Top 10 Photo Shoot Locations in the Twin Cities

by | May 2, 2023 | Locations

My Top 10 Photo Shoot Locations in the Twin Cities


The Twin Cities are a wonderful place for photographers of all skill levels. You can find amazing backdrops, beautiful people and so much more in this area! When I started out it was the perfect canvas for my art and it still is! Below are my top 10  photo shoot locations in the twin cities. By no means is this list exhaustive but its a place to start!

Lyndale Rose and Peace Garden

Located in South Minneapolis this is my favorite place photo shoot location in Minneapolis and just all around a place I love to hang. You may ask- why is it perfect for professional pictures: well beacuse you can shoot in both locations separately or together. It’s a great place to go if you want your picture to feel romantic, but also want a little bit of color in your photos. The gardens are full of roses and other flowers that will make your photos pop! This is my favorite park in Minnesota to lay with my kids and snuggle. They use to fish in the ponds as small kids now they just run like wild animals! But seriously the golden hour is magical here but you can ALWAYS find a spot to shoot regardless the time of day.

Mother to be in red luxury maternity dress during golden hour at Lyndale rose garden minneapolis mn

Mill City Ruins

The Mill City ruins are a must-visit for any photographer. The grounds are beautiful and serene, especially during the winter months when you’re likely to find yourself alone with your camera. The Mill City Museum also hosts occasional events that make for great photo ops–they’ve hosted everything from weddings to concerts by local bands and even yoga classes!

The Farmer’s Market takes place every Saturday from May through October at 9am-1pm at the Mill City Sculpture Garden (right next door) so avoid this time for family and matenrity photos. There are lots of vendors selling food items like fresh produce, baked goods, jams/jellies/preserves etc., as well as other handmade crafts like jewelry or pottery pieces which makes this an awesome place for people watching too- or grabbing some great stock photos. During Fall this place is jammed packed with photographers during the golden hour to I like to switch it up and shoot in the early morning. SO just be aware. Overall this is one of my most requested mini sessions every year so it will be staying on my top 10 favorite Minneapolis photo shoot locations for the foreseeable futrue.

West River Parkway Courtyard

Not farm away from the mill city ruins is the West River Parkway Courtyard which is a public space, but it’s also one of the best places in the Twin Cities to take professional pictures in my opinion. The lighting is always great. I am drawn to places where the I can shoot at 9am and 3pm since I do full mini sessions days. It’s perfect for family photos because there are so many different options for backdrops–from flowers and trees to benches and sculptures- it’s easy to access and you can get a full gallery in 10 minutes. Learn more about mentoring here if you are curious about how I run my mini sessions!

First Ave

First Avenue is a street in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It’s named after the first railroad track in Minneapolis, which ran parallel to First Avenue and connected St. Paul with Minneapolis.

First Avenue has been known as “the street that changed everything” since it was home to Prince’s club First Avenue (formerly known for its live music), which opened in 1970 and closed after his death on April 21st 2016. It’s also where local musicians like Soul Asylum got their start performing there–and still do today! I love it because it is an EPIC and ICONIC place to take pictures.

I’ve personally done family pictures there and I love them! You just can’t go wrong here if you are a music lover. And if you hate music…… what’s going on?

toddler walking by first ave star wall in MINNEAPOLIS Minnesota

James h hill library

The James H. Hill Library is a great place to take photos. It has a beautiful staircase, and the view of the city is spectacular! This is my favorite “lets get fancy and play dress up for photos” place. This library is open to the public, so you can go there any time without having to make an appointment which is ideal for photographers like myself.

The best part about taking pictures here is that it’s free- and we all like free. Am I right?

Hansen tree farm

Hansen Tree Farm is one of the oldest and largest tree farms in Minnesota. It’s a great place to take pictures all year round, but it also has many other uses! The owners are great and super flexible. I bring my favorite velvet couch each year for photos. This spot is ideal because there are so many different backgrounds available here (and they’re all beautiful). There is a charge but it’s worth it. It super easy for client to find you and Hansen tree farm is very organized. I highly recommend them if you do any time of tree farm mini sessions. You won’t be disappointment. I recommend booking early and going at an “off” time so it’s not crowded with other photographers.

Lake Harriet bandshell

The bandshell at Lake Harriet is a perfect spot for professional portraits, because it’s a large SOFT BOX and especially for those who want to make their mark in the Twin Cities. It’s located on the edge of Minneapolis’ largest park and has been hosting concerts since 1883. The bandshell is also known as “the bandstand” because it was originally built as a place where people could congregate while listening to live music performances by local musicians. Make sure to check the event calendar to see if something is going on there! Find  a day and time where there is nothing happening. October is a great time.

Mom wearing a vintage flower dress holding toddler on her lap at Lake Harriet bandshell

pregnant mother wearing white maternity dress standing in the middle of Lake Harriet bandshell in Minneapolis MN

Stone Arch bridge

Here’s a little history for you. The Stone Arch Bridge is the longest stone arch bridge in the world. It’s also a prominent landmark in Minneapolis, and it was built in 1883. The Stone Arch Bridge has been designated as a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of Interior because of its importance to transportation and engineering history; however, many people don’t know that it makes for great professional pictures! Just try and go during off times and when no events are being help because it is a busy place! This place is beautiful at the right time and my clients always adore their photos. You can’t go wrong taking pictures here.


The Twin Cities is a great place to shoot, and there are many locations that can help you create the look and feel you want for your photos. From urban landscapes to natural beauty, there’s something here for everyone. My personal favorite places are Lyndale Rose Garden and Peace Garden because they offer lots of colors and textures that make great backdrops for portraits or group shots and I live super close. Interested in a mini session with me? Check out what I have available here. If you live outside the cities don’t worry I have you covered.

Jessica Strobel holding multi-colored doughnuts over her eyes, smiling wide

Hey! I'm Jessie - 

And I'm so glad you're here!



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