Santi is a senior at Adrienne C. Nelson High School and enjoys playing soccer, video games, and hanging out with his friends and family. He’s been playing soccer his entire life, and looks forward to playing even more soccer when he heads off to college.

Of course, Santi wanted some senior pictures to show off his love for soccer. But he also wanted to have his senior portraits photographed in the Columbia River Gorge, where I helped his older brother Diego create his senior portraits just a few years ago.

The Columbia River Highway is one of my favorite destination locations for high school senior portraits.  Not only is it an iconic option for any Oregonian, but it has some of the most picturesque portrait backdrops that the Pacific Northwest has to offer. Whether you a hiker, backpacker, or you just love great views and waterfalls!

We began Santi’s senior portrait session at the Vista House. The Vista House, perched atop Crown Point, provides a breathtaking panoramic backdrop with sweeping views up the Columbia River channel. The towering and grandeur structure marks the start of the historic highway. And it’s stone facade complemented the bold blue dress suit that Santi chose to wear as his first outfit for his senior portrait session..

From there, we moved down into the valley to explore several of the most recognized waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge. This was the perfect background to show off Santi’s preferred senior pictire outfits: flannel shirts, jeans, and his jean jacket.

Latourell Falls, which is practically nestled in the shadow of the Vista House, is known for its sinigle-drop plunge from a towering basalt cliff. The falls create a mesmerizing scene of cascading water surrounded by lush greenery. It’s the perfect spot for the adventurous high school senior who is willing to scramble over slippery, moss-covered rocks and embrace the cold mist from the waterfall. The reward of course is a stunning background that tells the story of a high school senior who loves the Pacific Northwest and his home State of Oregon.

From Latourelle Falls, we travelled a bit further up the historic highway. We passed by the always busy Wahkeena Falls and the sensationalized and touristy Multnomah Falls.  And drove even further beyond the Oneonta Gorge, which still remains closed due to safety and landslide concerns stemming from the Eagle Creek forest fire that decimated much of the Columbia River Gorge in 2017. 

Eventually, we arrived at Horsetail Falls. Horsetail Falls, named because of its flowing cascade that resembles a horse’s tail, adds a dynamic and powerful element to the senior pictures.  Not only are the falls stunning, but the nearby stone walls and staircase that leads to the base of the falls gives options for more sophisticated portraits that strengthen the natural beauty of the falling water and moss-covered rocks.

As the daylight was fading, Santi and I made our way back down the historic highway and stopped at Corbett High School on our way back to Portland.  Here we took advantage of some soccer goals sitting unused in the grassy fields behind the school.  We were able capture some final senior pictures of Santi with his soccer ball and jersey, leaving him with a wide variety of senior portraits to show off his high school senior year.

And I make it a point to end my senior portrait sessions with a beautiful family portraits whenever possible!

Would you like to explore a destination location like the Columbia River Gorge or Mount Hood Forest for your high school senior portrait session? Learn more at!

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