If you live in the Massachusetts/Rhode Island area, you know that it’s hard to find places to shoot with clients or friends.
Besides the weather being unpredictable, many of the parks in this area look the same, which makes getting unique photographs quite difficult. Today, I’ve put together a list of a few of my favorite places to have a photoshoot in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Borderland State Park, Easton, MA
Not only is this park beautiful, but it’s also huge. Borderland State Park was the private estate owned by the Ames, a biologist and artist duo. This park includes a mansion, cabin, and multiple trails for hiking. There’s a large lake very close to the entrance, as well. This is a great place to spend the day, but it also provides many different places to shoot. I recommend it in both the summer and winter because, unlike many places in New England, it actually looks like a winter wonderland when it’s snow-covered. There’s a $5 parking fee but it’s truly worth it for the size of the park!
Fort Wetherill, Jamestown, RI
If you want a place that has a balance of industrial and natural views, Fort Wetherill is perfect. This abandoned fort is graffiti-covered and overlooks the water, both making great backdrops for a portrait session. If you find your way behind the fort, there are many trails that lead down to the rocky waters below. You can shoot inside the fort in one of its various rooms, but there is no lighting inside, so make sure to bring a flash or a portable strobe. There is a toll on the way to the park, so keep some cash on you!
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, MA
For years, you couldn't bring a camera into the Isabella Stewart for privacy reasons. Recently, the museum has changed it's policy and photography is allowed in the museum! How lucky we are because this building is beautiful and has a lot of great spots for portraits. The museum features a botanical garden in the center of the building, as well as three floors of art. The garden is off-limits and you can't walk through it, but it makes for an incredible background and the light is gorgeous. The floors that contain art are very dark and flash isn't allowed, so I wouldn't recommend trying to get any shots in there. However, there is a hidden feature of this museum: the greenhouse! There is a greenhouse right next to the entrance of the building and it's open for visitors and photographers. I took Sarah there for a shoot last year and it was very successful. The plants make great objects to interact and pose with.
Fort Revere, Hull, MA
Hull is a small town near Hingham, Massachusetts and it’s right on a peninsula, which is great for picture-taking! Fort Revere is up on a large hill and, like Fort Wetherill, it’s an abandoned military fort. However, along with the fort is a huge graveyard and views that show the whole northwest of Massachusetts. I went here on a rainy day and I was still having an amazing time photographing. There’s a lot to explore here and I believe you can go up into the tower during the summer! (I haven't been there yet, but World’s End State Park in Hingham is very close to Fort Revere and it’s a favorite location of my peers.)
Brenton Point State Park, Newport, RI
This has to be my favorite spot in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Located along the coast of Rhode Island, Brenton Point is the last stop on the infamous Newport Mansions drive. The park itself is very plain and usually has hundreds of kites flying above it, but it’s the little hidden gems that make this place special. If you cross over the road onto the rocks on the coastline, there are little coves and private beaches that make the perfect spots for a session. In the summer, the rocks turn beautiful shades of purple and blue. To the right of the park, there is an abandoned stable that has been overrun by graffiti artists and Mother Nature. The stable has skylights that are still in tact, so light is limited but it’s still there! It’s a great spot to go to if you want to see downtown Newport, but still experience the beaches and ocean.
Blue Hills State Park, Canton/Milton, MA
Last but definitely not least is Blue Hills. Located quite close to Boston, Blue Hills is the best place for hiking trails. Be sure to put some hiking boots on because this park is literally a hill; most of the trails lead uphill to a gorgeous view. There are a lot of attractions here: a wildlife reservation, abandoned ski-lift, medieval towers, and an observatory at the very top. Although it's a hike, every attraction is worth it. You can see the city of Boston throughout the trip up the hill and there are many spots to stop at. I've been here multiple times and each time is new. I'd highly recommend this spot for any type of photography excursion.
I’m always discovering new places to go to in New England, so this list is in no way finished. I recommend using Google Maps and locating the green areas, which indicate state parks or reservations. That’s how I find most of the places I shoot at! I’d also check out Only in Your State, which publishes lists of unique sightseeing spots in each state.