some other favorite Phoenix photography locations not listed? Drop them in the comments below and I’ll add them! Below are a few samples shot from some of the locations listed above. Check out my Gallery for more samples. Ready to book a photography session? Contact me today