Best Places for a Photoshoot in Vancouver

May 27th, 2024

Vancouver BC has no shortage of places to shoot in, with its breathtaking natural landscapes and diverse urban scenes, there are many locations in the Lower Mainland that stands as an ideal backdrop for any photoshoot. From the lush greenery of Stanley Park to the vibrant streets of Olympic village, this city offers a plethora of picturesque locations to capture stunning images. The iconic skyline against the backdrop of the North Shore Mountains provides a striking contrast that photographers adore. Moreover, the city's multicultural vibe infuses every corner with unique charm, whether it's the colorful markets of Granville Island or the historic architecture of Chinatown. For those seeking a touch of romance, the sunsets along Whytecliff Park or the serenity of UBC's campus offer unparalleled beauty. Afterall, they don't call it west coast, best coast for nothing.

Deer Lake Park - Burnaby, BC

Ideal for: Families, Couples, Portraits

Ideal Weather: Clear Skies (Golden Hour)

Season: Any

Parking: Free

Cons: Slight uphill slopes, high population of geese and their waste


Deer Lake Park is a bit of a hidden gem, nestled in the heart of Burnaby just outside of Vancouver, and offers a diverse and captivating backdrop for photoshoots. This picturesque park boasts a harmonious blend of natural beauty and cultural attractions, making it a photographer's paradise. The serene lake, surrounded by towering trees and lush greenery, provides a tranquil setting perfect for capturing moments of peace and reflection. Additionally, the park features winding trails that lead through dense forests and open meadows, offering a variety of scenic vistas and hidden nooks to explore.


Deer Lake Park is home to a vibrant arts and cultural scene, with attractions such as the Burnaby Art Gallery and Shadbolt Centre for the Arts. These venues not only add depth and character to the park but also offer unique architectural elements and artistic installations that can enhance any photoshoot, offering plenty of options from an urban look to portraits by the water. Whether against the backdrop of a stunning sunset over the lake or amidst the vibrant colors of a local art exhibit, Deer Lake Park provides endless opportunities for creativity and expression. It's versatility in both backdrops and ability to shoot in any season is why it often tops our list of choices to shoot in Vancouver.


Golden hour, that magical time shortly after sunrise or before sunset when the light is soft, warm, and golden, plays an especially enchanting role at Deer Lake Park. As the sun hangs low on the horizon, its gentle rays filter through the trees, casting long shadows and painting the landscape in hues of gold and amber.

Queen Elizabeth Park - Vancouver, BC

Ideal for: Families, Couples

Ideal Weather: Clear Skies (Golden Hour) or Cloudy

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall

Parking: Pay

Cons: Uphill slopes


Queen Elizabeth Park, perched atop Little Mountain in Vancouver, is a popular spot for photos. Renowned for its breathtaking beauty and diverse landscapes, this park offers a plethora of stunning backdrops for photoshoots. Iconic spots offer multiple distinct looks that include the Celebration Pavilion (an incredibly popular spot for wedding ceremonies), the fountains and the Bloedel Conservatory.


A short walk away leads you to the elevated location offering a northern look of the city of Vancouver. A few steps away will lead you down a bridge path down to the vibrant flowers of Quarry Garden. During the spring time, the west side of the park offers a small field of cherry blossoms, a favorite among locals during the season.

Steveston Village, Garry Point Park - Richmond, BC

Ideal for: Families, Couples

Ideal Weather: Clear Skies (Golden Hour) or Cloudy

Season: Spring, Summer

Parking: Free

Cons: Windy


Garry Point Park, nestled at the mouth of the Fraser River in Richmond, British Columbia, offers photographers a delightful blend of natural beauty and coastal charm, complemented by the nearby historic Steveston Village. It boasts stunning views of the ocean, expansive sandy beaches, and picturesque walking trails lined with low trees and native flora. Additionally, its proximity to Steveston Village adds cultural richness to the backdrop, with its historic buildings, fishing boats, and vibrant waterfront atmosphere offering endless possibilities for creative storytelling and adding depth to any photoshoot experience. If you live near city of Richmond, Garry Point Park and Steveston Village stand out as prime locations for capturing memorable and captivating images that truly reflect the essence of the Pacific Northwest.

Downtown Vancouver - Vancouver Public Library, Vancouver Art Gallery, Coal Harbour

Ideal for: Couples, Portraits

Ideal Weather: Any, some rain

Season: Any

Parking: Pay

Cons: Crowded on weekdays.


Downtown Vancouver is one of my favorite places to shoot, thanks to its unique urban landscape and the dynamic lighting conditions created by the tall buildings. These towering structures, often reaching into the sky, create a canopy that partially covers the sun. This results in a wonderfully diffused, flat lighting that is ideal for photography, reducing harsh shadows and creating a balanced, soft illumination that flatters subjects and highlights architectural details.


In addition, downtown Vancouver offers a variety of covered areas that provide shelter from the frequent rain. These covered walkways and overhangs ensure that photo shoots can continue uninterrupted by the weather, adding an element of versatility to this location. The rain itself can also be a beautiful feature, adding a reflective quality to the streets and creating a moody, atmospheric backdrop.


Another compelling aspect of downtown Vancouver is its array of quintessential landmarks. From the sleek lines of the Vancouver Public Library and the iconic sails of Canada Place to the historic charm of Gastown's Steam Clock, these landmarks offer diverse and picturesque backdrops for photography. Each site brings its own character and story, enhancing the visual narrative of the images captured.


However, due to the density of the area, downtown Vancouver is not recommended for family photography. The bustling streets and constant flow of people can make it challenging to capture relaxed, intimate moments typically desired in family photos. The crowded environment can also pose safety concerns for young children. Therefore, while downtown Vancouver excels as a vibrant and visually rich setting for urban and architectural photography, those looking for serene and family-friendly locations might want to consider quieter, more spacious areas, like the nearby Stanley Park.

Olympic Village

Ideal for: Families

Ideal Weather: 

Clear Skies (Golden Hour) or Cloudy

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall

Parking: Pay + Free

Cons: Crowded, especilly on weekends


Olympic Village in Vancouver is an ideal location for family photos, offering some of the city's most iconic views. Located on the southeast shore of False Creek, this vibrant area was originally built for the athletes of the 2010 Winter Olympics and has since transformed into a lively residential and commercial community. The stunning backdrops of BC Place and Science World provide a dramatic and quintessentially Vancouver setting for photographs. The stadium's distinctive retractable roof and the geodesic dome of Science World add architectural flair and visual interest, especially when captured during the golden hour or illuminated at night.


The scenic waterfront along the False Creek seawall offers picturesque views and reflections of the city skyline, creating a serene and visually appealing setting for family photos. Olympic Village is dotted with parks, plazas, and public art installations, such as the giant sparrows and the colorful "Salt" piece, providing unique and playful backgrounds. The mix of modern architecture with natural surroundings captures the essence of Vancouver's urban lifestyle amidst nature, making every snapshot feel special and authentic.


Designed with pedestrians and families in mind, Olympic Village is accessible and family-friendly, featuring wide pathways, ample seating areas, and safe, open spaces. The area’s beauty changes with the seasons, offering lush greenery and vibrant flowers in the spring and summer, rich fall colors in autumn, and crisp, clean lines against seasonal lights in winter. By exploring different angles and incorporating interactive poses, families can create dynamic and lively photos. A visit to Olympic Village not only results in beautiful images but also offers a slice of peak Vancouver living, blending urban sophistication with natural beauty for lasting family memories.

UBC, Vancouver

Ideal for: Families, Couples

Ideal Weather: Clear Skies (Golden Hour) or Cloudy

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Parking: Pay

Cons: Far, Crowded on weekdays


The University of British Columbia (UBC) is an exceptional location for a photoshoot, offering a diverse array of backdrops that cater to various aesthetic preferences. Built on the scenic Point Grey Peninsula, UBC combines striking urban landmarks with natural beauty, making it a versatile setting for capturing memorable photos. The campus's blend of modern architecture, lush gardens, and stunning views provides an ideal canvas for family and couples sessions


One of the standout features at UBC is the Rose Garden, which is a favorite spot for photoshoots. This beautifully landscaped garden boasts a variety of vibrant roses and offers panoramic views of the North Shore Mountains and the Strait of Georgia. The meticulously maintained garden beds, elegant pathways, and picturesque pergolas create a romantic and serene environment, perfect for portraits and candid shots alike. Whether in full bloom during the summer or blanketed in snow during the winter, the Rose Garden provides a stunning, ever-changing backdrop.


In addition to the Rose Garden, UBC's urban landmarks offer unique photo opportunities. The iconic Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, with its striking glass facade, and the modern Beaty Biodiversity Museum, featuring the awe-inspiring blue whale skeleton, provide dramatic and visually interesting settings. The university's impressive architecture, such as the contemporary design of the Nest student union building and the historical charm of the Main Mall, adds a sophisticated and scholarly touch to photos.

Whytecliff Park, North Vancouver

Ideal for: Couples only

Ideal Weather: Clear Skies (Golden Hour) or Cloudy

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall

Parking: Pay

Cons: Far, Challenging, uphill terrain & dependent on tides


Whytecliff Park in West Vancouver is a fantastic spot for couples photography, offering beautiful and intimate settings that make the trek worthwhile. This park features stunning coastal views, rugged cliffs, and lush forests, creating a romantic backdrop that's perfect for capturing special moments. The dramatic coastline, with its rocky outcrops and expansive ocean views, is especially striking during the golden hour, adding a warm, magical glow to your photos.


The terrain at Whytecliff Park can be a bit challenging, with uneven paths and steep sections, but that just adds to the adventure. Couples can be photographed climbing rocks, walking hand-in-hand along scenic trails, or sitting together on a cliff’s edge, taking in the breathtaking views. The sense of exploration and discovery makes the photos feel more spontaneous and genuine, capturing the essence of your relationship in a beautiful, natural setting.


The park’s tidal conditions offer unique photo opportunities, too. At low tide, you can venture out to Whyte Islet, a small island accessible from the shore, adding a dynamic twist to your shoot. While careful planning is needed to navigate the terrain and tides, the resulting images are well worth the effort. Whytecliff Park's mix of serene and dramatic landscapes creates a perfect backdrop for couples, ensuring you get memorable and stunning photos.

Pitt River Dike, Pitt Meadows

Ideal for: Couples

Ideal Weather: Cloudy

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall

Parking: Free

Cons: Very Far

The Pitt River Dike Scenic Point in Pitt Meadows is a fantastic location for couples offering a unique and picturesque backdrop that is especially captivating with low-hanging clouds over the mountains. This scenic spot, located along the Pitt River, is known for its expansive views of the surrounding natural beauty, including the majestic mountains, untended fields, and tranquil waters, making it an ideal setting for capturing stunning photographs.


One of the standout features of Pitt River Dike Scenic Point is the breathtaking view of the mountains, often shrouded in low-hanging clouds. These clouds create a mystical and ethereal atmosphere, adding depth and drama to the photos. The interplay of light and shadow, as the clouds move and change, can result in truly spectacular and dynamic images. This natural phenomenon provides a one-of-a-kind backdrop that enhances the mood and adds a touch of magic to any photoshoot.


The area’s serene and open landscape offers a variety of settings for different types of photos. Whether you're looking to capture the sweeping vistas of the river and mountains, the reflection of the sky in the water, or the vibrant greenery of the surrounding fields, Pitt River Dike Scenic Point has it all. The flat, accessible paths along the dike make it easy to explore different angles and perspectives, ensuring you can find the perfect spot to capture your vision.


Ideal for: Families

Ideal Weather: Rainy 

Season: Anytime, especially winter

Cons: Requires large windows & clearing of clutter

Home photography is an excellent option for those rainy days in Vancouver, offering a cozy and convenient way to capture beautiful images without braving the elements. Vancouver’s frequent rainy weather often necessitates indoor activities, making home photography a perfect solution. With a bit of creativity and the right setup, you can create stunning photos that take advantage of natural light from large windows, ensuring your images are bright and vibrant even on the gloomiest days.


Large windows are key to successful home photography, as they allow ample natural light to flood the space, creating a soft and flattering illumination. This kind of lighting is ideal for portraits and family photos, as it helps to eliminate harsh shadows and provides a more even distribution of light. Positioning near the window takes full advantage of this natural light source. If the light is too direct, sheer curtains can help diffuse it, creating a softer glow that's perfect for photography.


Home photography also allows for a more personal and intimate setting, which can add a unique and meaningful touch to your images. You can incorporate elements of your everyday life and personal style into the photos, making them more authentic and special. Whether it’s capturing candid moments of family members, documenting cozy indoor activities, or styling a corner of your home for a photo session, the familiar and comfortable environment can help everyone feel more at ease, resulting in natural and relaxed photos. After all, home is where the heart is.


Ideal for: Families

Ideal Weather: Rainy

Season: Anytime, especially winter

Parking: Depends on Location

Cons: Costly


A studio photoshoot can provide the perfect solution for large group family photos, especially when faced with endless rain in a typical Vancouver winter forecast. Having a controlled indoor environment ensures that the photoshoot can proceed smoothly without any concerns about getting wet or battling unfavorable conditions. Studios offer ample space to accommodate large groups comfortably, with various backdrops, props, and lighting setups available to suit different preferences and themes.


Moreover, a studio photoshoot allows for greater flexibility and creativity in capturing memorable family portraits. Without the constraints of weather or location, photographers can focus solely on capturing the essence of the family, experimenting with different poses, compositions, and expressions to create timeless images that reflect the unique dynamics and personalities within the group. Additionally, studios provide a level of privacy and intimacy that may be lacking in outdoor settings, allowing families to relax and enjoy the experience without distractions or interruptions.


Furthermore, studio photoshoots offer the convenience of scheduling flexibility, allowing families to book sessions at their convenience regardless of the weather forecast. This ensures that the photoshoot can proceed as planned, avoiding any last-minute cancellations or rescheduling due to inclement weather. With the ability to control every aspect of the shoot, from lighting and background to temperature and ambiance, studios provide an ideal setting for capturing beautiful and memorable family moments, rain or shine.

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