It’s not a surprise to anyone that there are some really amazing urban photo session locations in Boston! The trouble is, most of them aren’t secrets, so they’re overcrowded and overdone. If you have a client looking for a Boston location, and you’re looking to beat the crowds, you might consider one of the following!
North Point Park
Technically, this one’s in Cambridge over by the Museum of Science, but it’s right on the line. With the iconic Zakim Bridge serving as one of its backdrops, it certainly feels very Boston! My favorite thing about it is just how unique it is. It offers an urban backdrop with many non-urban features (lots of lush, tall grass on the river bank, willow trees, a dock, etc). In April, it is COVERED in daffodils and is quite the sight. In October, it’s bursting with vibrant colors. I’ve done sessions there in June as well, and the best part is that it’s never really all that crowded.
Like most urban photo locations though, this one comes with two major caveats. For starters, parking is brutal. It’s quite possibly worse than parking in downtown Boston itself. I always suggest paying for parking at the Museum of Science and walking over. Secondly, you have to triple check that there are no major events happening on the day of your scheduled session! I learned this the hard way last fall when the Walk for Alzheimers was scheduled to take place the next day. When we arrived at the park, it was covered in lawn signs and white tents. But will I go back again? Yes, and I’m planning to this summer!
While we’re talking about Cambridge, I have to mention Harvard Square! This is obviously a well-known area generally speaking, but it isn’t as commonly used for photo sessions as downtown Boston. When timed right, it has a lot to offer! The one thing I suggest you *don’t* do is attempt a Harvard Square photo session during the academic year (unless it’s during a break), and especially don’t attempt it on weekends. Aside from the swarms of people, parking is a nightmare. Last year, I had three Harvard sessions, two in late spring once the college kids were gone, and another on a weekday in April over the break. I found parking by the Cambridge Common area to be relatively easy, and I had no trouble finding adorable little nooks to use as backdrops without too many passersby. The architecture adds so much visual interest to photos, and it’s really fun to explore and find quaint courtyards. As a bonus, you can head to the river at the very end of the night to wrap up your session!
Pope John Paul Park
This location is new to me and I’ve only had one photo session there. While it presents a unique set of challenges, it’s also a nice option for photographers to keep in their back pockets for that “just right” client. What I love about it is how easily accessible it is being right off the highway, and that there’s a large parking lot right there! That is GOLD, in my book! What I don’t exactly love is that at sunset, the sun sets in the direction of said parking lot and highway. With strategic angles, this can be minimized or eliminated, but that can be hard when photographing young children who don’t always stand exactly where we want them! It does have *really* beautiful light though about 30 minutes before sunset.
If you have clients who can handle a very late start time (I’m thinking couples, maternity clients without kids, or families with older children), you can turn your subjects around toward the end of the session and shoot in the direction of the water (and away from the highway!). I suspect that because of the direction of the sun, this would actually be an amazing *sunrise* location, and you’d have the sun coming up over the water . The other thing I like about this place is that the paths are paved, which helps minimize mud after it’s been rainy (which is how my clients and I ended up here last weekend after some torrential rain earlier in the day).
So what do you think? Are you down for hitting up one of these less popular photo locations for your next city session?!