One of my favorite places to take photos in the winter time is in the ice caves at Minnehaha Falls. You're not really supposed to be in the ice cave - which is the falls fully frozen... but I'm not afraid of a little trespassing in the name of Art. If you aren't either I'm game to capture you in this incredible if not other worldly spot. Just be prepared, there is quite a hike prior to getting to the cave and it's going to be muddy. Boots that are waterproof are best for this adventure. I learned this the hard way! http://www.minneapolisparks.org/?PageID=4&parkid=252
A classic and nostalgic spot for outdoor winter portraits is The Landing formerly Murphy's Landing in Shakopee just past ValleyFair on Highway 101 which is part of the Three Rivers Park District. Most Twin Cities natives will have taken a field trip here at some point in Elementary School to discover how the pioneers spent their lives. If so you'll be surprised if you haven't visited in awhile. This true to life pioneer settlement is complete with log cabins, school house, and town. The view over the Minnesota River Valley is incredible. The Landing admission is FREE! I recommend visiting during one of the Holiday events. You'll really enjoy it, and of course lunch in downtown Shakopee just a few minutes away. http://www.threeriversparks.org/parks/the-landing.aspx
The minnesota landscape arboretum
The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum offers several different outdoor spaces and gardens, even in the dead of winter to capture some beautiful images. My favorite engagement shoot was shot here in the Spring and the photos turned out amazing. There is a fee to enter, $12 per person ages 13 and up. However every Thursday is FREE until March! The Arboretum closes during the winter at 4:30 pm. With trails and even snowshoeing available during the winter this is a great spot to be photographed or spend a snowy afternoon in the outdoors. http://www.arboretum.umn.edu/directions.aspx
The Minneapolis institute of arts
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts or the MIA allows anyone to photograph in the galleries. In fact, they encourage it! The bonus of shooting in the gallery is that it is perfectly lit. No flash is allowed, but you don't really need it anyway. There are lots of different areas to get some great photos, and you can spend the day - FREE of charge viewing some really beautiful artwork. There is a little cafe, and a gift shop with loads of unusual items. The MIA is located in the heart of South Minneapolis, with a park located right outside its doors. This way you can get some great indoor shots, and some great outdoor shots too! I really love this gallery. You can't beat the price, and its a great way to spend an afternoon. The gallery is closed on Mondays, and I recommend if you would like to be photographed here doing so during the week either Tuesday or Wednesday. http://new.artsmia.org/
The Como conservatory
The Como Conservatory is another wonderful location for photography. With free admission (recommended donation of $5) it fits the budget and is an oasis in the dead of winter. They are welcoming to people taking pictures as long as we do not take up walkways or hinder the mobility of others enjoying the botanical gardens. Tri-pod photography isn't allowed and with low lighting this is going to be an early daytime location. This location is best for photographing only one or two people. Modeling editorial style shots or an engagement session would be perfect here. http://www.comozooconservatory.org/
Studio C7, Saint Paul
Studio C7 is an hourly photo rental studio with wonderful Northern light. I run my own business out of the studio and have made it available to anyone looking to create indoors. There is a changing room, sink, fridge, and other amenities in the studio.
Check out the website here for additional hourly rental information.
I hope you found these locations inspiring, and will give you the confidence to take on a winter photo shoot! They can be really quite whimsical and romantic!
Please feel free to email me any questions at NouvelleDesignStudio@gmail.com