If you haven’t already, it’s time to start planning a holiday photo session for your family, especially if you have photo cards to send to loved ones in the coming weeks!
But you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a nice Christmas or holiday-themed photo of your family. Here are some frugal photo-taking options in the Twin Cities area to consider:
COMO ZOO CONSERVATORY
The beautiful Como Zoo Conservatory offers special Artist, Photographer & Family Photo Hours for anyone to come and take pictures. Gather the family for pictures in one of the Conservatory gardens. It’s also a great opportunity for artists and photographers to bring in their easels and tripods before hours. The cost is $5 per person and there are two dates available:
Sunday, November 17th, 2013
8:00 am to 10:00 am
Sunday, December 8th, 2013
8:00 am to 10:00 am
MINNESOTA LANDSCAPE ARBORETUM
The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska will get all decked out for the season starting November 29th. From then until January 5th the Arboretum will offering live music, visits with Santa, a live 20-ft. poinsettia tree and enchanting holiday decor. There are plenty of beautiful spots for a picture, whether you choose an outdoor winter wonderland of gardens or indoors by the live poinsettia tree. Unless you’re a member, the cost to get in is $12 per adult (kids 12 & under free). However, the Arboretum is free all day on Thursdays from November to March.
RICE PARK IN ST. PAUL
Rice Park is a little, island-like park in the center of St. Paul with a free outdoor ice skating rink. Starting on November 30th, it will be powered by Xcel Energy to capture the spirit of the holiday season with a tree as tall and bright as the iconic Rockefeller Center tree in New York City. The gigantic tree in Rice Park will be lit 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The 2013 – 2014 tree will be lit with 15,000 energy-efficient LED lights. The park will sparkle with millions of twinkling lights, classic Nutcracker and angel statues, and other holiday décor. A great place to snap a family photo!
Consider an upscale hotel lobby for a family photo. The St. Paul Hotel is located near Rice Park and with a gorgeous lobby, holiday decorations and a fire in the fireplace, would make a great backdrop. The decorations are up in mid-November and “14 trees, 17 wreaths and a lot of garland illuminate the hotel for the season.”
SANTA PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES
If you’re just looking for a great photo opportunity with Santa, here are several ways to meet him:
- Shopping Malls like the Mall of America (in the Sears Court). This may be the priciest option as Santa there is actually taking reservations online, but if you’re heading there anyway it might be worth it.
- Macy’s Santaland in downtown Minneapolis. This free, annual display opens up on November 23rd. “Take a trip through the magical elf village on your way to Macy’s Santaland. Join us once again for the magical tale of Santa’s elves as they prepare for the big day. Afterwards, meet old Saint Nick, tell him everything on your holiday wish list and have your picture taken together.”
- Your local community center. I know my local community center has a holiday community event and you can take pictures with Santa for free (with your own camera).
Churches are also a great place for a family Christmas photo, and we’ve used our own in the past.
Professional photographers offer mini-sessions. Typically used for professional business headshots, you can ask for one for your family. They can take enough pictures to give you some good choices.
What places do you go to? I’d love to hear more ideas and share them here!