The best part about being near Minneapolis (and having lived there for ten years) is being familiar with so many wonderful locations for great photos! With Maple Grove, MN now being my home base, I've been working on scouting out the best locations for family photos right in my own back yard.
No 3. Central Park in Maple Grove
Central Park in Maple Grove offers a wide open space, tended landscaping, and stone elements. This is an excellent location to get creative with families loosely posed on stone seating or walking. There are also park benches for a more urban vibe.
Why it ranks in a nutshell: Central location. Beautiful landscaping, stone paths, and stone structures. Kids can play at the park afterwards (or during the shoot). Option to add a documentary element to your shoot of your kids playing at the park!
No 2. Fish Lake Regional Park
This is a new spot for me, and I'm so excited to explore it more! From my initial scout out, I've gathered this: Fish Lake Regional Park has an adorable beach as well as plenty of trails and bridges. In a single photo session we can hit up a bridge AND the beach! Which are perfect settings for family lifestyle sessions. Kids can dip their feet in, throw rocks in the water, play in the sand. We can sneak in those classic family shots and the kids will hardly notice!
Why it ranks in a nutshell: A bridge is within walking distance from parking. Option of gorgeous golden hour sunset photos on the beach. Fun for the kids.
No 1. 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 in close proximity.
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 ranks No 1. One of my favorite looks for photos is that neutral, wispy backdrop that a field provides. 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.
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.
Are you a dog lover? Bring your dog to your family session! There's an off leash area for dogs in Elm Creek. 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 it ranks in a nutshell: From bridges to fields to woodsy paths to dog heaven, Elm Creek Park Reserve offers anything and everything you could possible want. I love shooting back lit photos here due to 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.
A note about choosing a location
Deciding on a location is exciting and fun, and it adds an element of personality to your photos. Just remember though, a great photographer can take excellent photos of your family ANYWHERE. Think of a fab location as more of an extra shot of espresso in your Monday morning coffee.