One of the first questions I often get when booking a shoot is “Where should we go for our photos?”
I like to consider myself a “natural” photographer. I love outdoor settings with natural light, and the best images capture people in their natural comfort zone. In other words, we can go wherever you want!
The easiest place to go is your own back yard, or front yard, if you have one. Your neighborhood park or playground can also be fun. But if you want a change of scenery, there are some things to consider.
The very first thing that I have to think about for my own family is accessibility. Since my son uses a wheelchair, we are limited to paved or at least smooth, flat ground. He is pretty heavy, and it’s harder than it used to be to lift him onto a rock wall or playground equipment. I would have to choose a place where we could sit and spread out on the ground, and one that offers a visually pleasing backdrop. I also want to make sure there is not a lot of clutter surrounding us, especially if he stays put in his wheelchair.
What is your favorite time of year to be outside? What elements of nature do you love?
Spring flowers- do you have a neighbor with a stunning flower garden or landscaping? Is there a plant nursery near your town?
Water- oceans, lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, reservoirs…just being nearby results in a calm, relaxed, happy state of mind for many of us.
Paths- dirt paths, paved paths, cobblestone walkways…each of these offers a unique look and encourages us to wander and find just the right spot.
I also love to find cool structures, natural or otherwise, to incorporate into photos. Wooden doors, broken down shacks, barns; rock walls, fallen logs, benches, boulders; fences, stone walls, bridges and tunnels- they are everywhere, we just have to look around because they are such a part of the environment that we don’t always notice them.
Here are my top 7 spots for beautiful family photos:
- *Medfield State Hospital in Medfield is my go to: paved paths, lush greenery, open fields, closed-off stone buildings, a dilapidated barn, even a miniature stone fortress, all inspire fun and creative posing. I hear the property is going to be developed into residential buildings, and that makes me sad. Even though the history of the place is tragic, the grounds themselves are beautiful for hiking and walking the dogs, and of course photography, and it would be a shame to lost this sacred space. https://www.pinterest.com/marcie_schein_randall/beautiful-settings-for-photo-shoots/
- *The Warren Conference Center in Ashlandis another popular spot for photos. It sits on wide open grounds with several spots to get a great photo. Pretty white benches and lamp posts, rock walls, and, of course, distressed wooden doors to old sheds. There is also beautiful landscaping throughout the property with seasonal foliage. https://www.warrencenter.com/activities/ashland-state-park-reservoir
- *Weston Nurseries in Hopkintonis an amazing place for portraits! They are so welcoming, and they are excited for the families or high school seniors to get their photos done there. You can only imagine the variety of backgrounds and settings- garden displays and decor; cool benches fashioned out of tree trunks; a wall of wooden doors, each painted a different color. Inside the storage greenhouse is the most incredible light I have ever seen. And of course, the endless array of flowers and plants and shrubs and trees arranged beautifully throughout the property. I LOVE it there! https://www.westonnurseries.com/
- Lake Winthrop in Holliston offers two beaches, Stoddard Park and Pleasure Point. Both have playgrounds and picnic areas, are home to a wide variety of birds and critters, and provide stunning sunsets. You will get gorgeous “Golden Hour” photos. https://www.massachusettspaddler.com/lake-winthrop-holliston-middlesex-county
- *The Holliston Rail Trail (from Sherborn to Holliston to Milford) is fun because it offers a lot of options. In the center of Holliston at Blair Square is colorful landscaping and a charming pavilion. The trail is paved (therefore wheelchair accessible) with benches and large rocks along the way, and it runs past the back of a barn where the horses are usually out grazing. I especially like to use the stone tunnel that pops up- cool perspectives and a really fun echo that always brings out smiles. http://hollistontrails.org/photos/
- *Louisa Lake in Milfordis actually accessible from this same rail trail as it eases into Milford from Holliston. The way the sun glistens off the lake, and the swans that putter around, create a beautiful backdrop for portraits. The paved trail is a wide (ie: wheelchair accessible), well-lit, tree-lined path with numerous spots to pause and pose. https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS841US841&sxsrf=AOaemvJEAe-https://foursquare.com/v/louisa-lake/4c015809716bc9b6bcabbb55/photos
- The Aqueduct Trail on the Charles River in the Wellesley Town Forest is wonderful. I was introduced to it by a friend when we took our dogs there for a walk. We went back for her daughter’s senior photos, and there were plenty of places to stop during the session. Open fields, river bank, stone wall, gorgeous light through the trees over the water- make sure your battery is charged. https://www.natickma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/536/Weston-and-Sampson-Maps-of-Existing-Conditions-PDF?bidId=
To download my longer list of locations to plan your photo session, fill out the form below. And if you have a spot to add to my list, please tell me!