With a community as scenic as the Twin Ports you would think it would be easy to find plenty of outdoor settings to serve as a backdrop to graduation photos.  That natural beauty that Lake Superior and the rugged northern Minnesota geography provide give ample opportunities for creative, imaginative, and unique settings.

So why do so many graduation photos still take place inside of a photographers studio?  The answer to that question may rest with Mother Nature; many photographers get booked up fast, forcing graduating seniors into taking their photos when the outdoor conditions aren't the best (think October through April).

If you were thinking of an outdoor graduation photo - where would you go?  We did an informal poll to come up with the following "idea-starter" list; I call it an "idea starter" because the settings listed below aren't meant to be a definitive list - rather they provide jumping-off-points to your own personalized photo shoot.

Here are some good outdoor graduation picture settings in Duluth.  (These would also work for engagement or wedding photos, too):

  • Enger Tower/Enger Park
  • The Rose Garden
  • William A. Irvin
  • Western Waterfront Trail
  • The Depot/Train Museum (see note below)
  • St. Louis River
  • Lester River/Park
  • Canal Park/Aerial Lift Bridge
  • Old Duluth Central
  • Veterans Memorial Overlook/Wrenshall Overlook - on Highway 23
  • Chester Creek
  • Brighton Beach
  • Skyline Parkway
  • North Shore area
  • Glensheen
  • Fairlawn
  • Barkers Island/SS Meteor Ship
  • Billings Park
  • Gooseberry Falls

Some areas you might want to avoid:

  • Railroad tracks:  The Duluth/Superior area is home to many railroad tracks and for some reason many folks like to pose on or near them.  A word of warning:  Railroad tracks exist on private property owned by the railroad company.  Also, there is a severe safety risk in posing on active tracks; every year there are injuries, near-misses, and (sometimes) fatalities that occur from people posing on railroad tracks.
  • Bong / Blatnik / Oliver Bridges:  Again, these structures are accidents waiting to happen.  In addition, the Oliver Bridge is private property - owned by the CN Railroad.


If you need some inspiration, try this article by Shutterfly.

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