My heart is so drawn to the visual telling of stories. I would seriously love to come be a fly on the wall at any of your family outings, adventures, or vacations, document the whole thing, and preserve those photos for you in an heirloom album. 

And while I would be up for an adventure session (seriously – book a call and let’s chat), most of my clients are looking for a standard 60-90 minute session as opposed to bringing a photographer in tow for the latest warm-weather getaway. With that in mind, this blog is centered around finding that “right” location for your annual family photos (spoiler alert there is no “right” location, but I’ve got some ideas to help jog your brain.)

Choosing places to take family photos can be tough - and with all the other things swirling around your never-ending to-do list, it’s no surprise that most of my clients usually throw up their hands and say, “You’re the expert, Miranda – tell us where to go.” Trust me, I get it. And I do have some go-to Twin Cities locations for your family photos that I can suggest if you get stuck. Ultimately, your photos will be just that much better if you pick a location that's meaningful to you. Let me walk you through some preliminary food for thought to jumpstart your brainstorming on possible family photo locations.

Dive in by asking yourself the following questions: 

1. Where the Heart is: What specific locations have significance for your family? 

Let me just start by saying that I live for in-home sessions (what location could possibly be more meaningful than your family home? Also, if you’re on the fence about whether your home is “right” for in-home family photos, check out this post

That said, I get that not every family wants to do an in-home session (or maybe you just like to switch it up year after year.) Either way, there are so many ways to incorporate meaningful places to take family photos into your family photo session. This adorable couple requested to hold their maternity session at their wedding site in Minneapolis, starting with the ice cream shop where they shared ice cream on their wedding day. Each location provided the perfect backdrop to celebrate their growing family. The results speak for themselves, and I couldn’t possibly love them any more.

2. Activities over Coordinates: What does your family like to do together?

If you’re stumped on specific family photo sites that speak to your crew, try thinking about it from an activities perspective. What do you and your family like to do together? Do you have a weekly donut ritual? Let’s book at a bakery! Do your kids love splashing around in the water? Let’s meet at a creek or a beach! Do you love your vinyl listening parties? Support a local small business by holding your session there as you grab some new albums from your favorite record store. (For more food for thought on incorporating meaningful activities and/or props into your session, click here.)

3. Embrace the Unknown: Is there any place you’ve been meaning to go explore, but you just haven’t gotten there yet? Or is your family always going out on new adventures? 

When all else fails, I’m always up for exploring something new! Some of my favorite places to take family photos are in new-to-us sites we’ve explored together for the first time. 

Though our kids used to attend day care together just minutes from Hidden Valley Park in Savage, neither of our families had ever been to it. I met this sweet family at the park for their family photos, and I adore these images so much. They capture the sense of playfulness and adventure that came along with exploring this new territory. The creek access combined with natural-inspired play structures made the perfect backdrop for this family’s fall adventure.

If you’ll excuse me for a minute, I’m going to step away and happy cry again that this next adorable family still comes back to see me every year even after their move to sunny southern CA 🥹 We had scheduled a summer session, but their travel plans changed and we ended up needing to reschedule for late November. We had been chatting about a few places to take their family photos outdoors when the family ultimately decided the windy 30-degree weather was just not going to work, and we ended up stumbling across (and booking at) Rochester Art Center. We had a blast exploring the space, and to say I’m thrilled with how perfectly the setting became as a backdrop for the session would be an understatement.

It seems somewhat counterintuitive to say that my favorite locations are either locations that are super meaningful or locations that none of us has ever set foot in, but I think there’s something to be said about documenting the adventure of exploring a brand new space. 

If you’re as pumped as I am now about creating a visual masterpiece with a true-to-you backdrop, let’s chat! My spring calendar is open and I would love to help make that magic happen for your family. Let’s tell your family’s story in frames that will continue to resonate for generations to come.

A photo of Miranda appears "taped" next to her contact information