There are many places within Falls Park that make a great backdrop & they are ever changing with the seasons

There are many places within Falls Park that make a great backdrop & they change with the seasons

South Dakota has been a place of mystery to me for my whole life. I know of it because of my favorite historical person and because of Mt. Rushmore. Other than that, it’s not on the way to anywhere that I’ve ever visited and I didn’t think that I knew anyone who calls South Dakota their home. Last summer I decided that we would make the trek to those mid-western states that many midwesterners don’t even acknowledge as being in the midwest.

My decision to visit South Dakota was partly made because of the things I knew about the state but mostly made because of the things I didn’t know. When someone showed me a photograph of Sioux Falls, I was sold. The water was tumbling right through the city, plummeting off of rocks and making a beautiful scene. I also knew that I wanted a photograph of my family at the falls.

About 7,400 gallons of water drop 100 feet through the Sioux Falls each second.

About 7,400 gallons of water drop 100 feet through the Sioux Falls each second.

If there’s one thing you must do at least once a year while on vacation or traveling, I recommend hiring a professional to take your family photo. We have tons of snapshots of our children, of one of us with the kids and very few of our whole family. The ones we have are typically selfies and you wouldn’t really know where we were but for the caption on Instagram, and at least one child isn’t looking and at least one parent has their mouth open begging the kids to smile. We’re changing that.

I wish that we had hired someone when we were on the beaches in Puerto Rico in 2015, we have wonderful memories of that trip but that isn’t our annual family photo that hangs on the wall. This year we have a fabulous photo of our family at the water fall in Sioux Falls.

When my children see this photo, they’ll remember our trip to the Ingalls homestead and making corncob dolls, what it was like to feel the gentle flutter of wings next to their ears at the Butterfly House, the sound of the nail gun as corn husks were affixed to the Corn Palace to create murals. They’ll recant the stories of the unexpected chilly summer weather we encountered when we went to go see the giant heads carved into the rocks at Mt. Rushmore. They’ll talk about how we spent hours cranking pennies through the penny crushing souvenir machines (four pennies at every national park, monument and tourist attraction…yes, hours). They’ll remember seeing goats cross the road in Badlands National Park, the colors of the rocks and how small they felt as we drove through the canyons.

THIS is our new tradition and we will do it right.

The Big Sioux River runs right through Falls Park. Beautiful views and points of interest include: the Falls Overlook cafe, the five story Observation Tower and the Queen Bee Mill.

The Big Sioux River runs right through Falls Park. Beautiful views and points of interest include: the Falls Overlook cafe, the five story Observation Tower and the Queen Bee Mill.

When you hire someone who is familiar with the area, they bring an expertise on where to go, experience shooting in that setting and when the best time is to take a photograph.

How to Find a Professional to Take Your Family Photo While Traveling

  1.  Ask people you know in the area. If you have friends or family it’s likely that they have a connection to someone who has taken their photo or have friends who know who to call.
  1. Use a service like Flytographer. They specialize in connecting travelers with photographers.
  1. {This is what we did in Sioux Falls, South Dakota} Ask the local tourism bureau for a few suggestions. We were given two referrals and one was out of our price range and the second, Sunflower Photography, was perfect. I loved the work on her website and she was right within our budget.
  1. {This is also what I did, and one of the photographers I found was then recommended by the CVB) Google the landmark that you hope to include in your photos and “family photo shoot” or “family photographer”. Example: “Sioux Falls Falls Park Family Photographer”. Then click on images and find photos that look like what you hope to capture. Those images will often lead back to the photographer that took them.

Tips for a Vacation Photo Shoot

  1. sioux falls falls park vacation photography destination photographerPlan your wardrobe before your leave on your trip, you don’t want to spend valuable vacation time shopping and coordinating.
  1. Find and book your photographer before your trip (see #1). This is a good time to ask for their advice on your attire.
  1. Anticipate spending anywhere from $200 – $2500 for an hour long shoot with a qualified professional. Check their work online before you call so that you know the quality and style to expect.
  1. Consider scheduling the shoot for your final day in that location. You’ll have a better feel for the destination as well as different memories, sentiments and comfort level than you will at the beginning of the trip. Added bonus: perhaps a better tan and a more relaxed look?

One Vacation Souvenir You MUST Have (3)