Photography at the Zoo

This series of photography programs includes sessions perfect for photography beginners, professional photographers, and everyone in between.  Learn tips and tricks-of-the-trade from photography experts, and take advantage of the chance to see and photograph the Zoo’s animals without the crowds, as the Zoo will be closed to the public. A Zoo naturalist will also assist with each program to answer questions and share fun facts about the trails and their animals. Each session offers a new focus and the chance to visit a new area of the Zoo – bring your cameras and come back often! The Photography at the Zoo series is supported by National Camera Exchange.

AGES: 16 years old – adult
TIME: 3:30-5:30 p.m.
FEES:  Members: $35 per person; Non-members: $40 per person

How to Register

Register Online

Online: A confirmation will be sent to you via email once you have registered online for your desired program (click on the “Register Online” button for the program you are interested in). Questions? Call 952.431.9320.

By Mail:  If you need a registration form please complete the Registration Form. Mail-in registrations will receive a confirmation by email.

Conquering Lighting Challenges at the Farm:

Add a new element to your zoo experience with this introduction to studio lighting in live animal photography at the Wells Fargo Family Farm.  Photography at the Farm can be challenging due to the limited lighting in the buildings; this will be your opportunity to try out some equipment and practice photographing a variety of farm animals, including this spring’s new farm babies.

Note: The walk to the farm from the classroom is 1.4 miles each way. Because this program takes place outdoors, if there is rain or other inclement weather, the location and focus will switch to: Through Glass in Discovery Bay: shooting marine animals in dim light. The location will be finalized by the instructors immediately prior to the program start time.

This class will combine classroom learning time, photography practice, and, if time allows, the chance to receive feedback about some of your photos in class. With both a photography expert and Zoo naturalist by your side, you will have plenty of opportunities to ask questions, practice new skills, and learn about the animals you photograph.

Bring your camera and flash(es) along with any other accessories you have (tripod, lenses, filters, etc.); nothing but your camera is required, but you may find additional accessories useful. Items not brought on the trail can be locked in the classroom. The instructor(s) may also demonstrate additional equipment relevant to the class.

Ages: 16 and up
Time: 4:30-7:30 p.m.
Fee: $49/person for Zoo members; $55/person for non-members

The Minnesota Zoo’s photography programs include sessions perfect for photography beginners, professional photographers, and everyone in between. Learn tips and tricks-of-the-trade from a photography expert, and take advantage of the chance to see and photograph the Zoo’s animals without the crowds. Every class will include time in one area of the Zoo when the Zoo is closed to the public. A Zoo naturalist will also be present at each program, to answer all of your animal questions and share fun facts and insider stories about the trail of the day!

Each session offers a new focus and the chance to visit a new area of the Zoo – bring your cameras and come back often!

Photography at the Zoo is a partnership with District 196 Community Education.

Your photography teachers:

Gil Dignen has over 30 years of photographic experience. He has worked as both a studio and commercial photographer, including 18 years as a travel photographer for Northwest Airlines. Gil has experience teaching photography classes at various colleges in the metro area and has a studio in Northeast Minneapolis where he does portraiture and commercial photography. He enjoys sharing his knowledge and experience with others through Community Education and at the Minnesota Zoo.

Dr. Asha Lalla is a photography instructor with Minneapolis Community Ed and ISD 196, and enjoys sharing her passion for photography with other hobbyist photographers. Her love for animals brought her to the Minnesota zoo and its unique program. She enjoys seeing the personalities of the animals come out when they are being photographed, and learning more about their stories! She also enjoys travel and macro photography. Asha co-teaches many of our photography classes with Gil.

How to Register

Register Online

Questions? Email or call 952.431.9390.

Upcoming Photography Programs

Upcoming Dates

  • Date: 05/18/2019
  • Time: 4:30 PM