Tips from a pro… best outdoor family portraits north of Boston
The warm weather in Massachusetts doesn't last long... and you want to plan ahead to find the perfect place and time for an outdoor family photography session! You aren't sure where to start or where to go and how you're going to wrangle your family members together to make the family photos happen. On this page, I thought it best to pull together a simple guide on where to plan your outdoor family photos north of Boston and let you know a few key dates when I will be scheduling sessions.
Of course, there is always the option to plan a portrait at your special place, backyard or nearby vacation home. If you want a special place, let's chat and find a date and time that works.
The following are a few of my favorite locations that I know well. They are places that I know will make ideal locations for a family portrait in the summer or fall. To help you plan, I am publishing a list of dates that I have set aside for each location. (Dates are subject to change and are scheduled in advance.)
1. Endicott Park, Danvers, MA
Endicott Park is ideal for families of all ages, for many reasons! It is so wonderful any time of day, which is great if we are working around a young toddler's napping schedule, or can only get the family together during a morning. We have plenty of shade to avoid squinting eyes, and there are so many pretty spots around the park. The pond area is my favorite, which makes a gorgeous background for portraits. The birch trees are light and airy and add a beautiful design element to your family's portrait. The park is very well maintained and is operated by the Town of Danvers. Dogs are welcome here.
HIGHLIGHTS: pond, birches, plenty of shade
PROS: great all day long, wonderful for all ages, has bathroom facilities, farmyard & playground
CONS: not much! only a minor parking charge $3 per vehicle
Summer/Fall 2019 at Endicott Park
Weekdays all summer long, by appointment, Tuesday to Friday
Saturdays by appointment, July 20, August 17, September 28
(we're happy to go other dates/times, subject to availability, so please inquire!)
2. Forest River Park, Salem MA
Forest River is a beautiful waterfront park in Salem, close by and down the road from Salem State. This location is great for getting water views of Salem harbor, and has the benefit of large leafy green trees all around you to provide shade and relief from the hot sun! I love this location because you do not have to wait til sunset to get great family portraits. For that reason, it is ideal for babies and younger children who would not be at their best for a sunset session since it is too close to their bedtime. The shade allows us to avoid squinty eyes caused by direct sunlight and allows us to have cooler conditions for your summer portraits under the canopy. Dogs are welcome here.
HIGHLIGHTS: plenty of trees, ample shade, backdrops with the water, grass & rocks
PROS: great for all ages & all times of day, dogs welcome too
CONS: weekends are for residents only in July & August
Summer/Fall 2019 at Forest River Park
Weekdays all summer long, by appointment, Tuesday to Friday
Weekends after Labor Day, subject to availability
3. Winter Island, Salem MA
Winter Island is a favorite beach location around the north shore in summertime. It is best at the end of the day on a weekday evening, close to sunset, when the light is beautiful and there are no crowds. I always recommend scheduling this location at the end of the day because it is out of the direct sun and the sun is lower on the horizon. This can be a lovely place for portraits, but keep in mind, these sessions are limited by the nature of the tides and sunset. We can only get the seagrass at mid to low tide. And we prefer to only go to this beach at the end of the day, around 6pm or 7pm, depending on the sunset.
HIGHLIGHTS: gorgeous variety of backgrounds with seagrass, rocks, water, and lighthouse
PROS: great for working families & can be booked after hours in the summertime, dogs welcome
CONS: not great for small children due to the time of day & dates are limited due to the tides
Winter Island -- Ideal Dates for Family Beach Portraits -- Summer 2019
(on select evenings, near sunset at mid to low tide)
Tuesday June 4, Wednesday June 5, Thursday June 7
Friday June 14
Monday June 17, Tuesday June 18, Wednesday June 19
Tuesday July 2, Wednesday July 3
Tuesday July 16, Wednesday July 17
Monday July 29, Tuesday July 30
Wednesday August 14, Thursday August 15
Tuesday August 20, Wednesday August 21
Monday August 26, Tuesday August 28
Tuesday September 10, Wednesday September 11
(due to the tides and sunset, these truly are the best dates to choose from!)
4. Wingaersheek Beach, Gloucester, MA
Wingaersheek Beach in Gloucester is beautiful! It is also very very popular in the summer... and can get crowded. For that reason, I often plan to go to this location only at the very end of the day, and/or at the end of the season, when we are likely to run into fewer crowds. We want your portraits to look as if you are the only ones there, without having to be concerned with who might be in the background of your ocean front backdrop. Also, after Labor Day, you are able to bring a dog.
HIGHLIGHTS: backgrounds include... beautiful wide smooth rock formations, soft sand, shallow water's edge
PROS: great conditions at either low or high tide, plus free parking after 5pm, dogs welcome after Labor Day
CONS: not ideal for very young children due to the time of day (after 5pm), can be extremely crowded beach in high season
Summer/Fall 2019 at Wingaersheek Beach
I have set aside a week in August to be available at Wingaersheek this year.
Weekday early evenings (after 5pm) during the week of August 5th
August 5, 6, 7 & 8th 2019
After Labor Day, when the crowds subside in September, inquire about availability.
(we're happy to go other dates/times subject to availability, so please inquire. this location is good at all tides)