With sea and mountain views, forests, beaches, and iconic architecture, the Emerald City is a photographer’s dream. Whether you’re taking your first set of family photos or you’re participating in an annual family photo session, there’s a site to delight every member of the family. Seattle’s historical sites, scenic parks and modern marvels provide the perfect backdrop. From the Seattle Center to the Washington Arboretum and from Golden Gardens to Green Lake, there’s a location to fit every family – and capture a special moment in time.

Golden Gardens (Courtesy of Julie Austin Photography)

Golden Gardens 
8498 Seaview Place N.W.
Seattle, WA 98117
(206) 684-4075

Golden Gardens Park, located on Puget Sound, features forested trails; a coastline with tidelands, an expansive sandy beach and a fishing pier; and a breathtaking view of the Olympics. The park’s terrain provides a striking interplay of color and light, with green foliage, blue sky and sea, and creamy sand. Golden Gardens, which is in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, has been a favorite stop for Seattleites for more than 100 years. For Seattle photographer Julie Austin (www.jaustinphotography.com), it’s also a favorite site for photography sessions. Austin appreciates the park’s diverse landscape and breathtaking water and mountain views.

Washington Park Arboretum (Courtesy of Julie Austin Photography)

Washington Park Arboretum 
2300 Arboretum Drive E.
Seattle, WA 98112
(206) 543-8800

The 230-acre Washington Park Arboretum is a brilliant botanical display year-round – and it’s the perfect place to take family photos during any time of the year. The park, which sits on the shores of Lake Washington, was created in 1934 and features an array of plant species that won’t be found elsewhere. The Arboretum is freckled with bright flowers and greenery during spring; crimson and gold pepper the foliage during autumn; and it’s agleam in winter, with bare branches and laden boughs alike shimmering with frost and snow. Photographer Julie Austin (www.jaustinphotography.com) finds that the Arboretum’s stunning seasonal variety provides a perfect tableau for family photography sessions.

Related: Best Botanical Gardens in Seattle

The University Of Washington
1410 N.E. Campus Pkwy
Seattle, WA 98195
(206) 543-2100

With its sprawling campus, historical architecture, Drumheller Fountain, views of Mount Rainier, and spring cherry blossoms from 30 Yoshino cherry trees, the University of Washington campus is an ideal location to take family photos. The Drumheller Fountain, which has been a campus landmark for more than 100 years, sits among the storied buildings, which cut (fanciful and fantastic) silhouettes against the Seattle skyline. Historical buildings include Denny Hall, which was built in 1895 in the French Renaissance style; the Theodor Jacobsen Observatory, also built in 1895; and the gothic-style Suzzallo Library, built in 1926. Travel + Leisure magazine listed the UW as one of the most beautiful college campuses in America, complimenting Suzzallo’s gilded, 65-foot-high vaulted ceilings and 35-foot-high stained glass windows.

Seattle Center 
305 Harrison St.
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 684-7200

There’s nothing more symbolically Seattle than the Iconic Space Needle. At the Seattle Center, you can capture a close-up shot of the structure – or take a ride to the top of the needle and snap a family photo with a panoramic skyline background. Exhibits at the Seattle Center include the Experience Music Project Museum (EMP) and the Chihuly Garden of Glass, both of which provide opportunities for unusual and unforgettable family photos. If you’re searching for a distinctly Seattle family photo, you can also capture the Space Needle, Monorail and EMP within one shot.

Related: Best Cheap Activities to Do With Kids in Seattle

Green Lake
7201 E. Greenlake Dr. N.
Seattle, WA 98115
(206) 684-4075

Green Lake is a glacially born body of water, but its tree-lined pathways, docks and long expanses of water and sky make it a hot location for family photography. The park is a popular choice for photography year-round, but spring and autumn are perhaps the most stunning seasons. During spring, the park is freckled with white and pink cherry blossoms, and autumn brings vermillion, gold and orange foliage that shimmers on the water, giving the lake a warm glow. The park’s southwest corner flanks Woodland Park, which provides additional photography options, including the Woodland Park Rose Garden.

Tracy Campion is a freelance writer covering all things Seattle. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.