One question that people love to ask on social media is, “where is this?” when a photographer posts a pretty location. Now, I’m not about to give up some of the secret little gems I’ve found from hours of scouting, but I am happy to share three of my favorite locations that aren’t exactly secret anyway. More importantly, I’ll share *why* I like them, and some logistics of getting to them and parking!
Hartwell Tavern, Minuteman National Park, Lincoln, MA
While I wouldn’t necessarily say this spot is the most epically beautiful place in the greater Boston area, I do think it’s cute and quaint, particularly in the fall. It’s got those classic New England vibes, complete with the tavern where Paul Revere once chugged a beer or two. The stone walls and split rail fencing adds texture, and there are multiple fields on the property (some with beautiful long grass and others that are mowed). But what I really love most about Hartwell is that it offers perfect sun filtering, which makes shooting before golden hour (or after sunrise if you have a morning session) possible! In fact, I go here a TON on summer mornings, usually between 7 and 8 AM, so that my clients can avoid a late sunset start time. It never fails me! Make sure to tell your clients to meet you in the (very large!) parking lot on North Great Rd. The left side of the lot is the side closest to the entrance to the park, too!
Old North Bridge, Minuteman National Park, Concord, MA
I LOVE Old North Bridge, but must confess that I won’t touch it with a 5,000 foot pole in the fall. A couple of years back I tried (against my better judgement) and found myself waiting in line to use the dock and boathouse area. And forget about getting anywhere near the bridge. Not only will you encounter 90 other photographers, but probably 9,000 tourists getting off of tour buses. Womp. During any other season, it is fabulous though. In fact, until maybe two years ago, I swear I never saw any photographers there in the spring or summer. It was always so desolate that I was convinced I was the only person within 20 miles of Rt 2 West that had any clue it was good at all times of year, ha. Unfortunately, it is becoming more popular year-round, and I’m probably not doing it any favors with this post, but oh well. What I love most is the amount of variety it offers. There’s the bridge, the Sudbury River, stone walls, the boat house, the Old Manse, two adorable gardens near the visitor center, wildflowers in the summer, and the list goes on. There are two parking lots to choose from, but you should have a plan as to what part of the property you want to use for your session (if you aren’t planning to walk the full length of it). If you want the gardens in the spring, park up at the Visitor Center lot on Liberty St, and if you want to use the bridge area, parking down on Monument St. If you are doing a longer session and plan to use the whole property, park at either :).
Beacon Hill, Boston, MA
This one is *obviously* no secret, but the purpose of including it is to share just why I like it, and why I prefer it to other city locations. There are two things that Beacon hill has to offer that other city locations, like the Boston Public Garden, Esplanade, and Seaport do not. The first is refuge from crowds. While you certainly will not be able to get a decent photo on Acorn St during peak season (unless you’re there early in the morning), there are plenty of other adorable streets where it’s easy enough to avoid people. The second is refuge from the sun! All of the buildings block the sun, so there’s a lot of flexibility with timing. In fact, I would *not* suggest shooting at golden hour, as it gets dark very quickly in this neighborhood! As far as parking goes, I don’t think it’s too terrible either, though I did encounter an unfortunate situation once last fall when the Boston Common Garage was closed and I was scrambling to find a street spot in time for my session. I did learn later though that there’s also the Charles St Garage, which I probably should have checked out! Lastly, Beacon Hill looks absolutely charming in all seasons. In the spring and summer it’s bursting with flowers, in the fall it’s pumpkins galore, and the holiday decor in December is nothing short of magical!
Wherever you find yourself taking photos in the Boston area, you’ll have the ability to make beautiful images! It’s important that you know the location well enough to time your sessions accordingly for optimal light and fewer crowds. With those two things taken into consideration, your images are sure to be stunning! For some lesser-known location options, check out this blog post.