The following is our list of Minnesota engagement photography locations as of 2105 in no particular order. I decided to create this list to help out clients, as well as other photographers. In my opinion, we should all help each other out with locations, as we can see the beauty that we all create with them. That, and it's nice to know what to expect with certain ones, such as permit fees and more.
Stone Arch Bridge (Minneapolis) - Free, however it is rumored at a $45/hr or $300 a year permit will be required as of 2016. See here.
Style - Urban, Casual, Fun
The Stone Arch Bridge is a staple of Minnesota portraits. It spans the river below St. Anthony Falls and shows off the beautiful landscape. On most days, the bridge is packed with foot and bike traffic, however, with all the times we have shot there, people are tremendously respectful of one another's space. It's a great area. Do not be surprised if your couples ask for this location on a regular basis - it is incredibly popular.
Mill City Museum and Ruins (Minneapolis) - Free
Style - Industrial, Historic
The Mill City Ruins have an amazing historical feel for those looking for a bit of a non-traditional shoot. The museum has a full yard of stone, as well as an industrial look within. The ruins are exactly that - ruins. The stone in the ruins makes for a fantastic backdrop, and one can turn around to utilize the river as a new backdrop merely feet away. It is important to shoot there when there are no other events happening - the area is popular for weddings. You will be asked to leave by the museum staff, plus it is just plain respectful not to be in the background of someone's wedding. Aside from that, this area is popular in general, so be prepared to be patient.
Guthrie Theater (Minneapolis) - Free
Style - Romantic, Traditional
We were just able to shoot in here for the first time this last weekend because it was cold and we figured we would run in. You can see the post here. It is important to have indoor options here in Minnesota. And if you don't know why, you haven't been here long enough. We have had a ton of couples not want to shoot during colder weather because they can't get their ideal images, but when you have some fantastic indoor locations, it isn't a problem. This is that place. The above shot is in the Dowling Studio that is encompassed in amber, overlooking the city. How can you not love the silhouettes, seriously? On top of that, it's FREE!
Quarry Hill Nature Center (Rochester) - Free
Style - Natural, Casual
We have had a few clients from Rochester, which is an area we love. This is one of the many great areas to shoot in Rochester and it is also free. It is very popular for photographers, so it's another place where patience is very much required. We saw about four other photographers there the same day that were working, as well as many more just for fun. This area is beautiful (and open) throughout the year. We don't have any winter engagement samples of this location, but it is beautiful with the snow covering all of the trees and the amazing paths.
Harriet Island (St. Paul) - Free
Style - Light Industrial, Casual, Carefree
This is a location that I personally am not a huge fan of, however, I am in the minority. Kyle, our head photographer who takes all the portrait shots, and the clients LOVE it, so it's going to be included. I'm not a fan of the industrial look of it, but I think the river really is what makes it for people. There are typically a lot of people in the area (the shot above, for example, there was a couple having a picnic behind our clients), so be prepared for that. If you want to get river shots, or have clients who are big fans of the industrial look (we have had many this year) this is certainly a location worth checking out.
Lyndale Park Rose Garden (Minneapolis) - Free
Style - Romantic, Whimsical
This location is ideal for a very nature themed engagement shoot. The springtime is amazing because it is when all the flowers are in bloom, which this park is in abundance of. It's very large and contains numerous paths, the fountain, the rose garden, the Japanese themed garden, and more, making for a number of types of shots in one session.
Alimagnet Lake Park (Savage) - Free
Style - Natural, Romantic
This is a great location, especially in the autumn when all the colors are out. I'm a little bias towards it because we are located in Burnsville and it is about two minutes from us, but it is really an ideal location if you are looking for a more hidden away, forestry area to shoot. The park is actually a dog park, so you'll see a lot of animals on your route. There are numerous paths, and a small creek that is beautiful to shoot in front of. The whole area has a very romantic feel, as you are very much hidden from the world when you go down the paths. Even if there are other people there, you rarely run into them with the size of the area.
Downtown Stillwater (Stillwater) - Free
Style - Historic, Romantic
Stillwater is an obvious choice for so many reasons. My personal favorite is the historical look of the place - I'm a huge history buff. It's a beautiful area in which you can use the riverfront, as well as all the amazing buildings as a backdrop. The shot above was actually taken when we were nearly complete with our shoot when the couple were play dancing in the alley and you wouldn't know that was Minnesota looking at it right away. We have a number of beautiful shots from this area and I would highly recommend taking the time to head out there.
Hidden Falls Regional Park (St. Paul) - Free
Style - Casual, Natural, Whimsical
This park is absolutely beautiful and makes for amazing engagement photos. For those loving the nature feel, I adore this place. It's enormous and houses the rivers edge, trails, waterfalls, and more. Being a regional park, it has hours and days that it is open, so you can't just go in whenever you feel like it. You can see those here. Be sure to plan ahead - it's worth it.
Como Park and Conservatory (St. Paul) - $25 per 30 minute permit for certain areas
Style - Romantic, Natural
This location left me with a bad taste in my mouth when we began shooting there due to their very strict photo policy. I understand why they have it because things would get out of hand if they didn't have it, but be prepared for it. Here is a link to their policy which is heavily enforced. However, I wanted to include it because there are areas in which the permit is required and those in which it is not required. I honestly liked the areas that didn't require a permit far more than those that did, so I want to let people know that you can still get beautiful shots at this area without the permit. The photo above with the gate was in an area that did not require a permit and that area is gorgeous. The same goes for the one below, but there are a lot of things that I'm not a fan of in that area. The big one? The large amount of people (I know you can see them in the shot). It's unavoidable because it's a pretty tight space.
I hope you have enjoyed our small compilations of locations. I will be creating one for our other styles of photography as well, so be on the lookout.
If you are interested in booking a session with us, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, 612-423-2803, or by filling out the form below.
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