There are so many fantastic locations in and around Sioux Falls to take your family photos. We really are blessed with some amazing parks and areas that make for great backdrops.
Just like any Sioux Falls photographer, I have a handful of favorite spots that I rotate through. I always love when families come to me with ideas for their sessions, but it’s definitely not necessary! Honestly, the biggest thing I’m looking for when picking a location is the light. Light can make or break a session, and as long as the light is good, I feel good.
These spots are my favorites because of the way the light plays as it rises and sets. It just so happens that they also happen to be gorgeous for other reasons too! Here are a few of my favorite spots in Sioux Falls for your next photo session.
If you’re reading this and you’re a photographer, you probably knew I was going to mention Sertoma Park first. I love this location! And it’s great for me because I’m a west sider 😉 This place is minutes from my house which is so convenient.
I love shooting at this spot no matter the season, but I do have a soft spot for it in the fall. The grass gets more golden and the sunlight catches the trees perfectly. It’s gorgeous, and definitely my go-to spot. Often times I have families ask to take photos in a big open field, and Sertoma is my favorite spot to do that in Sioux Falls because there is still decent coverage from the sun, but it’s open enough that you can get great light at sunset.
Perry Nature Area
I had no idea this area existed until right before we moved to Sioux Falls, and it felt like a hidden oasis. It’s one of those spots that doesn’t feel like it’s just minutes from town, and it offers a ton of great scenery. Perry is past Willow Run Golf Course on the east side of Sioux Falls. On a map, it’s actually referred to as the Mary Jo Wegner Arboretum. There are some bridges, tons of little hills, tall grasses, big trees, walking paths, fences … tons to choose from!
Perry Nature Area has a couple gorgeous weeping willow trees, and some big fields as well. There is a stream that runs through it, and depending on how light it is when you’re shooting, the water is a really fun place to shoot, especially for a senior or couple. In the spring and summer there are always wildflowers in the ditches, which are really fun for pops of color.
Because of all the versatility at this spot, it’s really flexible in different lighting situations. I’ll often use it on super bright days because there are many areas that have nice diffused light; but at sunset there are also open spots for a perfect sunset shot.
Located barely outside of Sioux Falls, past Willow Run Golf Course but not quite as far as Perry, Arrowhead has a small lake and beautiful, grassy fields. There are only a couple large trees, so I think this place is best at sunrise or sunset when the sun is nice and low (especially if you want to stay near the water area).
There’s nothing quite like the look of a sunset on a prairie, and you can definitely get that look at Arrowhead. There are also a ton of geese and ducks around, so if your kids are adventures, you can throw in some bread for the birds to snack during your family photos. I’m afraid of birds, so I steer clear!
Terrace Park / Japanese Gardens
I love the green vines on the terrace at Terrace Park, so I prefer this spot in mid to late summer and early fall. It’s also best when the sun is diffusing through the trees, so I like it in the early morning and later in the evening (depending on the time of year, of course).
The lower area–the Japanese Gardens–is also a beautiful Sioux Falls spot, though in my opinion more finicky to shoot because the timing has to be perfect! I prefer this area in the spring, in the early morning. The light tends to be best then, and the flowers are in full bloom so you can really see the Japanese Gardens in their full glory. It’s amazing!
This is kind of cheating because Wall Lake is actually in Wall Lake, SD, not Sioux Falls, but it’s close enough to the city to make it a really easy spot if you’re up for a quick drive. I love the grassy fields and high tree line here, and the docks are also super fun to shoot on if the sun is not too high.
Typically I’m not a huge fan of shooting trunks of trees–I’d much prefer to see some green!–but I make an exception for the matchstick-looking trees at Tomar. I just love the look of these and this spot is thick with them–it’s gorgeous! The sun comes through the branches just right, and it looks like magical woods.
Whether you’re a photographer or just a connoisseur of gorgeous locations, what do you think? What are some your favorite spots for photos in Sioux Falls? Anything you’d add to this list?