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Top Five Family Portrait Park Locations in Sioux Falls - Which Sioux Falls Parks are Best for photos!!
Sioux Falls Parks for Portraits

Shalista Photography – Top Five Portrait Locations in Sioux Falls

There are so many key elements to making a strong family portrait. One of the more important factors can be location. Picking a location that matches your personality, decor and vibe is important to the longevity of your images. When you making a time and money investment into a portrait that will hang for years, make sure your location meets all your requirements! Luckily Sioux Falls has plenty of beautiful park spaces. I could have made a bigger list, but I kept it to the five most popular!

Shalista Photography created this beautiful cousin portrait at Great Bear Park east of Sioux Falls!

Shalista Photography created this beautiful cousin portrait at Great Bear Park east of Sioux Falls!

Location, location, location. What is IN a location? Short answer:  everything! Choosing the perfect location for your portraits can feel overwhelming. In no time at all the padded baby feet on the stone walkways give way to the cleats, high heels and expensive sneakers of tomorrows teenagers preparing to take those next steps into adulthood at their senior session.

I know all the best places to highlight the personalities of your tribe, locations perfect for that sunset shot you want gracing the wall, the sassy stone walls that make your Senior stand out, and those perfect rolling fields for your toddler to toddle through. Oh, and one more thing:  your location needs to have a bathroom. It’s the unglamorous side of portrait work, but those tiny rooms are useful for little ones to use and to make quick clothing changes in! The locations I suggest will fit the bill of everything you’re looking for, and below I’ve listed my very favorites for you to consider for the next time we get together!

McKennan Park

His parents were married in McKennan Park a few years ago! What a great place for first family photos!

His parents were married in McKennan Park a few years ago! What a great place for first family photos!

McKennan Park is a historical park with easy access from the city center.  Enveloped in natural South Dakota beauty, it has different blooms through the year and Chery Blossom trees in early Spring. The manicured grass and stone walkways are a plus for those tiny toddler legs to navigate easily, and the plethora of flowers makes for nice pops of color.

My favorite times for lighting up those special moments at McKennan Park is morning or evening. A favorite wedding spot, it can fun to venture back there over the years to capture your growing family on the same walkways where you first walked as a husband and wife.

McKennan Park is right in the center of Sioux Falls, just south of downtown and west of the Avera McKennan Hospital campus. Find out more here:

Good Earth State Park

South Dakota’s newest state park, Good Earth State Park, is quite literally nature’s playground.   I think back on session’s we’ve done at Good Earth and I hear that tune in my head: … “sun, sun… Mr. Golden Sun….”.  Almost everywhere you go, the sun is shining through some of the oldest habitations that South Dakota has to offer. Soft golden rays flood the fields of wildflowers and tall grasses which are perfect textures for Senior Sessions and Family Portraits. There is a river to wade through; trees literally bend over the pathway creating a fun and unique archway.  Because it is a state park, we need a park pass to enter, or we can pay for the gate. However, I can assure you that the images will far surprise the price of admission!

The Outdoor Campus - Sertoma Park

Located close to my studio is The Outdoor Campus, one of the area’s premier outdoor education centers. While we won’t be there to take a bow & arrow lesson (but you totally can if you’re so inclined!), its grounds are well manicured and brimming with natural growth. We can spend the morning following your little one exploring one of the many trails, or visit the ducks on the duck pond. Or, we might get this party started later in the afternoon to capture your entire brood gathered on the dock with the evening sun casting a warm glow on everyone.  Easy to get to, and easy to park at, The Outdoor Campus is a perfect spot for those larger family sessions. A popular Sioux Fall portrait location, it can get busy; however, my favorite times to work there are morning or evenings.

The Outdoor Campus is very easy to find, right along 49th Street and the Big Sioux River. More information here:

The Japanese Gardens and terrace park

The Japanese Gardens are simply breathtaking. Enveloped in amazing architecture and stone stairways, there are limitless posing possibilities, especially for larger family groups. Along the water's edge is a great space to reflect as a group, or as a Senior embarking on those first steps into adulthood. My very favorite spot is a pathway right along the edge of the water where there are tall grasses and green trees to fill the backdrop with natural textures and the morning sun peaks through giving everything a golden, sunny glow:  it’s magic. Add to that the Cherry Blossom trees that bloom in early Spring, and you have a fantastic location for recording all those smiles.

The Japanese Gardens and Terrace Park are a lovely piece of Sioux Falls History and you can find them here:

Mary Jo Wagner Arboretum - Perry Nature Area

Posing on one of the many bridges at the Mary Jo Wagner Arboretum makes family sessions a breeze.  Not without the usual South Dakota beauty of tall grass and woodsy trails, what sets this park apart from the others is the wood fencing and various brides which provide for a variety of poses.  Of course, a location as exclusive as this one needs a permit to shoot in, which I already have! I especially love this location in fall when the leaves create a colorful mosaic in your images.

You can learn more about the Mary Jo Wagner Arboretum on their website:

It’s always a good time for family portraits.

There are few places in the world as gorgeous as South Dakota, and our fantastic selection of local and State parks are a great way to capture your family through the years.  Family pictures, Senior Sessions, portraits are easy when the world is your natural studio. Contact me and let’s get your 2019 session on the books as summer and fall are filling up!


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