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Lifestyle and Portrait Photography in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe


7017 S. Priest Dr., Tempe AZ 85283

© 2020 by Dave Bentley Photography

Best Photoshoot Locations Around Phoenix

Updated: Mar 31

Living in Arizona, we're blessed with many, many different and beautiful backdrops to use for family, senior, engagement, and modeling photoshoot locations. The Phoenix metro area offers an array of different styles and vibes, from retro/urban, to iconic and scenic desert backdrops.

Choosing a 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? That's why I've decided to start cultivating a list of "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 planning your family, senior, engagement, wedding, or modeling photography session, 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. While there are many great locations that do not require permits or charge, there are many that are now charging fees or becoming restricted due to carelessness of others.

Photoshoot Location Ideas For Family, Engagement, Senior, and Modeling Photography Sessions in Arizona

Apache Junction

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.


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.

Tumbleweed Ranch Park

Fountain Hills

Fountain Hills Lake Overlook Trail

The Fountain Park

McDowell Mountain Regional Park


Freestone Park

Riparian Preserve - Another popular East Valley photoshoot location, especially for family photography sessions.

Water Ranch Lake


Sahuaro Ranch Park

Thunderbird Conservation Park


Coon Bluff Campground -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 this year, 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.

Desert Trails Park

Downtown Mesa - Including the Mesa Arts Center

Mesa Community College Rose Garden

Usery Mountain Regional Park

Water Users Recreation Site - Another very popular location for family photography sessions. Check out some samples from this Maternity session along the Salt River.


Lake Pleasant Regional Park


Camelback Mountain

Desert Botanical Gardens - No fee required outside of entry fee.

Dobbins Lookout

Downtown Phoenix

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

South Mountain

San Tan Valley and Queen Creek

Encanterra Country Club

Queen Creek Olive Mill

San Tan Mountain Regional Park


Boulders Resort & Spa

McDowell Sonoran Preserve

Taliesin West


White Tank Mountain Regional Park


Hayden Butte

Mill Avenue

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 locations available around Phoenix for your next photography session in Arizona. Over time, I hope to update this with more info on whether permits/fees are required.

Do you have some other favorite 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.