top of page

Top 3 Locations for Photos in Maple Grove

Choosing a location for family photos will greatly affect the overall look and feel of your photos. Knowing where to go and what to look for is such an important step in preparing for family photos! If you're in the Minneapolis area, you might want to consider heading to the north metro for your family photos.

These photos were taken in Elm Creek, which continues to be my favorite place to take family photos in Maple Grove. I love how quiet it is, and I love how the fields change throughout the seasons.

Questions to Ask when Choosing a Location

Before we get into recommended locations for photos in Maple Grove, here are the questions I ask myself when choosing a location for a family photo session:

  • First and foremost, it's aaaaall about the light. Is the light soft and even? Does the location offer shade?

  • Is the location distracting? Busy backdrops and lots of colors can create a lot of distraction. We want YOU to stand out in the photos, not crazy abstract artwork.

  • Is the location busy? I'm not a fan of people in the background.

  • Does the location have variety? This is sometimes called location within the location. This might be a spot of shade, a bench, a field, a bridge, all within walking distance.

  • Is the location hard or easy to access?

  • Is there a location that has special meaning to the family?

Top 3 Locations for Photos in Maple Grove

Based on these questions, there are three locations in Maple Grove that I absolutely love:

01. Elm Creek Park Reserve

Elm Creek Park also has loads of bridges, open paths, and paths with more of a canopy feel. I love having a lot of options within walking distance. And since the park is so big, there aren't too many people around and it feels quiet.

This location is special to me since it was the place where I did my first shoot as a family photographer in MN, but that's not why it's my absolute favorite. One of my preferred looks for photos is the neutral, wispy backdrop of an open field at sundown. This background is gorgeous and un-distracting and makes my subjects pop. What's more, during golden hour the brown and yellow tones of the field make for even more glowy photos.

Photos taken at the beginning of a family photo session in the middle of October in Maple Grove, MN

Elm Creek changes so much with the seasons. Even a couple weeks can make a huge difference! Even within the same location, you can create photos will a very different feel. Photos at sunset in the fall will create warm, soft, and glowy vibes, whereas photos earlier in the day at the start of summer will create a fun and bright vibe.

These photos were taken at the start of summer in one of the fields in Elm Creek. Everything was green, green, green! I love the simplicity of this sort of backdrop. And the trees provided some much-needed shade.

If you're looking for a unique backdrop, The Bottineau House in Elm Creek is a historic house near the chalet. There is an open space next to the house and mature trees in the back, which makes for especially gorgeous photos in the fall time.

If you're a dog lover, it's easy to bring your dog to your family session in Elm Creek! There's even an off leash area for dogs you can head to after your session. This dog park is right next to a pond. There are picnic tables and paths nearby to give plenty of variety for the shoot.

Why head to Elm Creek? From bridges and gorgeous fields to woodsy paths and dog heaven, Elm Creek Park Reserve offers anything and everything you could possible want. I love shooting back lit photos against that wispy, neutral backdrop. As a bonus, the play area in Elm Creek is ginormous, a fun place to hit up with your kids after the shoot.

02. Fish Lake Regional Park

Fish Lake Regional Park offers a quiet beach as well as plenty of trails and bridges. In a single photo session you can spend time in the woods AND the beach! It's the perfect setting for a family lifestyle session. Kids can dip their feet in, throw rocks in the water, play in the sand.

Why take photos at Fish Lake? Great beach option. A bridge is within walking distance from parking. Option of gorgeous golden hour sunset photos on the beach. It's fun for the kids!

These photos were taken at Fish Lake in the springtime. The beach is best photographed near sun down. This was perfect because it wasn't too hot or too cold and the bugs weren't out yet!

03. Inside Your Very Own Home!

This is the most convenient location for a photo shoot! You don't have to worry about forgetting anything or getting spit up on and needing to change your shirt. You don't even have to worry about being on time! Capturing your family in your own home also means that we'll capture some of those details that makes your family who you are. Maybe you're thinking, Uh, my house isn't exactly magazine worthy. If that's you, then check out this post on why in-home photos are the best!

One of the benefits of taking photos in your own home is not having to worry about the weather. Another benefit is the timing of your session is much more flexible.

Why take photos in your own home? It's the most convenient location and will offer the most relaxed of atmospheres. Easy for kids to take a break (or Dad for that matter). And it provides an opportunity for your personal details to be captured.

Final Thoughts on Choosing a Location

Deciding on a location is exciting and fun, and it adds an element of personality to your photos. While a great photographer can take amazing photos of your family anywhere, she'll likely have her favorite spots. What's in the background of a photo can change it completely. Colors and scenery go a long way in creating a vibe! If there's a certain vibe or color you like, tell your photographer! She'll be able to help you achieve it with her location knowledge.

Looking for a Family Photographer in Maple Grove?

I work with a lot of families in Maple Grove. I especially enjoy working with families with young kids! If you're on the hunt for a photographer, send me an email at or give me a call at 612.599.8349. I'd love to hear more about what type of photos you're looking for!


Commenting has been turned off.

Located in Minneapolis, Kara Joy Photography is a lifestyle & documentary photographer who specializes in newborn & family photography. She's known for capturing raw emotion & authentic expressions through a laid-back approach. Her unforced images have a glaze that is natural yet polished. The cherry on top? A quick turnaround time.

fresh 48 minneapolis_edited.png
fresh 48 minneapolis


bottom of page