Regina is full of natural wonders, vibrant murals and heritage buildings that make it an easy place to find places to photograph.
If you're cruising through the Queen City, or staying for awhile, you'll probably want to share some of the highlights on Instagram. (Face it, we all do).
Danielle Tocker, a photographer who's been working in Regina full time for four years, weighed in on taking your Instagram to the next level and shared some of her top (and secret) shooting locations in the city.
Wascana Park and the Legislature
What's not to love about Wascana Park? It's one of Regina's best-known attractions and there is good reason for that.
It's one of the largest parks in North America. In fact, it's bigger than the Stanley Park in Vancouver and Central Park in New York combined.
You have the lake, the walking paths, the Saskatchewan Legislature and the Queen Elizabeth II Gardens out in front.
Tocker recommends heading to the south side of Lakeshore avenue, where a new trail was put in. It's not busy, so you don't have to be intimidated by people walking by as you're posing.
"There's just like a lot of lush greenery and sometimes it looks really wild if it hasn't been cut," Tocker said. "It doesn't look like it's in the city."
Historic Regina landmarks
There are two show stopping churches in the city's aptly-named Cathedral neighbourhood including the Westminster United Church and the Holy Rosary Cathedral.
St. Chad's College and Chapel in the Canterbury community is a historic sight. Although it's being refurbished on the inside, the dark brick and gothic-style elements make it a great place to go during golden hour.
Whether you're outside The Hotel Saskatchewan on Victoria Avenue or inside the epic entrance, you'll be channelling the refined elegance of the past. In the lounge, you'll find delicate patterned wallpaper, chandeliers, and gold details. It's the perfect background if you have a new cocktail dress to show off.
A local hotspot for professional photographers is the TC Douglas Building on Albert Street. The white tyndall stone building, build in the 70s, houses government departments and agencies as well as the MacKenzie Art Gallery. You don't need a permit to shoot inside so Tocker said it's one of her go-to spots.
"There's lots of trees in there and lots of natural light," she said.
Outside of the building is plenty of public art for you to use as a backdrop as well.
Colour block walls
Weather you like neutral backgrounds or bright colours, finding a good, clean wall will make your portraits pop.
Tocker loves the black and white Casa Decor building on 7th Avenue and Cornwall Street in the warehouse district.
There are plenty of other good brick walls in the neighbourhood.
Regina's 13th Avenue is home to walls of all colours, whether you're looking for tattered white brick or hot pink.
Tocker also recommends the Empire Hotel on Saskatchewan Drive and McIntyre Street.
Plants and shrubbery
There is a bright green, vine-covered wall on the back of an apartment building on 14th Avenue and Cornwall Street.
"It's just really lovely and lush," said Tocker. "Greenery just adds another life to a photo."
If you want to look like you're truly out in nature, Tocker recommends taking photos at the bottom of the hill on the Douglas Park disk golf course.
She says this spot is popular among wedding clients due to all the wild and overgrown plants in the area.
The Regina Floral Conservatory, established in the 1950s, is free to get in. The expansive indoor garden display is open seven days a week from September to June. Professional photographers pay a fee, but anyone can take selfies!
Another local favorite is the Kiwanis Waterfall Park at the corner of Regina Avenue and Elphinstone Street.
Murals and public art
A number of local buildings feature murals by artist Roberto López López, especially in Regina's North Central district. His art is graphic and eye catching. One of the most popular ones can be found on the Cathedral Social Hall building.
There are many other street art pieces along 13th avenue, featuring everything from daisies to dogs. When it comes to murals, the Cathedral neighbourhood is the place to be.
Tocker recommends the building at 1250 Dewdney Avenue, which was formerly home to a Latin restaurant and is still covered in colourful paint and fun shapes.
"It's kind of a rainbow," said Tocker. "It's really fun."
The public art at City Square Plaza also makes a good edition to photos.
If you want to shoot indoors, the Golden Mile Shopping Centre offers a blast from the past with Rainbow Cinemas, which has retro signage, neon lights and arcade games.
"Nothing has changed since I was a kid. It just kind of feels like a little 90s vibe in there," Tocker said.
The Mercury is the diner of your dreams. Found on 13th Avenue, it has red, leather booths and high top barstools.
Hunter Gatherer, a vegan restaurant on 15th Avenue, has the decor of a yard sale mixed with your grandfather's basement (in a good way). One wall is lined with antique luggage, while another is covered in amazing nature art from decades past. Need we say more?
If you are looking to go even further back, check out the Antique Mall on Rose Street, although Tocker said you need permission to shoot in there as a professional. If you are an amateur, snap away!
There is not much natural light in the building but Tocker suggests adding a black and white filter to lean in to the vibe.
On the menu
Regina's newest rooftop patio decked out by fine dining restaurant 20Ten Eatery Rooftop Patio has been making the rounds on social media due to its unmatched view of downtown.
One of the city's favourite pastimes is going out for ice cream, you can tell by the block-long lines at Milky Way, which is only open seasonally. Get a cone and grab a picture or use the red and white stand as a backdrop.
Another local ice cream shop is Dessart Sweets, on 13th Avenue. If you're looking for vegan ice cream, that's your stop. Their building is bright blue and pink, and on the inside you can find a variety of international sweets that line the walls...and even the ceiling. You're going to want to grab a photo.
Another recently-opened hotspot in the downtown core is Avenue, run by Top Chef Canada winner Dale McKay. The restaurant group that he's apart of brought in an interior designer from Calgary to bring the place to life. And if it's not decor you're fond of, renowned mixologist Christopher Cho can serve you something picturesque.
Tocker's Instagram tips:
- Find the light.
- Change angles to frame your photo best.
- Crop out clutter.
- Clean your phone lense. If it's dirty, it will make your lense look foggy.
- Make sure your photos are straight by using the lines of ceilings, walls and the horizon.
- Expose lighting properly to your focal point. If you're on an iPhone, tap your subject.
- Have fun!