Photography Location Ideas
Anchorage, Palmer, Wasilla, Matsu Valley, Alaska
It is a place filled with such beauty. Wide, open oceans. Tall mountains that sing of might and majesty. Open fields filled to the brim with wildflowers. And river fronts that beckon you to forget everything and enjoy this time with those you love.
Whether you have lived here all your life, are making new memories in this place you call home, or are visiting for the adventure of a lifetime, you couldn’t ask for a prettier backdrop to a session than the great state of Alaska.
With locations in both the greater Anchorage area and the Valley, there are options for virtually any session type and any wish list. Love mountains? Got those. Want mountains and ocean? Yup. Or how about a field of fireweed? I have just the spot.
Let’s make some beautiful memories together in this beautiful place we call home.
Sessions take place just after sunrise/early morning or just before sunset, during what is known as the golden hours.
The specific look and colors of a location varying from season to season.
November-March is snowy winter with December/January providing the best snowfall for a winter wonderland.
April-May is the beginning of spring where the grass is very light and trees may still be sparse.
June-August is the height of summer and filled with long, sunny days and bright, vivid landscapes.
September-October is our short-but-beautiful autumn is has such warm golden light and soft colors.
For scheduling, I live in Palmer so the MatSu Valley locations have more flexibility while Anchorage locations can only be scheduled for specific days/times.
Some locations require an entrance or parking fee for visits over 30 minutes. If you plan on visiting a lot of places over the course of the year then I highly recommend purchasing annual parking passes and avoid the headache: Alaska State Park Parking Pass ($50) and Matanuska-Susitna Borough parking pass ($40).
(Butte, 50min drive from Anchorage)
This place is my favorite. It has the tall mountains, the wide open spaces, the beautiful trees, and lots of fun flowers and stumps for the kids. It is located in a popular recreation area so that can create scheduling conflicts. During the summer months, especially fishing season, it’s better to schedule for weeknights vs. the weekend when the area is more crowded. Parking is right at the field and it’s easy walking and strollers (albeit bumpy). (Entrance/parking fee required)
(Central Palmer, 1hr drive from Anchorage)
The Palmer field is located close to the heart of Palmer, just off the Glenn Highway. We park at the lot next to the entrance and it’s about a five minute walk to the main field (deep ruts on the path so a stroller is not recommended). There’s a great mountain shot, with trees on three sides. Little pathways and patches of flowers make this a magical place year-round. One big draw is the giant field of fireweed that blooms around the beginning of July and lasts a few weeks.
(Palmer, 1.5hr drive from Anchorage)
Hatcher Pass is one of the most well-known and beloved locations in southcentral Alaska. The first part follows the river all the way up, past gold-panning spots and mountain trails, until you start driving up the hill and go past one scenic overlook after another. At the top is my go-to spot. For those wanting to stay at a lower elevation, there are spots just a few steps from the parking lot with mountain views in both directions and flowers beneath your feet. But the 10 minute hike up the trail is worth every inch and features jaw-dropping views in both directions, and even has a mountain streaming trickling over rocks and stones. It’s makes for a fun-filled family adventure and I encourage you to plan to stay for a picnic afterwards, tour the famous Independence Mine, or even bring a bucket for berry-picking. (Entrance/parking fee required)
The Campbell Airstrip location is just off of Tudor in East Anchorage, just 1.5mi from my studio. Its convenient location makes it an ideal spot for families that don’t want to travel far or have early bedtimes for little ones. A large loop, there are all sorts of paths and trails, a creek front, huge trees with exposed roots, and several small field. One of the paths opens up onto the airstrip itself and the long avenue of trees looks especially pretty ablaze with autumn colors. It’s an easy walk with gravel paths for strollers and works especially well for multi-generation families.
Yes, we have a beach here in Anchorage, believe it or not. But it’s not for the faint of heart! Located in Kincaid Park, down in South Anchorage, it’s a bit of trip to get there, even for those living in Anchorage itself. Once you park at the Chalet, it’s approx. a 30 minute walk down a paved path to arrive at the trail for the beach, and then another five minutes to get down to the beach itself. The sand dunes are so very pretty and give you a pop of green along with the tan of the sand and blue of the water and sky. This location requires that we pay close attention to the wind as anything above 8-10mph makes the Kincaid Beach almost impossible to shoot at, especially for young children that may be sensitive to sand get blown around. Also, Kincaid Park is famous for the number of moose that roam its acreage and we’ve run into them when walking to/from on a number of occasions.
Anchorage has its very own mountain, fondly know as Flattop (quite literally named for the flattened area at the very top). Located on the east side of south Anchorage, there’s quite a winding drive to get to the top but the views are well worth the trip. It’s a very popular tourist destination and especially popular with photographers during the summer and fall months, but we all share the space nicely. With mountain views in nearly every direction, this location works well in both sunny and cloudy conditions but due to the limited cover, can be challenging when photographing on extremely bright days or during the earlier evening hours. (Entrance/parking fee required)
(Seward Highway, 30min drive from Anchorage)
This is the magic spot. Right on the ocean, mountains all around, a sheltered cove, and that gorgeous golden summer sun. It’s one of the most well-known spots in southcentral Alaska for a reason but there are all sorts of pockets away from the tourists that is ideal for a family session. Since there is moving water, it may not be the best location if your children are more independently adventurous, but makes for a great choice for milestones and older children.