My Favorite Minneapolis Wedding Venues

Posted by MarkAnderson on March 05, 2014
Minneapolis, Wedding Photography / Comments Off on My Favorite Minneapolis Wedding Venues

Minneapolis wedding venues

There are so many beautiful places to get married at here in Minneapolis, Minnesota. As a wedding photographer I have been to all kinds of venues. I wanted to touch on a few of my favorites and share my reasons for choosing them. Minneapolis has such a variety of venues; historic, entertainment oriented, and modern. There are so many gorgeous locations around the Twin Cities for couples to tie the knot and photographers will really enjoy taking photos there as well!

Millennium Hotel Minneapolis

wedding venues minneapolisFirst up, the Millennium Hotel in Minneapolis is by far one of the most stunning wedding venues in the Twin Cities. Whether you are planning for a small guest list of close family and friends or a much bigger occasion of up to 500 guests, this hotel offers a choice of tasteful aesthetics in it’s visual design and decor. It provides a panoramic skyline view for a stunning wedding backdrop and features a beautiful dome on the 14th floor. It makes it a very unique and memorable venue in Minneapolis. The Dome allows for up to 160 guests and has floor-to-ceiling windows that offer breathtaking views of Minneapolis. The Marquis Ballroom and Studios are wonderful alternatives to the Dome, and offer impressive views of the downtown skyline as well. Another wonderful part of this wedding venue is that it comes with a team of dedicated wedding experts! They are helpful in planning every detail of the wedding. I’ve co-shot this venue twice now with fellow Minneapolis wedding photographer Dan Oksnevad, and we both agree, it’s one of our favorite reception sites!

Minneapolis Target Field

Second, if you are into sports and love entertainment, say “I do” and hit a home-run at Target Field in downtown Minneapolis! You can get married on the same field that the Minnesota Twins play on! You can also treat your guests to private tours of the field and all the behind-the-scenes access it has to offer. The field is personalized to each wedding with video screens that display whatever message you’d like. Target Field has a very talented group of graphic designers that will make your graphics and messages both impressive and stunning to look at. How about a photo-shoot in the dugout or at home plate? The Twins have one of the best grounds crews in the MLB and with Target Field’s underground irrigation system, the grass is sure to be in perfect shape. It may be about the tuxes and dresses at most weddings, but why not get personalized Twins jerseys for the Bride and Groom? That would be a fun way to fit right into the venue and show your true colors. You can add a feeling of urban sophistication by putting your guests in the Metropolitan Club for the reception with breathtaking views of the field and Minneapolis skyline. Target Field offers many different catering options for all budgets and styles. It’s a win for sure!

Historic Wesley Center – Minneapolis

wedding photography minneapolisThe Historic Wesley Center is a beautifully distinctive historic landmark, with cherry wood interior and red stone exterior. Built in 1891 and located in Downtown Minneapolis, this venue seats up to 1,000 wedding guests and offers a historic setting for your wedding. It has a curved balcony that wraps around with a formal staircase into the sanctuary, making for beautiful indoor photographs. The venue includes a baby grand piano and a pipe organ, sure to delight music lovers of all kinds. It is also equipped with a professional sound system if you’re looking to have a wedding dance. This former church (Wesley United Methodist Church) welcomes people of all faith traditions and backgrounds to celebrate their weddings in this classy setting. This venue has been a long-standing favorite across Minneapolis and Saint Paul.

Photographing Weddings in Minneapolis MN

These three are just a few of the many downtown Minneapolis, MN wedding venue locations you should consider as a Bride and Groom. They’re also ones I would dream about as a wedding photographer as I looked through other wedding photographer Minneapolis MN websites and hoped to one day have a similar portfolio! I have come to the understanding that Minneapolis is a beautiful city with great history, art, culture, and most importantly people. Minneapolis is a wonderful place to tie the knot!

Prime vs Zoom Lenses

Posted by MarkAnderson on March 02, 2014
Photography Education / Comments Off on Prime vs Zoom Lenses

prime vs zoom camera lensesIn photography, there are many things to consider. What camera will you buy, what lenses will you use, and so forth. Today I am going to focus on the camera lens as it is perhaps the largest contributor to creating amazing photographs. The biggest question when it comes to lenses is Prime vs Zoom. To help you navigate these questions I will give a simple comparison of Prime lenses and Zoom lenses and the benefits and differences of each.

Understanding Aperture

It is important to understand aperture and how that works. Aperture is simply a hole through which light passes. In the context of photography, it’s the variable opening by which light enters a camera. Basically, the wider the aperture, the more light enters the camera and the shallower the depth of filed becomes. As Prime lenses do not zoom, you do not have to worry about a variable aperture issue, so your dept of field came remain constant at all times. There are also Zoom lenses that have a constant aperture throughout the whole zoom, and we will cover that later in this post, but keep in mind they are very expensive in comparison to standard variable Zoom lenses.

Focal Length

A Prime lens is lens that has a fixed focal length. It does not zoom in and out, and has the ability to set and hold a specific aperture. I mainly use Prime lenses for wedding photography, with the exception of the Canon 70-200mm 2.8L IS Zoom lens, which we will talk about in a moment. Prime lenses have one piece of glass and thus offer a much sharper image than a Zoom lens with multiple pieces of glass. Some photographers say that a Zoom lens makes you lazy, as you don’t need to move your body into position for the right composition. I tend to agree, as when I’m photographing with a fixed focal length I tend to move my feet more and come up with creative angles to help tell the story. Prime lenses force you to move around instead of just zooming in and out until you get the best point of view from the angle you are already at. The more you practice with a Prime lens the better you’ll become and creating unique perspectives. Since you already have the shot framed in your head before you draw the camera to your eye, you are ready to take a photo in an instant. This is an extremely valuable skill when it comes to photographing weddings.

photographer many cameras

As a photographer, how many camera lenses do you really need?

How Many Camera Lenses to you Need

I have found that three or four fixed lenses are enough for wedding photography. I typically carry a Canon 35mm 1.4L, Canon 50mm 1.2L, and 100mm 2.8L Macro. The fewer lenses you rely on, the more creativity you will see in your images. I typically also bring along my trusty Canon 70-200mm 2.8L IS zoom lens for those tough low-light ceremony shots from the back of the church or wedding venue.

What is best for Wedding Photography?

Zoom lenses are great for certain situations such as a wedding. When photographing a wedding you need to be ready for all kinds of unexpected situations. Many instances are not in your control like how far away your able to be from the Bride and Groom for the “first kiss” shot. A Zoom lens like my 70-200mm will let you get closer to the scene without physically obstructing the wedding guests. This is a nice convenience for the wedding ceremony and I would be hesitant to photograph a wedding without at least one Zoom lens.

My Favorite – Prime Lenses

At the end of the day I really prefer Prime lenses over Zooms as they’re lighter, sharper, faster, and force you to be creative. Prime lenses help develop better habits towards becoming a better photographer.

What you need to know before photographing your first wedding

Posted by MarkAnderson on February 26, 2014
Wedding Photography / Comments Off on What you need to know before photographing your first wedding

Many of us have been to a few weddings in our lifetime, but photographing a wedding is completely different. If you are just starting out in wedding photography (like I was last year), here is some honest advise when you find yourself behind the camera responsible for capturing all the moments of the bride’s special day.

Set Expectations for the Bride and Groom

One of the biggest keys to success throughout the Wedding day are having set realistic expectations with the Bride and Groom. They need to know what your set up will look like, and who is photographing them and so forth. If you show up and have a whole crew of people that they have never met who are really good, but make them feel uncomfortable, it will lead to an awkward situation for everyone involved. Their perception is reality, no matter what your intentions are, so make sure you cover all your bases and set expectations before hand.

Coordinate with the Wedding Coordinator

Setup a meeting with the person in charge of the wedding venue you are photographing at, and make sure to inform them of your gear setup and how you’d like to approach the day. There is nothing worse than having a wedding coordinator who thinks you are unprofessional because you didn’t communicate with her at all before hand. Write out a list of questions prior to the meeting so you’re prepared. Some topics to touch on are backup plans if facing inclement weather, where your gear can be safely stored, what the schedule and outline for the day is, etc.

wedding photographer plan

As wedding photographers it is important to always have a plan for the day.

Map out the Day

Have a solid timeline of the day that you’ve created with the wedding coordinator and the bride. Even if you have a carefully planned outline, things can easily get behind schedule with all the components of a wedding day. Be sure you know whats going on, always be ready for the unexpected, and be ready to adapt quickly.

Keep it Cool

It is important to remain calm and collected throughout the day, no matter what happens. The Bride and Groom are looking to you, their wedding photographer, for direction and scheduling. If you do make a mistake, don’t freak. If you quick start going crazy and draw a bunch of attention to yourself it will be much worse… Think of figure skating in the Olympics. The skaters sometimes make mistakes, but the average viewer doesn’t know because the athlete hides it so well. The wedding guests are the “average viewer”, and even if you mess up your double axel, just play it cool, gracefully regain your balance and skate on. You will probably be the only one who ever noticed it anyway.

Family Photos are Important

minneapolis wedding photography

Never underestimate the power of a good family wedding portrait.

Know who the Bride and Groom want family photos with. Many wedding photographers tend to overlook family photos, as they focus on the documentary and photojournalistic approach or getting the artsy shots for their wedding magazine subscription. Make sure to get a list from the Bride at a consultation prior to the wedding, then keep it on your iPad or iPhone so you can easily reference the list of key shots throughout the day. If the couple requests a photo of their 93-year-old Grandfather who may not be around much longer, you should really focus on capturing touching photographs of their Grandpa throughout the day. I recently photographed a wedding where I saw the Bride sit down with her Grandfather mid-way through the reception and talk about all the wonderful memories that made him so special to her. Before I knew it they were both tearful and I was able to capture a few awesome shots that she loved and was so thankful for. When purchasing a wedding album the bride requested that there be several images of that scene included in her book. I was more than happy to oblige and was very glad that I had noticed the tender moment and captured that time for her. This is an extremely important insight that I learned from my buddy Dan, a fellow Minneapolis wedding photographer ( In the same way I encourage all other photographers to look past the epic artistic shots and consider the real reason for the wedding; to celebrate the couple’s love with their dearest family and friends. Make sure you capture that emotion and intimacy between family, as that is the most powerful aspect of any wedding.

Wedding Photographers Need to Care

At the end of the day, you as the photographer need to care deeply about the couple who has entrusted their wedding day to you. You need to have a passion for what you do, and should always strive for perfection in every wedding you photograph. A wedding is one of the most important days in someones life and it isn’t to be taken lightly. Cherish the moments of the wedding day and capture your couple’s story through photographs that will last a life time.

Minneapolis Wedding Winter Photography

Posted by MarkAnderson on January 23, 2014
Minneapolis, Wedding Photography / Comments Off on Minneapolis Wedding Winter Photography

There are so many different factors you must consider when photographing an outdoor weddings, and the brutal winters of Minnesota make things even more challenging. Here are a couple tips to keep you and your gear up and running when photographing bridal portraits in the winter wonderland we face each year in Minneapolis.

Winter Gear for the Wedding Photographer

gloves for minneapolis photographer

Here in Minneapolis, it is important to have a pair of warm gloves when photographing in winter.

Gloves: Be sure to have good gloves. These need to be small but warm. I like to put a hand warmer in the palm of each glove which keeps me warm but allows my index finger and thumb to still freely move and access my camera controls. There are some nice gloves from a company called Freehands (you can find all their products at They have leather, knit, or practically any other material you prefer starting at an affordable twenty bucks.

Camera Protection: You will need to have some covers for your cameras. You can either buy real nice ones or you can whip up some for practically free using plastic bags. Depending on the weather you may need a more professional set up that Walmart plastic bags. Something you will run into in cold temps is going from cold to warm situations such as outside into a building will cause condensation in your lenses. Something I have found successful is to have a heavy plastic bag covering the whole camera from when it goes from outside to inside. Thanks to science this is possible. If you do get condensation in your lenses, I hope you have an iPhone. You are gonna need it to start snapping some crazy awesome impromptu photos. I know a pro photographer that went to a wedding with his iPhone and got better photos than the photographer her self! I could not believe the photos he got. It was unbelievable. Never underestimate the power of your iPhone’s camera.

A Warm Coat: Next, you should have a warm coat. Good luck holding still for a photo if you are freezing. Unlike video you can’t hit a Image Stabilizer button and somewhat save a shot maybe you shot to shaky. North Face is my choice of coats for winter because of the materials used inside of them. They are a good product and have always kept me warm and happy without being huge and puffy.

A Steaming Mug of Coffee: I’m a creature of habit, and the winter wedding day just doesn’t start off right without a steaming mug of fresh roasted coffee. As a Minnesota native, I’m particular about supporting the local scene, whether it be artists, craftsman, or technocrats – so naturally I’m a fan of Driven, probably the best of the many Minneapolis coffee roasters. (their House Blend is my personal favorite – totes delish!)

Caring for your Camera Equipment

Photographer Winter Minnesota

Photographing year-round in Minnesota can be a challenge. Always prepare yourself and your camera gear for the extreme weather.

Be sure to be careful with your equipment and note that most camera gear is not rated below 0 degrees. Batteries will loose charge much faster at cold temperatures and plastic will become hard. You want to be very careful you do not touch metal. The moisture from your hand touching the metal can sometimes form a thin layer of ice on your equipment, which will later melt once introduced to warmer conditions.

Also, be aware that our LCD screen may grey out, lose color or stop functionally properly. The good news is this will come back when you get your camera into warmer temperatures, but this could cause problems if you can’t view what you are photographing. Another thing to watch out for is snow falling on your lenses. Be sure to carry a microfiber cloth to clean your glass if this happens. You also should keep the actual glass on your camera lenses covered with a clear UV filter as an added layer of protection. It is always better to replace a $40 filter than a $2,000 lens.

All in all, winter doesn’t stop us Minneapolis photographers. Just prepared for extreme conditions for both you and your camera equipment – gloves, camera projection, a warm coat, hand-warmers, cleaning cloth, etc. Now you are ready. Get out into the Minnesota tundra and start creating some photographs!