5 HIDDEN GEM LOCATIONS FOR PORTRAITS NEAR THE TWIN CITIES

Over the past five years, I have come to learn that I live in one of the most perfect spots for a photographer. City skylines, waterfalls, hidden beaches, rustic buildings, and rolling hills all within a short 20 minute drive from each other. You truly cannot find this anywhere else but in the beautiful Twin Cities. 

Now the fun part, of actually "finding" them ;)

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1. ST. ANTHONY MAIN

Ah, perhaps the most famous rock in the Twin Cities for photography yet it is in the most secret and inconspicuous spot. I'll admit it took me a hot minute to find it, but once I did, the location around it was just as iconic as the rock itself! St. Anthony Main sits on the East side of the gorgeous Stone Arch Bridge, and gives photographers like me the sweetest backdrop EVER...the Minneapolis skyline. Now where exactly is that rock ledge over the river? Right across the street from the adorable Aster Cafe. It doesn't look anything special, but a tiny walk down toward the river and TA-DA! Right smack dab next to the power plant we have this beauty. A short stroll down the street of Aster cafe also gives you a wide variety of backdrops in a short distance. A photographer's dream spot, honestly.  

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2. CENTENNIAL LAKES PARK

Located in the heart of Edina, I found this location while just looking for a Starbucks to edit in and HOLY BUCKETS we have this hidden park in the middle of multiple apartment complexes!? YUP. Vastly different backdrops circle the perimeter of the cutest little river. Water fountains, bridges, cement stairs, and even a putt putt golf course have given me the perfect spot for sessions that only include one location while still giving clients amazing varying backdrops. 11/10 recommend.

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3. ST. CROIX BLUFFS PARK

A little farther away from the cities than the other locations but absolutely worth the trek, we have St. Croix Bluffs. Not even pictured are the open fields this location also provides. I have noticed the rolling hills look is a hot commodity amongst my seniors, so this location is absolutely perfect. White sandy beaches give the true summer feel to my sessions. The view of the enormous river in the background is actually breathtaking, and makes for a fun editing experience.  I will note, it is $7 to enter the park, and on a beautiful summer day the loading dock parking lot fills quickly. This location works best during weekdays! 

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4. COMO ZOO AND CONSERVATORY

Not so much a hidden gem, but definitely an underestimated one. This location is one of my all-year-round go tos. It is beautiful in every season, and in the winter gives you an indoor option with as much if not more greenery than a Minnesota summer. I die everytime I get a chance to edit the blues and greens of the conservatory, and take my winter clients here for the pine tree clumps that make for perfect Christmas card backdrops. A short drive away and still in the park is the Historic Streetcar Station...highly suggest using that as a second location!

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5. BOOM ISLAND

A hidden lighthouse in the middle of a city?? You betcha. Boom Island is filled with bridges, nature backdrops, and a random lighthouse that just adds such character to photos. While you cannot get close to the lighthouse as I would have hoped, you can fit it in the background all around the park. Highly HIGHLY suggest coming here in the fall...the colors are TO. DIE. FOR.

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STAY TUNED.

The Twin Cities aren't only a portrait photographer's dream...but an engagement session's perfect hub. Stay tuned for when we look at the best hidden couple's session locations around Minneapolis and St. Paul. :)