10 Great Spots for Family Photos in Massachusetts

Today, contributing writer Judy (also of Talking Thirty) shares a roundup of great spots for family photos:

With Halloween behind us, and the holiday season just around the bend (AHHHH!), I’m sure I’m not the only mom thinking ahead to family photos and holiday cards. If, like me, you prefer natural light portrait photography over indoor photos, there’s still time to head outdoors with the kiddos and take those holiday shots before the serious winter chill arrives. Here are 10 spots that offer beautiful backdrops for family photos:

1. deCordova Sculpture Park (Lincoln). On 30 acres of land, the deCordova Sculpture Park offers a backdrop of landscaped lawns, forests, fields, and gardens, and about 60 sculptures on display. Who can resist an opportunity for art exploration and family photos all in one trip? The outdoor park is open 365 days per year from dawn to dusk. The museum is currently offering free admission for all individual visitors the first Wednesday of each month, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

2. The Gardens at Elm Bank (Wellesley). Located on 36-acres, the Massachusetts Horticultural Society's Gardens at Elm Bank includes a historic manor, decorative scrolled gates, water fountain, and a whimsical children’s garden with oversized chairs and other fun structures. Elm Bank is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; non-members are asked to make a donation at the gate. 

3. Arnold Arboretum (Jamaica Plain). With gorgeous fall foliage covering the grounds and large gardens, Arnold Arboretum's 281-acre, pet-friendly landscape is a favorite for family photos. The arboretum is open from sunrise to sunset every day of the year. There is no admission charge, but donations are appreciated.

4. Drumlin Farm (Lincoln). For family photos with a warm, rustic feel, head over to Drumlin Farm, a real working farm and wildlife sanctuary with bright red barns, farm animals, and large open fields. Open Tuesday to Sunday year-round; admission fees apply for non-members. 

5. Falmouth Heights Beach (Falmouth). Falmouth Heights Beach offers picturesque views of open blue water, long stretches of sand, dune grass, and rock jetties. In the quiet off-season, you can capture some great beach shots without hoards of people around.

6. Nobska Point Lighthouse (Woods Hole). For those hoping for a nautical look, consider one of the most popular view sites on Cape Cod, Nobska Lighthouse. From the right angle you can capture your family, the blue ocean, sandy beach, grassy knoll, and lighthouse all in one shot. The grounds are open to the public and admission is free.

7. Walden Pond (Concord). If you’re looking for water as a backdrop but don’t feel like driving down the Cape, Walden Pond, a kettle hole formed 15,000 years ago, is a great choice. Time-permitting, why not fit in a history lesson on Henry David Thoreau while you’re there? The park closes one half hour before sunset.

8. Boston Public Garden (Boston). Beautiful gardens, great views of the city’s skyline, historic sculptures, and swan boats -- you really can’t get more Boston than the Boston Public Garden! Go in the early morning or evening hours to avoid crowds.

9. College campuses. Massachusetts is home to numerous college campuses, many of which offer lovely backdrops of rolling hills, open grassy areas, and beautiful buildings. Wellesley College (Wellesley), Boston College (Chestnut Hill), Tufts University (Medford), and Mount Holyoke College (South Hadley) are just a few gorgeous campuses that come to mind.

10. Your own backyard. Some of our best family portraits have been taken in the comfort of our own backyard where our little one feels most at ease with a new face (the photographer), and we don’t have to stress about traffic, packing bags, and dealing with other people. For moms of itty-bitty babies, it’s nice to know that a fresh, clean onesie is just a few feet away in the event of a massive diaper blow-out!

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Editor's Note: The Boston Mamas Local Mamapreneur Network includes a crazy awesome wealth of local photographers. Go on and support a fellow mama business owner if you're in the hunt for a photographer!

Image credits: photos 1-7 culled from linked websites; 8 via Friends of the Public Garden; 9 via Boston College; 10 (also thumbnail) via FreeDigitalPhotos.net; compilation graphic by Christine Koh