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Secret Twin Cities Location Guide

Where to find the best spots to shoot in the Twin Cities.

The key to getting the most compelling engagement and wedding photos is LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. It’s a real estate cliche, but it’s so true. I myself, love murals and architecture and abandoned spaces. Industrial areas work as a great juxtaposition with a beautiful couple and a “dirty” landscape. It’s always an adventure.

I try to get my couples to block off at least an hour for portraits during their wedding day, if possible. It’s often a great time for them to have some alone time with each other, as well. You don’t realize it, but with everything that’s happening throughout the day you get very little actual time together as a couple.

The portrait session of the day is a great way to have fun with your fiance, get some amazing photos, then get back to your party.

So why do most photographers pick the same boring locations? CUZ IT’S EASY.

But nothing that’s easy is ever inspiring, in my opinion. Sometimes the coolest locations are right in front of you, you just don’t realize it.

For instance… my first example… THE STONE ARCH BRIDGE.

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a better way to stone arch…

EVERYONE SHOOTS AT THE STONE ARCH BRIDGE. Go out on a Saturday afternoon and it’s crawling with photographers and couples and wedding parties. But did you know… if you go down a creaky old staircase on the northeast side of the bridge, it takes you down below? It’s a nice, peaceful quiet place with a fantastic view of the bridge from water level, as well as some great graffiti walls, and a gorgeous nature path with limestone cliffs that lead to the old Mill ruins. Wayyyy cooler than standing on a dang bridge with 500 other people.

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finding a new angle.

Staying in the same area… let’s talk about the Guthrie. I LOVE the Guthrie, but, c’mon.. everyone shoots the same places. Look for something a little different in plain sight. For example… these giant portraits can frame a couple in a unique way that really makes them stand out.

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Staying near downtown, a great hidden gem is the Hewing Hotel rooftop. If you buy a round of drinks and don’t act like an asshole, the Hewing is very accommodating to wedding parties and engaged couples wanting to shoot. Keep it a secret, though, please.

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rain or shine (or snow).

make the best of any weather.

Just across the bridge into northeast, I love shooting at the I Like You storefront wall. I know a lot of photogs and instagrammers use it, but IT’S COOL, OKAY?? Plus, right down the street is this badass Minneapolis mural that works great for Save The Date cards, etc.

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Speaking of murals… I am in love with this giant shark on the side of the Nomad on the West Bank…

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post-industrial.

on the north side you can find this beautiful relic of post-industrial mpls. next to lupelin brewing co., this giant complex has yet to be demolished and if you’re willing to crawl through a hole in the fence you will find an amazing location for your haunting & beautiful abandoned-chic portraits.

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Not to leave out St. Paul… looking for a slice of nature right in the city? This hidden gem of a park is, believe it or not, just five minutes from downtown St. Paul, and I’ve literally never seen another photographer or couple using it. The Bruce Vento Bird Sanctuary might be tricky to find, but it’s a perfect location if you’re looking to get that beautiful natural Minnesota look without driving far.

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So I guess that’s all I should give away to you for now. I’m constantly updating my hidden location list, always scouting for the coolest new spots. If you have any secret places around the Twin Cities that you like, definitely let me know!

I hope this has helped you think about the kinds of locations you’d like for your session. I prefer to do a variety of looks in every engagement/wedding portrait session, with a good mix of urban and nature combining for a killer photo collection.

Happy wedding planning… and always remember: F*CK BORING WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY!