bella wang photography

Classic Summer Wedding

Katie & Charles’ July 25th wedding was my first big wedding in 2020. What a crazy year it ended up becoming. Since COVID19 hit in March, everything has been a whirlwind of communication with our couples, rescheduling if needed and figuring things out if things were indeed moving forward as originally planned. It’s taught me a lot about thinking quickly on my feet and adapting to best serve my couples. This was my first wedding after Coronavirus struck, but I was relieved when I saw how large the grounds were at The Estate at Moraine Farm and learned that the reception would be outdoors and inside a large tent.

COVID19 and 2020

Katie is really organized so she was keeping an eye on the Governor’s mandates regarding wedding sizes. She estimated we would be in phase 3 by the time her big wedding date rolled around, so we were green light from pretty early on. She nailed the timeline.

Katie and Charles ordered a bunch of coloured bracelet for guests to wear to signify their comfort level in terms of contact given the pandemic we were currently experiencing. “Green” equalled fair game, “Yellow” caution and “Red” was please be careful and keep your distance to the recommended guidelines. I thought this was such a unique touch. You can see the guests wearing them in the cocktail images:

Social distance coloured bracelets

During the church, everyone wore their masks which was nice to see. There were no issues and everyone was respectful. It added a very documentary element to the wedding since this (hopefully!) is a once in a lifetime experience and those moments should be a part of the story.

Moraine Farm provided the backdrop to the stunning outdoor ceremony. Since we were outdoors and in Phase 3, the wedding guest list could be up to 100 people. Katie’s guest list was 98, plus yours truly and my partner Edward. Everyone was in great spirits the whole day. I’m sure it was a welcome change and distraction from the world around us. For me personally, it was the first time I had been around that many people since last November!

Vendors

Give it up for the list of talented vendors that made this wedding happen:

Wedding venue: Estate at Moraine Farm
Photography: Bella Wang Photography
Hair and makeup: Bombchelle Beauty
Flowers: Evergreen Florist
Catering: Fireside Catering
Cake: Montillo’s
DJ: TSG Weddings (Andy)
Hair: Jessica Capozzi
Gown: Pronovias via La Reine Bridal in Waltham

Estate at Moraine Farm Wedding Photos

Please enjoy an excerpt of Katie and Charles wedding at the Estate at Moraine Farm. It was a classic event with a stunning bridal look by Bombchelle Beauty and Jessica Capozzi.

Bridal Prep Photos

Wedding dress at parents' home during bridal prep on a wedding day
bridal prep on a wedding day at her parents’ home
Makeup and hair artist doing bridesmaid's makeup
Wedding Portraits by Bella Wang Photography
Details in the home during bridal prep at parents' home
Wedding Portraits by Bella Wang Photography
Badgley Mischka wedding day shoes
Badgley Mischka wedding day shoes
wedding dress at home
Love details at home
Wedding Invitation
Bridesmaids and bride in matching outfits
Wedding Portraits by Bella Wang Photography
mother doing the back of the bride's dress in black and white image
First look with her father during bridal prep
black and white bridal portrait
Wedding Portraits by Bella Wang Photography
bridal prep room
Wedding Portraits by Bella Wang Photography
mom adjusting veil on the bride
bridal portraits of the bride
Love her Home Ec class creations in the back of this photo! When at home, it’s important to include special sentimental details.
bridal portraits of the bride
www.bellawangphotography.com/weddings
black and white image of mother of the bride
bride getting ready in her house with parents
bride exiting her house

The ceremony at Our Lady of the Sea

Our Lady of the Sea located in Marblehead, MA was the setting for the ceremony.

Our Lady Star of Sea
Our Lady Star of Sea Marblehead, MA
Wedding at Our Lady Star of Sea Marblehead, MA
Wedding at Our Lady Star of Sea Marblehead, MA
Marblehead Wedding
Marblehead Wedding
Marblehead Wedding
The grand entrance by the bride and her father.
Father walking bride down the aisle and taking off blusher
Marblehead Wedding Our Lady Star of Sea Marblehead, MA
Marblehead Wedding Our Lady Star of Sea Marblehead, MA
Marblehead Wedding Our Lady Star of Sea Marblehead, MA
Marblehead Wedding Our Lady Star of Sea Marblehead, MA
Marblehead Wedding Our Lady Star of Sea Marblehead, MA
Wedding photography by Bella Wang Photography
Wedding at the marblehead, MA church
Wedding Portraits by Bella Wang Photography
Marblehead Wedding Our Lady Star of Sea Marblehead, MA
exchanging vows at the alter between bride and groom
Bride and Groom kissing. I do!
Way to celebrate!
Marblehead Wedding Our Lady Star of Sea Marblehead, MA
Marblehead Wedding Our Lady Star of Sea Marblehead, MA
Marblehead Wedding Our Lady Star of Sea Marblehead, MA
Bride and Groom exiting the church after the wedding
Bride and Groom exiting the church after the wedding
Bride and Groom exiting the church after the wedding
Couple portraits at the church after wedding ceremony
Classic portraits at the alter.
Couple portraits at the church after wedding ceremony
Classic plus fun! It all depends on my couple.
Couple portraits at the church in Marblehead, MA
Marblehead, MA
Couple portraits at the church in Marblehead, MA
Her priority was some couple portraits at her church, so we created these dramatic portraits
Couple portraits at the church in Marblehead, MA
Couple portraits at the Marblehead church our lady of the star
Walking out I saw the stained glass and the light. Stopped for another quick few photos.
Couple on the trolley after wedding ceremony heading to reception
Off they go to the reception location at Estate at Moraine Farm
Couple on the trolley after wedding ceremony heading to reception

The Estate at Moraine Farm

The Estate and Gardens at Moraine Farm were stunning. I was thrilled at how much space there was in the venue and the grounds were well kept – perfect for photos! And given the current pandemic, the presence of a large swath of land outdoors (+ good weather!) made it much more comfortable for everyone.

Family photos at Estate at Moraine Farm
Family portraits at the garden at Moraine Farm, Beverly, MA
Wedding party at the Estate at Moraine Farm
Wedding party at the Estate at Moraine Farm

Classic Couple Portraits at The Estate at Moraine Farm

Katie requested classic wedding portraiture and that was the style I created. Every couple has their own vibe and I strive to ensure it translates in the poses and frames I create.

Couple portraits in the garden at the Estate at Moraine Farm
Couple portraits in the garden at the Estate at Moraine Farm
Black and White Couple portraits in the garden at the Estate at Moraine Farm
Couple portraits in the garden at the Estate at Moraine Farm
Couple portraits in the garden at the Estate at Moraine Farm
Couple portraits in the garden at the Estate at Moraine Farm
Couple portraits in the garden at the Estate at Moraine Farm
Couple portraits in the garden at the Estate at Moraine Farm
Wedding Portraits by Bella Wang Photography

Cocktail Hour

The Estate at Moraine Farm
The Estate at Moraine Farm
Cocktail hour at Moraine Farm Wedding
Cocktail hour at Moraine Farm Wedding
Cocktail hour
Cocktail hour at the estate at Moraine Farm Wedding
Cocktail hour at Moraine Farm Wedding
Welcome table with table numbers for wedding guests
Cocktail hour at The Estate at Moraine Farm
Tent at Moraine Farm
Tent at Moraine Farm
Details at the wedding

Wedding Reception at Moraine Farm

Guests entering the tent at wedding
Guests entering the tent at wedding
Wedding Cake by Montillo's
Wedding Cake by Montillo’s
Wedding Cake by Montillo's
Floral details by Evergreen Florist
Floral details by Evergreen Florist
Floral details by Evergreen Florist and cake by Montillo's
First dance photos of the couple
First dance photos of the couple
First dance photos of the couple
Wedding Reception
Wedding Reception at Moraine Farm
Toasts and speeches at wedding reception
Toasts and speeches at wedding reception
greeting guests at wedding and speeches
greeting guests at wedding
Couple walking to the sunset photo spot

Wedding Couple Portraits

Tree photo at The Estate at Moraine Farm wedding reception
Tree photo at The Estate at Moraine Farm Wedding
We ducked away for 15 minutes to create these images under a nearby tree.
Tree photo at The Estate at Moraine Farm Wedding
I love it when I’m given time to create. Then I can make something special for couples. I love great light so I tell couples when the right light is available and we sneak away.

The epic image below is a panoramic photo made up of over 20 individual images stitched together. If you want to look up the technique, it’s called a Brenizer.

The Estate at Moraine Farm Wedding
The Estate at Moraine Farm Wedding
Tree photo at Moraine Farm Wedding

Father-Daughter dance

Dance with father and daughter at reception | The Estate at Moraine Farm
Dance with father and daughter at reception
Dance with father and daughter at reception
Wedding Portraits by Bella Wang Photography

Mother-Son Dance

Mother son first dance | The Estate at Moraine Farm
Mother son first dance

Sunset Portraits

I requested 5-10 minutes to get all of these images. I believe it adds a lot of variety for my couples’ galleries. During a slow moment in their reception, I scope out a location ahead of time so that the couple is only removed from their wedding for a few moments. I plan out my photos as much as I can and adjust given the couple’s mood. I try to be as efficient as possible because the wedding day isn’t all about photos, but at the same time you still want epic photos to remember your day by. It’s a hard balance for photographers, but I do my best to deliver an incredible level of service for my couples. I adapt and adjust depending on the needs of the day.

Sunset Portraits at Moraine Farm
Sunset Portraits at Estate at Moraine Farm Weddings
Ring of Fire wedding portrait
This is called a “Ring of Fire technique and I love using it when the light is right to add some variety and uniqueness for my couples!
Sunset portraits at Moraine Farm

Dance Floor at The Estate at Moraine Farm

Due to the pandemic, the dance floor has been removed from wedding receptions, but these folks still had some fun with their friends with some classic oldies came on!

Dance floor photos during wedding reception
Dance and reception photos
Dance and reception photos
Dance and reception photos
Boston Wedding Portraits by Bella Wang Photography
Bridesmaids and bride dancing
When Celine Dion came on, that was all it took to get Karaoke night started!
singing and dancing at wedding reception
singing and dancing at wedding reception
Bride heading back to her reception
Cake cutting
Dancing during reception of wedding during coronavirus
No dance floor, no worries!
Dancing during reception
Wedding Portraits by Bella Wang Photography
Cigar bar with father of the groom
They had a cigar bar going at the end of the evening
Groom portraits with cigar
Some of the groom of course
Groom and groomsmen brothers portraits with cigar
Time for some moody cigar bar shots at the end of the night.
Weddings at Estate at Moraine Farm
Boston wedding photographer Bella Wang Photography

Wedding Slideshow

Longer-form slideshow for friends & family

password protected

The Estate at Moraine Farm Wedding Cost

This wedding venue is a Trustee site and they seem to be very forthcoming about their pricing. With a little research, I dug up the cost of their weddings and it seems to start around $100 per guest. The fees incurred will be the venue rental as well as a tent rental if you plan on having a tented reception. For a New England wedding, you definitely want a tented event! You never can predict the weather. For a pricing link, head HERE.

Tree photo at Moraine Farm Wedding

Choosing the best hotel in Boston

The most important thing when choosing a hotel for your wedding is to ensure it makes sense logistically. You should choose a hotel that minimizes the travel time to your venues (both ceremony and reception). If parking is important for you then ensure you confirm parking cost and availability when booking. Often many Boston area hotels have limited parking, or the lot is far away and you need to valet your car.

The Ritz Carlton hotel in Boston
The Ritz Carlton hotel in Boston

Getting Ready in a Boston hotel

Getting ready inside the Ritz Carlton Boston hotel
Getting ready inside the Ritz Carlton Boston hotel

Often times brides and grooms choose to get ready and prepped in a hotel. This minimizes the number of locations people have to travel to, including your vendors. It also makes it easy so you don’t have to clean your place and get it photo ready. Now with COVID19 concerns, it’s better to not have too many guests inside your home to keep everyone safe and healthy.

Wedding Prep inside the Bostonian Hotel in Boston
Wedding Prep inside the Bostonian Hotel in Boston
Groom prep getting ready in The Bostonian hotel Boston
Groom prep getting ready in The Bostonian hotel Boston

Things to consider

Room size

Room size is very important and each hotel offers something unique. Many hotels have special bridal suites or presidential suites for couples getting married. Inquire with the hotel to see if those rooms are available. Check out the price too because those rooms are usually not cheap ($$$!).

Getting ready inside the Ritz Carlton Boston hotel and first look with father
Getting ready inside the Ritz Carlton Boston hotel and first look with father

The suites generally have a separate bedroom and living room so that you have a nice clean open area to do things like a first look with your bridesmaids or your dad in the main living area. With COVID19 concerns being able to separate certain rooms will make it safer for everyone as well in keeping the bride and vendors in one space and having the large wedding party in another room behind the door until they are invited in for photos.

Ritz Carlton Boston hotel room
Ritz Carlton Boston hotel room and suite

Room Style

Historic style of Boston Hotel

Boston is a very historic city so it’s blessed with a lot of vintage hotels like the Fairmont Copley Plaza, or the new Newbury Boston rebranded in 2020 from the old Taj Hotel. The Lenox shouldn’t be overlooked as an option and isn’t quite as well-known.

The Fairmont Copley in Boston hotel
The Fairmont Copley in Boston hotel

Classic Contemporary style of Hotel in Boston

Classic Contemporary options include XV Beacon right in Beacon Hill next to the Boston Commons and Public Gardens, The Colonnade Hotel right near the Prudential Center, or the classic Four Seasons Hotel right across the Boston Commons/Public Gardens. The Ritz Carlton is another relatively new option. If you’re looking for a spot near Harvard, then The Charles is a great hotel. The Intercontinental has a great and unique skyline and is near some scenic areas by the waterfront and Seaport District. You cannot go wrong with the uber-fancy and expensive Mandarin Oriental. It’s situated right by the Prudential Center and defines luxury.

Ritz Carlton Lobby area
Ritz Carlton Lobby area
The Langham Hotel room
The Langham Hotel room

Modern hotel style in Boston

If you’re looking for something more modern, The Verb Hotel is a great choice near Fenway. Also near Fenway is Hotel Commonwealth. YOTEL Boston is a budget-friendly choice with a rooftop bar located in the Seaport District. The Residence Inn by Marriott in the Seaport area has great exposed brick if that’s something you’re looking for. The Envoy is another great choice and is part of the Autograph Collection by Marriott as well. The Envoy is located in the Seaport District, so a bit further away from the downtown core.

Closer to the Public Gardens and Chinatown is the new Moxy Hotel (an offshoot of Marriott brand hotels). The Whitney Hotel is another great option in the Beacon Hill area if you’re getting married right downtown. Godfrey hotel is a great option in the Downtown Crossing district (not far from the Boston Commons and Chinatown). The Kimpton Nine Zero is a really cool design-focused hotel. The Langham is another suggestion of mine that has a great vibe to it. Further afar in South End is the Revolution Hotel.

Modern style hotel room Moxy Hotel in Boston
Modern style hotel room Moxy Hotel in Boston
Getting Ready in the Moxy Hotel Boston
Getting Ready in the Moxy Hotel Boston

Unique hotel in Boston

If you’re looking for something unique then The Liberty should be looked at because it’s an old converted jail. This is located at the border of Cambridge and Boston/Beacon Hill right by MGH.

The Liberty hotel for an engagement session in Boston
The Liberty hotel for an engagement session in Boston
The Liberty hotel for an engagement session in Boston
The Liberty hotel for an engagement session in Boston

Prep Photos in your hotel room

These are important to a lot of couples and the room can either help or hinder these photos. I can adapt to any circumstance, but please be realistic. If there are no windows and the space looks like a bomb went off in it, there’s only so much I can do.

Prep photos in the Langham Hotel for a wedding
Prep photos in the Langham Hotel for a wedding

However, if planned properly, I can make a simple Hampton Hotel room look like this:

Getting Ready in your Best Boston Hotel room
Wedding Portraits by Bella Wang Photography

The air-conditiong unit is being blocked by the bridesmaid on the left side of the photo. You can see a touch of the bed on the right bottom. I shoved them RIGHT up against the window that had a sliver of light coming through it to hide the rest of the room.

If the space is empty and gorgeous then I shoot wide and open like below at the Taj Boston hotel.

Taj Hotel in Boston now The Newbury Hotel
Taj Hotel in Boston now The Newbury Hotel

Or like in this bridal suite in the Fairmont Copley Plaza hotel.

The Copley Plaza Hotel Boston
The Copley Plaza Hotel Boston Suite

First Look in a Boston hotel

First looks are sometimes a big part of the wedding day. Personally, I like to tell couples to have a backup plan in case it rains. Outdoors is a great option too, but if the weather doesn’t cooperate, you need a backup plan. Depending on the hotel, if you book a nice enough room they may allow you access to the common spaces that aren’t being used by their guests. Please arrange this with your hotel and speak to them about your plans. I make no claims about their policies for first looks inside a hotel.

First touch in the Bostonian Hotel in Boston
Wedding Portraits by Bella Wang Photography
Langham has this cool hallway for a first look during a wedding I think!
Wedding Portraits by Bella Wang Photography

Generally what I look for in a great First Look location are great windows. This allows me not to rely on flash during an intimate moment such as a first look. If you choose a dark stairwell, I will have to employ flash to light the scene properly. An empty ballroom or even a hallway could be perfect for a first look.

The below image was taken in a dark unlit stairwell so I used flash to light the scene.

Ritz Carlton Boston First look during wedding
Wedding Portraits by Bella Wang Photography

The rooftop bar or rooftop patio are also other options for a first look depending if your hotel offers those options. It’s best to scope out their websites ahead of time and see what unique aspects they have to offer.

First look on the Bostonian hotel in Boston
Wedding Portraits by Bella Wang Photography
First look on the Bostonian hotel in Boston
First look on the Bostonian hotel in Boston
First look at the top level of the Moxy
First look at the top level of the Moxy
First look at the top level of the Moxy
First look at the top level of the Moxy
The Liberty hotel for an engagement session in Boston
Photography by Bella Wang Photography

Summary of the top hotels in Boston

These are some of the top hotels in Boston I’ve had the pleasure of photographing in for weddings during prep, first looks, ceremonies and receptions. Pick the right vibe for your style of wedding. match the colour to your wedding colours even! There are so many options.

  • The Fairmont Copley Plaza
  • The Newbury
  • The Four Seasons Boston
  • The Ritz Carlton Boston
  • Hotel Commonwealth
  • The Whitney Hotel
  • The Eliot Hotel
  • The Liberty Hotel
  • The Charles Hotel
  • The Bostonian
  • Boston Harbor Hotel
  • The Envoy Hotel, Autograph Collection
  • The Colonnade Hotel
  • XV Beacon
  • The Langham

Hope this will help you find the right hotel of the Best hotels in Boston.

Some recently blogged weddings:

Hei La Moon + Alden Castle Wedding

Boston City Hall Wedding

Most recent blog posts

Getting Ready in your Best Boston Hotel room

Journey into Parenthood

Many of my Baby 1 Year packages starts with a maternity session. Many families want to remember this milestone and moment in their lives. It’s a short but important period in their lives. Documenting this time isn’t something I take lightly. I love figuring out what each family wants to portray and I want to understand their goals and their vibe. Every family is different. If you’re looking for a Boston maternity photographer to capture these precious memories for you, then have a look at my Boston maternity photography below to see if we would be a good fit. At the end of the blog post, I’ll link to another urban maternity photo session as well as an at home lifestyle maternity session.

Boston Maternity Photographer

I’ve been photographing families for over 8 years and over that time, I’ve learned many skills with regard to posing to fit every type of personality. I’m mainly inspired by outfits and locations. Lindsey and Tim chose Larz Anderson Park for their backdrop and the columns and architectural elements lent perfectly to their glamorous outfits.

How to find your Boston-area maternity photographer

If you’re searching for a photographer, I tell families to look at a full set. This way you can see the variety of poses and images a photographer is able to create within a session. Sometimes a photographer can do one pose and then you’ll see that pose repeated throughout their portfolio. If that’s what you’re looking for, then that’s great! If you are looking for some variety, then make sure you see it.

For editing, many photographers differentiate with their style of edit. What may be trendy right now may not be what you want in 5-10 years. Remember sepia? To me, natural will always be better because what your eye sees will always stay true. Trends pass. Make sure you will love your photos 20-50 years from now.

Winter Maternity Session

You might not have guessed it, but this session happened on one of the COLDEST days in the dead of winter. Lindsey was a trooper and she seriously made this session the dream it was. For winter sessions, I LOVE adding an element of the unexpected, or architecture so that it makes up for the lack of texture we get from nature. She really levelled up the session by choosing to use Rent The Runway to source her maternity dress. When she sent me the link to her dress choice, I was immediately inspired with posing and the vibe I would want to go for. Old Hollywood never gets boring and there’s a timelessness to the feel of the styling.

Winter Maternity Photos in Boston

Please enjoy Lindsey and Tim’s winter photoshoot in Larz Anderson Park located in Brookline, MA.

Boston Winter Maternity photography session in Larz Anderson Park
Boston Winter Maternity photography session in Larz Anderson Park
Boston Winter Maternity photography session in Larz Anderson Park
Boston Maternity photographer
Boston Maternity photographer
Boston Maternity photographer
Boston Maternity photographer glam session
That outfit needed this pose. Love the back of that dress from Rent The Runway.
Expectant mom during maternity photo shoot
Isn’t she lovely?
Bump maternity style
Bump maternity style
Looking at her maternity bump and couple kissing under a tree during photography session
Winter maternity session in Boston
Winter maternity session in Boston
Couple Expecting their first child
Maternity style for photography session
Couple photo during maternity session
Her eyes glowed with the sparkle of the gold dress.
Larz Anderson park Maternity session
Larz Anderson park Maternity session
Larz Anderson park Maternity session
Boston park Maternity session
Expecting their first baby
Expecting their first baby
Expecting their first child
Maternity session outfit ideas
Boston maternity photography
It was SUPER windy that day, but I managed to put up my flash for a few photos before the wind blew it over.

Other Boston-area Maternity Photoshoots

If you would like to see other Boston maternity sessions, please click below:

At home lifestyle maternity session

Boston Skyline Esplanade Maternity Photography Session

Boston Maternity Session
Boston Winter Maternity photography Session

My most recent photography posts

Boston Winter Maternity photography session in Larz Anderson Park

Coronavirus Concerns

With big events being postponed due to government restrictions and safety concerns for family members, 2020-2021 weddings will look very different from prior years. The mandates put forth are constantly changing. For the most up to date information, please see MassLive. Per Governor Baker, Phase 3 will stay in effect until a vaccine is found. It’s an interesting time for weddings during Coronavirus.

The guiding principles set forth by the CDC can be found HERE. Gatherings have always been of concern because they could be super-spreader events. Since weddings are with large groups and for prolonged periods of time in close proximity, it is important to stay prudent and cautious in these times. Findings about the spread of the Coronavirus seem to indicate viral load as the main determining factor in infections. Viral load is the amount of virus a person is exposed to. This can come from the amount of time the person is exposed to an infected person while simply talking, as well as something like a sneeze or cough whereby a large amount of virus is projected at once.

Unique Ideas to Help

I can’t wait to share what the bracelets will look like for my first big wedding in 2020, but I saw an idea twirling around the interwebs showing coloured silicone bracelets indicating comfort levels of those wearing the bracelets. I think it’s a great idea to use for any weddings during coronavirus.

So for example, Green might mean I live with you so we can hug it out. Yellow is I’m friendly and OK with taking a group photo and waving at you from a slight distance. RED might mean.. keep your distance and I’m OK without being in group photos, but I just want to be here to support you because I love you!

Everyone feels very differently about the virus and this way guests don’t have to ask or feel each other out and can wear it on their sleeve. Another option my bride was considering was coloured ribbons so that they wouldn’t be as unattractive and would also be at eye-level. I can see guests struggling to safety pin this on though, so plan accordingly.

This way everyone can feel comfortable that they are being respected at your joyous event!

Healthy Practices for weddings during Coronavirus

  • Have an outdoor ceremony + reception
  • Wear masks inside churches
  • Provide hand sanitizer for guests near all entrance-ways and bathrooms
  • Open all windows and have as much circulation as possible
  • Keep prep room clean by keeping refuse away from the windows, artwork, sofas and beds
  • BWP will not be touching items of the client’s to keep everyone safe.
  • Have a helper for dress/hair/accessory adjustments
  • Make announcements/have signage visible to guests about masks, safety protocols and other protective measures you may be enacting for your wedding
  • Modify layouts
  • Zoom weddings
  • Makeup artists / hair artists

Keep things outdoors

Keeping wedding events outdoors will minimize the potential for spreading an infection. Since New England’s weather is unpredictable, the best thing is to plan for rain with tents as backups for ceremonies and receptions.

Wear a mask

If the ceremony is to take place in a church, ensure that people are safely distanced from one another and are not required to congregate in areas awaiting to be seated or for any other reason. Masks should always be worn when indoors to lower the risk of transmission. I know that accommodations are being made for the procession to be mask-free for those in the wedding party and for the bride and groom. If the rest of the guests can protect the wedding party members by wearing masks, we can still enjoy a beautiful ceremony in comfort knowing we are keeping our loved ones as safe as possible.

Hand Sanitizer at least 60% alcohol

Hand sanitizer should be made available at entrances and bathrooms so that guests can easily sanitize when entering the room, or after using the toilets.

Coronavirus Covid-19 Prevention

Have all windows and doors open

Good practice is to have windows and doors open to the outdoors to allow for as much fresh, clean, outdoor air to circulate indoors as much as possible.

No Touch

Prep rooms will look different in 2020/2021 until a vaccine is found. When I used to enter a hotel room, it would be filled with empty plastic bags, hangers all over the bed, makeup bags and bras tossed about. I would quickly clean things up to make sure the photos would look their best. However, due to COVID-19 I can no longer clean up a space. Please do your best to throw all of the unneeded items against a wall furthest from the windows or any features of the room (such as a nice sofa, the bed, or artwork). This will also ensure photos with everyone in enclosed spaces will take place as quickly as possible to minimize exposure. A little bit of prep can go a long way for weddings during Coronavirus.

Have no-touch trash cans to gather used disinfectant wipes, tissues and empty bags easily.

Please note that prep room photos must be discussed ahead of time with BWP to ensure this can be done safely. If masks aren’t being worn, other vendors will be present and the room is anticipated to be packed, BWP will photograph other parts of the day and wait for the space to be less busy so that social distancing of 6′ can be safely achieved. Exposure in the prep room will be kept at a minimum in 2020/2021 but I’ll get creative by taking objects out of the room to photograph. Have your wedding invitations ready, shoes, jewellery, and a friend to hang onto your wedding rings so that you always know where your valuables are! These will be taken to a safer area to photograph that is further away from the crowded room.

Once the room has emptied a bit and it has been cleaned up, I’ll pop back in to take the classic prep photos, bridesmaid robe photos, mother of the bride zipping up the back of the dress photo, etc. These images and what you want will be discussed ahead of time so that I can get them as efficiently as possible and not miss any of your ‘must-have’ photos! Nothing has to be sacrificed with enough planning and communication ahead of time.

For more information on my safety practices, please click this to this BLOG LINK.

Helper/Adjuster for safety

Since I will no longer be able to touch my brides and grooms, please have a friend to be your helper that day. Just have them adjust the train of your dress, straighten your necklace and tuck your hair correctly if it comes down as needed. I’ll point out where I need adjustments made as well. Please choose a friend that is in your household or someone that will wear a mask near you so that you stay as safe as possible.

Modified Layouts for weddings

Talk to your venue and caterer to modify your layout. One of my brides is installing a second tent at her wedding venue to allow for social distancing. Tables will be spread out further and only those living together will be sitting at tables together. Ensure seats are blocked off to space people out at least 6′.

Formal family photos during wedding at reception barn
At the barn before the guests were let in.

Livestream/Zoom your wedding

Another thing to consider is to livestream your wedding so your guests can enjoy the ceremony virtually! Have someone set up a phone or iPad somewhere to live stream the ceremony. Maybe improve the sound by adding a mic for quality.

Makeup and Hair Artists

Hair and makeup artists (MUAs) should already have their own safety practices in place. I have seen many post about new certifications they are earning in order to prove they can practice their craft safely. This isn’t my wheelhouse, so I’ll leave it to them to inform you of their safety measures. Ensure you ask any questions you might have so that you feel safe. Ask about how they are sanitizing their makeup, their tools and using as many one-use items as possible to decrease the risk of cross-contamination.

Wedding preparation with Makeup Artist
Wedding preparation with Makeup Artist – Yin Tom

Places not to overlook as spots for gathering

Don't have sign-in books, but rather individual cards for weddings during coronavirus
Don’t have sign-in books, but rather individual cards

Sign-in books

Guest sign-in books have always been popular. It’s a good thing now instead to have cards at each place setting that guests can fill in (have them bring their own pens to the wedding so you don’t share!) and then drop them in a basket so that you can enter them into the guest book after the wedding is over. Make sure you quarantine the cards for at least a few days just to be safe!

Sign-in stations should be reimagined in 2020/2021. NO guestbook
Sign-in stations should be re-imagined in 2020/2021

Bar

wedding bar no go weddings during coronavirus
Bars unfortunately are a no-go in 2020/2021

Bars are generally not allowed anymore specifically because this is where a lot of guests will gather and linger. I believe most venues are now requiring table service and no longer offering bar service. Please double check with your vendor team and caterers.

Buffets

No buffets for weddings during coronavirus.
So sad! No more gorgeous dessert spreads!

Same goes for buffets unfortunately! The safest bet is for plated meals. No need to provide a meal for the team of BWP in 2020/2021 as we will be bringing our own meal to weddings this year just to be overly cautious. We want to control as much of what we’re exposed to as possible so that we can stay healthy to keep photographing weddings for all of our couples! Bonus – you save $$$!!

Restrooms

Talk to your venue about restrooms and how that will be managed. You should consider limiting the number of people in the restroom. You should also prevent lines from forming outside if possible. Another thing to consider is higher-risk guests. Perhaps designate one bathroom for them so that they aren’t put at risk of exposure to the rest of the many guests in attendance? Again, it’s hard to segregate people since many can be asymptomatic carriers. It’s best to limit restroom usage if at all possible. If you need additional advice or considerations, feel free to reach out to me as this is a more private matter, but I have other suggestions.

Please talk to the venue to ensure that high-touch surfaces such as faucets, countertops, diaper changing tables, toilets, stall doors and doorknobs will be wiped regularly. Provide hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol in the restrooms and wipes to open the door with if possible. Maybe they can hire someone to just clean the bathrooms after each usage/every 15 minutes and you can talk about what that would cost. I can’t imagine a venue wouldn’t be willing to sell you an extra service! This way your guests can feel safer too.

Entering the church or reception space

Talk to your friends to help, or the venue space to have staff guiding guests by making an announcement ahead of time about staggered seating times. By staggering arrival times of guests you can space people out so that people aren’t gathering at once at single entrances. Another option is to have multiple entrances to allow guests to enter a space. Ensure guests know ahead of time which entrance they should be using to eliminate congestion. This is a great way to minimize exposure at weddings during Coronavirus.

Ride-Share / Party-bus

Limos, trolleys and just Ubers have been great ways of moving large numbers of guests between venues. However, due to COVID-19, it’s safer for guests to travel individually to their destinations. I can definitely grab a photo of the wedding party in their limo/trolley but then hop into my own car for transportation between locations.

Group Photos

This is going to be tricky. It all depends on how comfortable you feel personally with your guests and how comfortable they feel with you. These should be taken outdoors regardless if at all possible. Groupings should only be made with immediate family that live together, or if they are mixed groups, consider masks for the photos. If you want mask-less images, please tell guests to leave on their masks until everyone is situated properly. I will give a countdown and instruct people to lower their masks for the photo only. Then instruct everyone to put on their masks again. This will be discussed with you during our week-of the wedding consultation.

I will require a photo-helper for this portion of the day. The most organized way of doing this would be to enumerate every group photo that you need. Then tell the guests which numbers they should be present for. That number will be announced and they should be ready to be next for their photo. I have a longer post regarding stress-free family photos HERE, but I will update it with this new idea ASAP.

Safety/COVID-19 Point of Contact

The CDC recommends that one person be designated the point of contact for COVID-19/Coronavirus concerns. I think this is a good idea. Guests should be informed who this person is ahead of time so that they can bring up safety concerns to them throughout the day. This person should be allowed the authority to handle any issues so that the bride and groom aren’t pestered throughout the day.

Communication

The most important thing is communication. This will be with your guests, your family members, friends and vendors that you will be working with throughout your wedding day. Ensure that everyone keeps you up to date (or your designated COVID-19 Point of Contact) about any health concerns leading up to your wedding day. If anyone is concerned with exposure, or has come into contact with someone who has since tested positive, please instruct them to quarantine for 14 days in accordance with health regulations. Anyone with symptoms should be told to enjoy the event via Livestream. If there will be guests of a diverse range of languages, please provide signage in multiple languages.

So what if someone feels sick the day of?

The CDC recommends that the person immediately be isolated and taken home or a healthcare facility for testing, depending on how severe their symptoms are. Individuals who have come into close contact with that person should be informed immediately so they can take the necessary precautionary steps. Any areas the sick person has been in contact with should be immediately disinfected and cleaned. It’s better to be safe than sorry so that everyone can rejoice in future happy family celebrations together.

Need Masks?

So I’ve been doing a lot of research and I have a lot of clients that are doctors. They gave me a huge list of resources. I have linked them all at the bottom of this BLOG. Click through to purchase masks for your friends and family, especially those at higher risk. There’s even a link to an N95 (not surgical, so not to worry that you are taking away PPE for medical personnel) which needs 3 weeks turnaround to ship to your door. If you’re a BWP bride, I have some Halyard600 fabric and can make you a mask or insert for a pretty bridal mask. Just reach out.

If you just want something pretty and not necessarily top of the line for protection, then click into these bridal mask options.

Guest sign-in table

Where to have your Boston-area photoshoots

This has been a topic I’ve meant to do a big write-up on for the longest time. I guess it took a pandemic to make time for it! With people wanting to safely social distance during photoshoots, I recommend heading a bit out of the city for some reprieve from the crowds, joggers, dogs and bikers. Here is a list of some of my favourite locations photoshoots I’ve photographed in.

This is not a definitive list. I can honestly make any location work. I photograph in people’s homes 85% of the time and I have never set foot in their homes before the session, and I always have to make it work. That training over the past several years has helped me hone into what’s important to include in my frame of an image and what to crop out. If you stay until the end of the blog post I will show examples of some small parks and parking lot photo sessions. I keep forgetting to take more behind-the-scenes images, but when I get more, I will add them to this post. Just know you don’t have to go to the Public Gardens and that’s actually my least favourite place to photograph in the Boston area. Here’s my list for locations for photoshoots.

Locations are a personal preference

I had a PDF that I used to email to everyone when they asked for location suggestions. I tell them that they have to make sure they love it because a location is very much a personal preference. I love street art, derelict buildings, muddy puddles, splashing in the lake, and hikes up mountains. I can confidently say that 99% of my sessions do not include any of those items.

The things I tend to steer away from include iconic locations where you HAVE to photograph in this one spot from a specific location or there’s no point for that spot. Given the pandemic, I do not want to be lining up for a location, or having to cluster near a feature. Even if there wasn’t a pandemic, I follow the light and I love texture. When some landscape designers install a bridge or a gazebo, they don’t have the light in mind. Just because it’s there, I won’t necessarily use a bridge or gazebo unless the light is perfect. As a photographer, we see the world with light and shadow. It’s hard to convince someone unless they’ve had the training, but that’s why you’ve hired me – because you want me to make those choices and direct you to gorgeous backdrops.

If there is a location you have to have as a backdrop, please ask me during your consultation and make that abundantly clear so I can tell you how feasible it is. I want to make you happy, but that sometimes means changing the time of the session, bringing artificial lighting, or sacrificing the posed nature of the image captured there (because children will not hold a pose for a lighting setup). It’s a very technical decision sometimes, but I can make it work if that is the key image.

Summary of suggested locations for photoshoots

I provide examples for almost all of the following locations. I have been all across Boston and the greater Boston area. New locations don’t phase me. Under each location I give more tips on parking, things to consider, etc as well as the city these spots are located in.

  1. Boston Public Gardens
  2. Charles River Esplanade
  3. Boston Commons
  4. Christopher Columbus Park
  5. The Fens
  6. ICA / Seaport District
  7. Davis Square / Trolley Square/ Powderhouse Circle
  8. Tufts Campus
  9. Fresh Pond Reservation
  10. Alewife Brook Reservation
  11. Danehy Park
  12. Christian Herter Park
  13. North Point Park
  14. Menetomy Rocks Park
  15. Tobert MacDonald Park
  16. The Fells
  17. Beaver Brook Reservation
  18. Rock Meadow Conservation Land
  19. Minuteman National Park
  20. Wellesley College
  21. Lynn Woods
  22. Lower Commons, Wakefield
  23. Breakheart Reservation
  24. Larz Anderson Park
  25. Arnold Arboretum
  26. Fort Sewall, Marblehead
  27. Crane Beach, Ipswich
  28. North Shore Beach
  29. Wingaersheek Beach, Gloucester
  30. Backyard
  31. Park near you

Downtown locations for photoshoots

I will no longer be photographing any locations downtown (this includes the Charles River, Boston Public Gardens, Boston Commons, Christopher Columbus Park, any South End park) unless the session ends by 7:30 am. The sessions last about 40 minutes, so we would need to start by 6:50am at the latest. If this is too early for you, please consider a location out of the city. Ending by 7:30am is what I consider a ‘sunrise’ session (“sunrise for safety and OK light”). True sunrise for beautiful light is when true sunrise is according to this website.

If you are willing to consider a sunrise session, these are some visual examples of those locations:

1. Boston Public Gardens Photoshoot

Sunset and dad, mom and child at Boston Public Gardens
Sunset lasted for 2 minutes so we did a sequence to make the most of it. (I will not longer be photographing sunset at the public gardens)

2. Charles River Esplanade Photo Session

Boston Maternity session by the Charles River with prudential center in background
They just pop against the skyline don’t they? (sunset)
He bent down on one knee to ask for her hand in marriage
Sunset over the Charles River with boats in the background and city skyline, the couple in the foregraound
The sunset that evening was surreal. If you’re a local to Boston, you know these sunsets aren’t a regular occurrence. (I will not be photographing sunsets at the Charles in 2020)

3. Boston Commons for a maternity session

Boston Commons Maternity session | suggested Locations for photoshoots
Boston Commons Maternity session (this is sunset)

4. Christopher Columbus Park

Christopher Columbus park family photography session | suggested Locations for photoshoots
Christopher Columbus Park (this is sunset)

5. The Fens

Near Fenway is another cute spot that has great landscaping. Please note that most of this land is made up of small patches of community gardens. I love it though!

Maternity photography Boston | locations for photoshoots
Maternity photography Boston | The Fens
Engagement Photos at The Fens in Boston
Engagement Photos at The Fens in Boston

6. ICA / Seaport District

Sunrise option available if you love the downtown landscape! If you want a city feel away from the crowds, I love the seaport district near the Childrens museum and the ICA. They recently renovated the waterfront to have some great new features.

Boston Childrens Museum
ICA Boston Downtown

The following images are more creative (so not available for sessions with younger children). It requires flash and posing so it would work really well for engagement and senior sessions.

Bella Wang Photography, LLC
The bottom photos on the set above are natural light (sunset).
Dancer in front of skyscrapers in Boston Seaport District Boston senior session
After the ICA we wanted some backdrop variety so we did an outfit change that matched the setting perfectly. | Seaport District
Dancer at the ICA in Boston
Senior session at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston’s Seaport District
Sunrise over the ICA Boston with dancer in foreground
The soft glow of light and the gentle outline of her dress really makes this shot come together
Dancer in front of skyscrapers in Boston Seaport District

Somerville / Cambridge for photo sessions

7. Davis Square Powderhouse Park / Trolley Square| Somerville, MA

Let’s say I live in Davis Square so I shoot at these locations ALL the time. I come almost weekly to these spots because of my Davis Square location discount. Many of my clients also live in the area!

Davis Square suggested Locations for photoshoots
Trolley Square. Caveat: It’s on the Minuteman path so there are bikers/joggers. This is a sunrise only location.

This is the same family! We have been seeing each other since she was still inside her mama’s belly. We haven’t left the square yet! So many choices and you don’t have to go far.

Tufts Powderhouse suggested Locations for photoshoots
Davis Square – Powderhouse park

8. Tufts Campus | Somerville MA

Lots of spots around campus. I should note that campus is reopening in the Fall so there may be some tents set up closer to the start of the Fall semester.

Bella Wang Photography, LLC
Tufts University campus | suggested Locations for photoshoots
Tufts Campus. Depending on the season, the campus has different features.

9. Fresh Pond Reservation| Cambridge, MA

This area is near the newly constructed playground.

The caveat for the above location is that part of it is a playground. I am not sure if it will be closed or how comfortable your family is in a playground setting with regards to Coronavirus. Parking in this area is also tricky if you are not a Belmont or Cambridge permit holder.

The below area is also nearby but easier to access via parking near the Trader Joe’s at Alewife Brook Parkway.

Fresh Pond Reservation Family photography session | suggested Locations for photoshoots
Fresh Pond Reservation

10. Alewife Brook Reservation

Just around the bend from there is another park that I love. It’s a thoroughfare that connects Belmont to Cambridge. It’s called Alewife Brook Reservation. It’s just off the T line from Alewife station. Parking here is incredibly hard to find unless you park at the T.

suggested Locations for photoshoots | Alewife reservation
Alewife Brook Reservation

11. Danehy Park | Cambridge, MA

I shoot at Danehy park a lot! I love it there. There are a lot of choices in the massive city park. We can easily move from place to place when people come around. I actually convinced one family to stay close by last year for their family session and they were happy I talked them out of heading further out.

Danehy Park family photography session
Bella Wang Photography, LLC
suggested Locations for photoshoots
Danehy Park sunset session in the fall
Bella Wang Photography, LLC
Danehy Park family photography session: suggested Locations for photoshoots
Danehy Park family photography session

12. Christian Herter Park | Cambridge, MA

One of my favourite parks because it has easy parking! The water is steps away from the parking lot. I do have to note that this is a busier park because it’s by the Charles River. There are a lot of joggers and bikers along the water. If you are ok not being by the water, we can find a quieter patch to photograph in.

Locations for photoshoots : Christian Herter Park
Christian Herter Park
Christian Herter Park
Christina Herter Park Cambridge, MA | suggested Locations for photoshoots
Christian Herter Park Cambridge, MA
Christina Herter Park Cambridge, MA | suggested Locations for photoshoots
Christian Herter Park Cambridge, MA
Family session just after the rain with puddles | suggested Locations for photoshoots
puddles add a really great dimension to photos and check out that sky!

13. North Point Park | Cambridge, MA (sunrise only)

I’m not going to reinvent the wheel, so if you want to see a whole bunch of photos taken at North Point, click HERE to see the blog post. I’m calling this a sunrise only session location because it’s right in the city and sometimes quite busy. Parking is also a huge pain here.

Trees in North Point Park in the Summer | suggested Locations for photoshoots
Trees in North Point Park in the Summer
Fall Foliage at North Point Park in Cambridge
North Point Park in the Fall
The girls are having so much fun!
Playground at North Point Park
North Point Park, Cambridge, MA
Locations for photoshoots : North Point Park

Arlington / Medford / Belmont / Concord for photo sessions

14. Menetomy Rocks Park | Arlington, MA (sunrise only)

I love this park in Arlington. Parking is found all around the park, so make sure we agree to meet in the right area. The most ‘iconic’ spot is the pond right in the center. I love this location for photoshoots. I am willing to do sunsets if you are flexible with location choices. We just have to dance around the many walkers/bikers/dog walkers. It’s pretty popular with off-leash dog walkers, unfortunately.

Menetomy Rocks Park arlington Family photography session
Menetomy Rocks Park Arlington Family photography session
Menetomy Rocks Park Arlington Family session
Menetomy Rocks Park Arlington Family session
Menetomy Rocks Park arlington Family photography session
Menetomy Rocks Park Arlington Family photography session

15. Tobert MacDonald Park| Medford, MA

The parking lot for this park is right by the Police station. Have you noticed how much I love easy logistics? It’s from years of running between back-to-back sessions and having families rush to a location because of a throw-up, I know how important it is to find easy parking. I always tell parents I can make any location work. The main thing is if they can get there easily and not be late. Sunrise is sunrise and sunset is unforgiving. We cannot argue with Mother Nature!

Tobert MacDonald Park in Medford, MA
Tobert MacDonald Park in Medford, MA

I photographed this family at another nearby park across from the Costco shopping center and LOVED how that turned out as well. There are so many options.

16. The Fells | Medford, MA

I adore the fells. I was actually there hiking this morning. When it has just rained you can smell the fresh wood. I have been going there for years. It’s for the more rugged families that are used to mud and muck. You have to dress properly and expect dirt and exploration. Basically, this isn’t a place for heels and dresses. If you love nature like me, this is a great suggested Location for photoshoots.

The Fells Family session photography
The Fells Family session photography
The Fells Family session photography
Time for exploration

17. Beaver Brook Reservation | Belmont, MA

The little guy below had almost his entire session at this one park. It was easy as it was just down the street from his house. They often walked their dog Hattie here so it was sentimental to them. Locations aren’t the focus for me. It’s all about the light, interaction, emotion and expression.

Beaver Brook Reservation Belmont
Beaver Brook Reservation Belmont

During his 6 month photo session, we really lucked out with the most stunning sunset in the PARKING LOT. Have I mentioned how many of my images are basically created by a parking lot?

Beaver Brook Reservation, Belmont
Belmont Family Photography

This was the epic parking lot photo we got after sunset as we were all walking back to our cars:

Belmont sunset during family photography session
Belmont sunset during family photography session

18. Rock Meadow Conservation area | Belmont, MA

I’ve done a blog set on this location, so again, I’ll direct you there to take a look at the landscape (BLOG POST)! I’ve photographed there often. I do have to make a note that it has become VERY popular. It’s more of a sunset location just because of the direction of the light/sun. This would not be suitable for a weekend location.

This session took place on an overcast and almost storming day:

Belmont Rock Meadows Reservation
Belmont Rock Meadows Conservation
Belmont Rock Meadows Conservation
Belmont Rock Meadows Conservation
Belmont Rock Meadows Conservation
Belmont Rock Meadows Conservation
Family play photography session in Belmont
My favourite image of the session. It captures the nature and essence of this family at this moment perfectly.

19. Minuteman National Park | Concord, MA

I wouldn’t expect us to get a bridge photo as it’s a main thoroughfare, but it’s a great sprawling park with a lot of scenery. Lots of things to climb on and explore! It’s massive and a place for the kids to run wild.

Minuteman National Park Concord Family photography Session
Minuteman National Park Concord Family photography Session
Minuteman National Park Concord Family photography Session
Minuteman National Park Concord Family photography Session
Bella Wang Photography, LLC
Minuteman National Park Family photoshoot photography
Bella Wang Photography, LLC

A bit further out / Wellesley, Lynn, Wakefield, Saugus for photo sessions

20. Wellesley College | Wellesley, MA

Wellesley College Family session
Wellesley College Family session
Wellesley College Family session
Wellesley College Family session
Wellesley College Family session sunset
sunset

21. Lynn Woods | Lynn, MA

I haven’t photographed or been here yet, but I do a lot of my scouting online before a session using just Google maps. If you want to read more about it, click on TripAdvisor.

22. Lower Commons, Wakefield MA

This was chosen by a Baby 1 Year family because they lived in Wakefield. It had a great green space, water and a gazebo for some interest. The parking lot was right there as well. I wouldn’t say this park is special, it’s merely an example that I can photograph any location and I don’t need to scout it out ahead of time. I just need cooperative subjects and good light.

Lower Commons Wakefield, MA family photography session
Lower Commons Wakefield, MA family photography session
Lower Commons Wakefield, MA family photography session
sunset
Lower Commons Wakefield, MA family photography session
Lower Commons Wakefield, MA family photography session

23. Breakheart Reservation | Saugus, MA

This is another location that looks great on Google Maps. Check out the town website for details. I would definitely put this on a list of photogenic locations to check out.

OK so I checked it out on July 5th and it’s a beautiful place. I don’t know if I would recommend it for little children, but definitely for older kids, maternity or engagement sessions. The space is beautiful and if I can control where people stand and how they pose, I’ll likely be able to create epic images. With toddlers, I likely wouldn’t think it’s ideal unless parents are OK with purely documentary/exploration style. I would need to employ flash/lighting techniques to really bring out this location and unfortunately, with little ones, there’s no way that will happen.

breakheart reservation location photos
Breakheart reservation location photos

It was a beautiful, foggy, overcast day when I went. These are just some iphone snaps I took, so the finished ‘real photo’ effect will be very different.

24. Larz Anderson (sunrise only)

Classic Family Photo in Brookline
The money shot in my opinion. This was the last 5 minutes of the session when the toddlers were worn out and I had a moment to create this. I never know when this moment will happen. It could be the first 5 minutes, or the final 5 minutes. I am so pleased with the outcome!

I’ve covered Larz Anderson park extensively. I was bored of the Public Gardens a few years ago and suggested this park as an alternative. It’s located in Brookline. I will direct you to some full blog posts on this suggested location for photoshoots.

Boston family photographer Fall foliage
Larz Anderson Park on a rainy day

Family Session at Larz Anderson Blog Post # 1

Family Session at Larz Anderson Blog Post # 2

Family Session at Larz Anderson Blog Post #3

Larz Anderson Family photography session
Larz Anderson Family photography session 2019

25. Arnold Arboretum (sunrise/sunset only)

Parking is tricky here because people tend to not expect the parking is just along the side of the road. Then they are usually late and roar right past it and then it’s about 15 minutes to circle back and park. I send parking instructions with every session here, but each time it’s still a fiasco for the uninitiated. If it’s your first time, I would recommend going once beforehand or leave an extra 20 minutes for parking. The Arboretum is one of my favourite locations for photoshoots.

Arnold Arboretum Family photography Session
Arnold Arboretum Family photography Session

I love this grand park in Jamaica Plain. There are so many spots to photograph here and we can avoid crowds by going off to the side.

Arnold Arboretum engagement photography Session
Photography by Bella Wang Photography
Arnold Arboretum Family photography Session
Arnold Arboretum Family photography Session
Arnold Arboretum Family photography Session
Arnold Arboretum Family photography Session
Arnold Arboretum maternity photography Session
Arnold Arboretum maternity photography Session
Arnold Arboretum engagement photography Session
Arnold Arboretum engagement photography Session

By the Coast / North Shore for photo sessions

26. Fort Sewall| Marblehead, MA

Boats coming into the harbor in Marblehead, MA
Boats coming into the harbor in Marblehead, MA because the tide was coming in and the sun was setting.
Sunset engagement photos on the ocean
But I am opportunistic so I stole a couple of minutes to get these dramatic photos before we ran off.

I’ve been here 3 times and each time it looks different! For the full engagement session, please click HERE.

27. Crane Beach | Ipswich, MA

There’s paid parking at this beach so fees do apply, but you won’t find a more beautiful beach on the North Shore. We can easily social distance from people at sunset/sunrise on the weekdays. It’s that massive. I do not recommend weekends as it’s an absolute madhouse. Please also note greenhead season in July/August. We don’t want to be eaten alive there.

I should point out that there are restrictions currently at Crane Beach and that you have to secure a spot. Please reach out to them directly for the latest information about a sunset/sunrise session. I want you to feel confident you got the info right from the source. Online info HERE.

Crane Beach Family session photography | suggested Locations for photoshoots
Crane Beach Family session photography
Crane Beach engagement session | suggested Locations for photoshoots
Crane Beach engagement session
Crane Beach engagement session | suggested Locations for photoshoots
Photography by Bella Wang Photography
Crane Beach engagement session | suggested Locations for photoshoots
Crane Beach engagement session

28. North Shore Beach

Somewhere along the North Shore is another rocky beach where these elopement wedding images were taken. It was empty when we went. I forget where it was, but if you are interested, reach out to me.

North Shore beach elopement wedding photography | suggested Locations for photoshoots
North Shore beach elopement wedding photography

29. Wingaersheek Beach | Gloucester, MA

These were photographed at 8:30am when the parking lot opened. The beach is very tricky for photography and I highly recommend sunset or sunrise because you will have a warmth to the images and it won’t make you squint in all of your photos. If you know yourself and know you wear sunglasses at the beach, please plan to have a sunset/sunrise session. If we can figure out a weekday sunset or sunrise without parking issues, this is one of the great beach locations for photoshoots. Keep in mind, greenheads are also an issue here besides at Crane from around Mid-July to Mid-August. I will point out that many beaches are closed to non-locals on weekends. Please verify.

Wingaersheek Beach family photo
Bella Wang Photography, LLC
Wingaersheek Beach family photo boy running through water black and white
Wingaersheek beach
Wingaersheek Beach family photo
Wingaersheek Beach family photo

I still remember losing my 85mm lens to the ocean during this session!

Also, consider nearby for photo sessions

30. Backyard or Apartment Common Area | Locations for photoshoots near you

I can make a simple location look beautiful just through choosing the lens, knowing the light and cropping intentionally. I just need to know what the space looks like that I will be working with so I can consult with you whether or not it will work.

Newborn session in apartment backyard pool area

More suggestions to make your backyard work in this BLOG POST.

sprinkler at home family photography
I love sprinklers in the backyard
At home family photography session Newton
At home family photography session Newton
At home family photography session Newton
At home family photography session Newton

Families are always shocked when I can make a simple space they may have overlooked into something magical. The following was taken in their apartment parking lot.

family photos at home in a parking lot. Unexpected Locations for photoshoots
family photos at home in a parking lot

31. Nearby Park | near you

I can make a small patch of greenery or florals look lush. You don’t have to travel far. I can do an entire session within 40 feet of the parking lot. I do a lot of scouting using Google maps. The only thing I cannot tell is if there is seasonal foliage or florals or construction. Those need to be verified closer to the date.

Photography session in nearby park Waltham. Unexpected Locations for photoshoots
Photography session in nearby park Waltham

They go walking here all the time with their baby girl, so we had our session here. These images were taken back to back (one with my camera, and the other with the phone- ha! Guess which is which?). What you see and what I see may be quite different.

watertown dam
watertown dam

If you have some place in mind

Send me a pin and send me some panoramic photos! I prefer you take the photos when you plan to have the session, but just let me know what time you took the photos and if it’s a pano, I can extrapolate the information I need. If you just take a snap, I cannot tell where the sun is in relation to the landscape. The pin on google is important so I know where to go!

Some examples of photos that I’ve taken as ‘research’ photos to give me a sense of the space:

mystic-valley-parkway
mystic-valley-parkway

The way I photograph a location for my own reference is different than how I would want images from you. Panoramic photos will give me context. I cannot always shoot with the lake as a background. I will have to use artificial lighting to make you pop otherwise it will be a silhouette. These flash photos will only work with adults or kids over 10.

If you can also send me the information on direction of the sunset/sunrise that would be optimal. Otherwise, tell me what time the photo was taken (taking a photo between 11-1 will not give me any information since it’s just overhead). I use an app on location to give me a sense of the lighting of a location as well. These are just the everyday little things I do for planning and why you hired a professional, so please take my advice for planning purposes. Again, I ask for photos and timing so that I can help with information and planning. Sending photos randomly without context at noon will not give me any information. I really just have to make that clear so that I don’t come back to ask additional questions. I want this to be as easy as possible!

Search Results Web results  The Photographer's Ephemeris
This app is called TPE: The Photographer’s Ephemeris

You don’t have to take any of these photoshoot location suggestions. These are merely a jumping-off point. I hope they will help you plan your socially distanced photo session. There’s no need to stress about finding the ‘perfect’ spot.

You can always just let me choose a location, but I do want families to know themselves. If you are easy-going then any location I pick will be great. If you know you only like manicured gardens then please don’t ‘trust me’ and be disappointed when I choose someplace more natural. I always ask people to verify the location is to their expectations before a session because I don’t want them to hate it. I love abandoned buildings, alleyways with graffiti, climbs up mountains, giant mud puddles. I also love modern architecture, clean lines and harsh shadow/light play. I would say that I typically only work 99% of the time in places NOT as described above (I’m at the Public Gardens 5 times a week typically). So be honest with yourself. I can make any place work.

When I first started, parents cared so much about locations and drove 45 minutes to a spot only to have their toddler meltdown because of the distance traveled. The session isn’t up to us. If you have older children, then we can head further out of town. Just know your children.

Things to keep in mind include parking, when parking lots open, permits and fees related to shooting locations and closures due to construction, COVID-19 or pests (such as horseflies at Crane beach). Washrooms are also something to keep in mind as many places are closed and personally I am avoiding public washrooms.

For at home sessions, I ask for panoramic photos and a questionnaire to be filled out asking what your favourite aspects are of your yard (and areas to avoid). This will all be sent to you when you book your photo session.

There are a tonne of other locations I’ve photographed at, but this blog post is getting a bit lengthy. If there’s some place else you’d like me to cover in this post please reach out and I’ll dig up some examples.

I hope this list helps you find the best locations for your photoshoots

If this resource is helpful, sign up for my newsletter. I’ll be adding more tips and advice for planning sessions in the coming months. Once those blog entries are available, I’ll send you a notification right to your inbox. You can unsubscribe any time. I won’t spam you. My goal is to gather a couple of entries before I send off a newsletter maybe once every 1-3 weeks depending on the season. You can sign up below.

Best Boston photoshoot locations | where to have your photography session
Arnold Arboretum engagement photography Session

Mommy and Me

So often it’s mothers that are organizing these photo sessions because they are the ones taking the photos constantly of their family, but rarely in the family photos themselves. I believe that it’s my job to ensure that I focus on Motherhood during my family sessions. When people reach out to me, I always try and get a sense of their goals. Some parents I’ve seen every year for 7+ years so we are in sync now, but I still send out a questionnaire before every session to see if their minds have changed.

I know that so many mothers of course have a goal of getting incredible images of their child at this moment in their lives, but I don’t think my duty ends there. I work incredibly hard to make sure no one is forgotten in my sessions. My sessions are all about the family, the interactions between the children and their mother, as well as her partner.

Boston Family Photography

I have clients coming in from different states to have their photos taken by me and I’m always so incredibly flattered. It seriously blows my mind that people will travel for hours just to see me! Some past clients have moved away only to return periodically to have updated photos because they weren’t able to find someone to replace me in their new hometown. I am forever thankful that my work is so valued.

I put 100% of my heart into every session and I don’t leave until I know I have a breadth of work that I’m happy with. That’s also why I don’t do mini-sessions. There is so much pressure for a child to perform and behave in 10 minutes that sometimes it just triggers a meltdown. I’ve seen it too often before and I now try and communicate parents not to play up these sessions too much. It’s just about play and exploration. Don’t look at it as something they have to do. Photosessions should be fun! It’s all about setting a peaceful, relaxed mindset. It’s how I have been able to create the beautiful imagery below.

A slideshow of Imagery

I made a slideshow featuring some images taken from Spring 2019 until March 2020 before COVID-19 shut down everything. I am so incredibly proud of what we were able to create in about 3/4 of a year.

Please enjoy the slideshow of images featuring Motherhood:

Motherhood Slideshow

Motherhood in photography

Motherhood is celebrated in my work, no matter the event. From weddings, maternity, to newborns and family sessions… I’m there beside so many families to capture their precious memories.

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Bella Wang Photography, LLC
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Mommy and me session
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Larz Anderson Park session and at home
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South End family photography
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Columbus Park Boston family photography
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Boston newborn photographer
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Larz anderson family fun
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Motherhood photography
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Davis Square family photographer
Davis Square family photographer
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Family photography at weddings
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Family photography at memorable places
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Newborn session at home lifestyle photography Boston
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Mommy and me
Chunky baby thighs
Chunky baby thighs
Family session at home lifestyle photography Boston
at home lifestyle photography Boston
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Newborn session at home lifestyle photography Boston
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Cambridge Family session North Point Park
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Boston public gardens family session
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Lifestyle newborn session at home Boston
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Lifestyle newborn session at home Boston
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Bella Wang Photography, LLC
Lifestyle newborn session at home. Motherhood.
Lifestyle newborn session at home. Fresh 48

Book a 2020 Session

To book a session, reach out to me via my contact form. Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter for first access to dates. With extra precautions due to Covid19 I am only taking on limited sessions with families that are ok with my procedures on safety precautions. Thank you so much for understanding!

2020 session blog post | How they will look

For printers, many families have been asking what I recommend. I have been sending everyone to Mpix.com for several years now and everyone has been very happy. If you’re not happy, please contact them and they will make it right with a print credit/re-print.

Boston Family Photographer serving New England. Candid, lifestyle type imagery with a natural edit.
Motherhood in Boston Family photography

Spotlight on dads

This ones for the dads out there. You all play an incredible role in your families. Thank you for always being there for them. Thank you for leading by example. Thank you for your compassion and love. Thank you for charting a course for the future. This post is to all of the fathers I’ve had the pleasure of meeting over the years. The images, in particular, were compiled from sessions starting last Summer until this March when the world came to a standstill. What a strange year it’s turned out to be. No matter what the world has thrown at you, you’ve stood up to the plate and became the rock your family needed. Fatherhood is one of the most important roles one will ever play.

Father and child family photography Boston
Bella Wang Photography, LLC

Thank you for all that you do.

Today is a special day for some incredible people in our lives. Thank you to all of my wonderful and supportive families that continue to allow me to capture your memories… from maternity, to newborn, as the kids get older, graduations, and also weddings. Fathers will remain by our sides and in our hearts forever.

“The nature of impending fatherhood is that you are doing something that you’re unqualified to do, and then you become qualified while doing it.”

John Green

Fatherhood in Photos

Each dad has his own way of expression his love and affection for his family and children. My job has always been to capture your truth. Every love between a father and child is unique.

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Maternity photography Boston
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Boston newborn photographer
Father and child Newborn photography Boston
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Generations
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Beacon Hill Family Photographer
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South End Family Photographer
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Arlington Family Photographer
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Belmont family photography
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Cambridge Family Photographer
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Boston public gardens family photos
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Family photos
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Family photography in Boston
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Brookline Family photography

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken (wo)men.”

Frederick Douglas
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Playground family Photos
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Newborn and maternity photographer Boston
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Brookline family photography
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Newborn and fresh 48 photographer Boston area
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Harvard Family Photographer
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Fresh 48 Photographer
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Boston Photographer
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Baby 1 year photography
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Newborn at home session
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Fatherhood and wedding photography
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The Father’s Day Slideshow

Fun activities in Boston

If you’re in need of something to do this week, check out this ARTICLE about fun things to do around the Boston area!

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www.bellawangphotography.com
www.bellawangphotography.com
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Stress-free formal family portraits

Formal family portraits are an incredibly important part of a wedding day. You may have noticed I don’t typically share too many of these types of images on my website, blog or social media, but that doesn’t mean I don’t take formal family group portraits. So many couples reach out after their wedding and comment about how I am so incredibly efficient and effective at grouping family portraits. I’m here to make your day run as smoothly as possible. I take command during these parts of the day and couples have raved that I had a lot of the stress off of their day I love this kind of feedback! My goal is to remove as many stress points as possible so that you’re free to enjoy your party.

Gorgeous and Efficient Family Group Photos

Family photos can be as formal as you want them. It really depends on the couple. Below are some selections from past weddings I have delivered. If you are taking photos at a church, they will be formal. If you are open to other locations, I can just vibe off you two and allow you to set the tone. Photos don’t have to be painful if you don’t want them to be. Communicate to me your goals and I’ll just go with the flow! I am fast at adapting and this wedding is about you, not me.

1. Decide when/where you want to do family formals and if you want to space them out between different parts of your day

Formal family photos during wedding
Wedding Portraits by Bella Wang Photography. These were taken at the prep hotel. These images were taken indoors in a dark lounge. I employed flash to get a beautiful portrait.
Formal family photos during wedding during reception
Family photos at Reception. Since it was indoors, I used flash again.
Formal family photos during wedding after ceremony
These were taken after the outdoor ceremony
Formal family photos during wedding at church
At the church right after the ceremony is a classic location.
Formal family photos during wedding informal
Things can be informal. These were taken after the first look. Since this was outdoors and the light was great, I used natural sunlight.
Formal family photos during wedding at reception barn
At the barn before the guests were let in. These images were taken using flash photography.
Formal family photos during wedding at ceremony
This was after the ceremony at their backyard wedding. (Flash)
Formal wedding photos that are fun
(natural sunlight)

As you can see, there’s no one place to take family portraits. It’s most efficient to take them back to back, but if time doesn’t allow for it (for instance, some churches require you to exit within 30 minutes of the end of your ceremony), we can finish your list at another location. The following locations are great for family portraits depending on when your family will arrive:

2. Family photos can be informal or dramatic

It’s your wedding so do it your way. You know your family dynamic best. If fun family photos is what you want, I can make that happen. I’ll just follow your flow.

Informal Formal family photos during wedding
Again, just have fun with it! All sunlight/natural light.
Formal family photos during wedding at hotel
Dramatic with artificial light (flash) at the prep hotel in the lobby/lounge
Fun wedding group portraits
Reception fun. (Flash)
Fun wedding group portraits
Wedding Portraits by Bella Wang Photography. (Flash)

3. Do a first look

Doing a first look takes a lot of pressure off the wedding day and frees the timeline up to do things out of the normal order. It makes things more flexible since you can do family portraits before the ceremony. I understand 100% if you want to keep things traditional without a first look (when we got married 14 years ago, we never had even heard of a first look).

If you are willing to do a first look:

  • At the prep location
  • In the lounge of the prep hotel
  • At a nearby park / outside the prep hotel

No first look:

  • The church itself after the ceremony
  • Ceremony location
  • Cocktail hour
  • The reception space
Group photo during cocktail hour
Cocktail hour for more informal groupings.

4. Provide a Photo List

At least 4 weeks before the wedding, I request that a final list of family photos be provided. If you provide it after that point, it is 100% OK, but I won’t be able to give you feedback in case we need to add time to your timeline, or trim any of the 40+ combinations you might have on your list.

The important part of this process is to think of all the important people in your lives. List them in a shared spreadsheet in Google Drive, word document, email, Evernote, etc. so that it’s in one place. Ensure your family has feedback. The worst thing is that you find out your mother wants to add 30 combinations at the wedding and we didn’t plan time for it so you use your cocktail hour taking endless family combinations. Have the conversations ahead of time so that you will not have additional stress on your wedding day. Make sure your family knows to stick to the agreed-upon plan and ask them to ward off any pushy extended family members that may try and hijack your day. Your family will know if these people exist and hopefully, you will be forewarned!

Considerations for your group photo list

I suggest to have 30 groupings or less, but I understand if your family is big. Please just note that time has to be allotted for family photos if you have a lot of groupings. See below for timing.

The best way to organize the list is to start with one side of the family first. Start with the largest group and then whittle the grouping down from there. This minimizes the movement between groupings and ensures fewer people are lost along the way.

If there are any difficult dynamics in the family, now is the time to plan ahead and ensure that there is enough space given to those that need it.

Provide a copy of this Photo List to your Photo Helper.

Timing

I tell couples to allow 3-4 minutes per grouping, depending on the size. If the grouping is smaller than 5 people, it should only take 2-3 minutes. Larger (20+) take about 6-10 minutes. This is true only if you have a helper on each side of your family. If you have 30 groupings at 3 minutes per group, then that’s already 90 minutes or 1.5 hours of your day optimistically-speaking. So be realistic in your expectations. Otherwise, you’re planning for a high-stress day.

5. Have a Photo Helper for formal pictures

At the beginning of formal family photos, an announcement should be made to your guests to have them stick around. I request that each couple designate one person on each side to be their “Photo Helper”. Since I won’t know your family members or friends, this person will be in charge of rounding up the guests on your photo list. Choose someone VERY aggressive and loud. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from photographing weddings for over 7 years, it’s that people tend to wander off during family photos. I’m not quite sure why. The more people that wander away, the longer it will take to get through your combinations. If you want things to be efficient, I suggest some guards at the exists to inform the necessary parties to stay behind for photos.

Once you have finalized your photo list, please provide a copy to your Photo Helper. This Photo Helper will also be in charge of The Announcement.

The Announcement

Here are some pointers when announcing family formals:

  • Make an announcement when you have everyone’s attention telling them where to meet for family portraits and also the timing. I need about 10 minutes to set up lighting after the ceremony.
  • Have your photo helpers start gathering the first 2-3 groups.
  • Have your guards ensure people that are important don’t start wandering away
  • Request that any purses, glassware, sunglasses, jackets, etc. that they don’t want to be in the photograph to be put on a side table/chair before they head up for their photos. This often takes people a lot of time and they always take all of their belongings with them. If you are OK with the clutter, I am fine taking the photo that way. If it bothers you, then just ask that items be left next to a designated guard/friend.
  • As each group heads up, ensure your photo helpers keep moving down your list.

Sample Group Formal Photo List

FIRST FAMILYformal family portraits

– Couple + Parents, Siblings & Grandparents (comma separated names)
– Couple + Parents & Siblings (comma separated names)
– Couple + Parents (comma separated names)

BOTH FAMILIESformal family portraits

– Couple + both sets of Parents & all Siblings (comma separated names)
– Couple + both sets of Parents (comma separated names)

SECOND FAMILY– – formal family portraits

– Couple + Parents (comma separated names)
– Couple + Parents & Siblings (comma separated names)
– Couple + Parents, Siblings & Grandparents (comma separated names)

This template is organized to be the most efficient for moving people in and out. Please adjust it for your own family dynamics.

Remember: the two of you are in all of the photos, so you only need to list the first names of the other family members in each photo. They should go inside the parenthesis, matching the style below:

– Couple + Parents (John, Mary, Peter, Paula)

Wedding planning sources such as The Knot include planning guides for photo groupings as well.

Family formal portraits

Final thoughts on formal family portraits

In order to lessen the pressure on you two, plan for fewer groupings. This is your day and feel free to allocate as much time as you want for these photos if they are important to you. Ensure that you are realistic though (i.e. allowing 20 minutes for 40 groupings after the church ceremony is not realistic and will only lead to disappointment when we are being rushed out the door after the ceremony has run late and the church lady is leading us out).

Think about the mood you want for the formal family portraits. My default is just classically posed family group portraits. If you want something else, just let me know. I can also easily read you at the moment and I will adapt.

Group formal photos during wedding

If you want to just get one giant group photo, I just need a higher vantage point to get the photo for you all! This is a fun way to just do a single image in less than 20 minutes so you can enjoy the rest of the day. This is usually done right after the ceremony when everyone is still together.

Giant group wedding photo
Giant group wedding photo

Additional Tips

If you would like a free 12-month wedding planner, please subscribe to my newsletter below, or head over HERE for the LINK.

I’ll be adding more wedding planning tips in the coming months. If you have any suggestions for what I should write about, shoot me an email.

Formal family photos during wedding at church

Focus on play

I’ve always wanted to transition my photography style into a more documentary style of family photography. This is the push I guess I always needed to make this dream a reality! My sessions this year will be child-led. Since I cannot come closer than 6′, my usual directing style will take a backseat to more prompts of play and discovery. This will be the driving force behind family photography in 2020.

Child playing with bubbles in backyard
Bubbles in the apartment complex BBQ area. Can you tell?

Personally, I would love to move to this style of photography as it is very relaxing. We may not have control over the outcome, but it will be true to who your child and family is today. I always found that in directing, some poses and suggestions didn’t work for certain families because that wasn’t how they played. I want to understand and see how YOUR family plays and loves each other.

Locations

Sessions for 2020 will not be taking place in the city, but the focus will shift to parks, conservation lands and backyards. Everyone knows how much I love a great city backdrop, but unless you are willing to do a sunrise session, I will not be doing any city-based sessions. For the definition of sunrise, please check google or click here. Unfortunately, that is earlier than most of us would like. Be realistic and honest. Please do not book a sunrise city session and then ask to change the session to 8:00am. If the timing does not work, please consider a location out of the city or in your backyard.

Locations best suited for 2020:

  • Your backyard/front yard
  • A field/conservation land/out in nature
  • Avoid sunset in the city

Nature allows for kids to be in their element, which is exploring. Their discovery of new things and sights can bring about signature expressions that you’ll want to capture. Yes, sometimes they can stare at a rock or a stick for 15 minutes, but you only need a handful of gorgeous keepsake images to frame and remember this crazy time in our world. It’s not about quantity, but instead about quality. It’s something I am taking more to heart every day. In our materialistic world that we live in, I’m starting to really take a deeper look at what I truly need. Having my family healthy and happy is what’s important to me; not another cute dress, or another pair of shoes that I’ll stash away and never find until I clean out my closet 3 years from now.

When choosing a location, keep in mind your child’s unique temperament. Will they do well after a 2-hour car ride where you’re likely rushing because you are running late? Or is it more relaxing for you to just keep things close to home so you don’t have to worry about getting gas, getting out on time, and not forgetting anything along the way. I always like to suggest to keep things simple.

Ideas for play

If you are concerned about the pace, there are ways to engage a child and have them move on. Lots of hugs, cuddles, a piggyback ride, lifts into the air are all ways to reset their focus. I don’t know what your family typically does and I don’t know how willing you are to allow things to flow naturally, so I will take your lead on how these sessions will evolve. If you are at home, babies LOVE the following:

  • bubbles
  • tents
  • pillow fights outdoors on a nice cream throw
  • playing in the water
  • FOOD

You can have a sprinkler going, set up an inflatable pool with a rainbow. Go nuts. You are only limited by your imagination. If you want to brainstorm together, I am more than happy to!

Ideas for home

Simple beige throw, some pillows and VOILA. For the top-down photo below, I would need a step ladder, but at this time, I don’t want to complicate things.

family session at home 2020 pillow fight

The images on the page are all taken in backyards or common areas (like BBQ areas) of apartment complexes. Things do not have to get complicated.

at home lifestyle session in Cambridge, MA
1 year old baby eating watermelon
Babies and food… no easier way to get a smile than to feed them their favourite food.
baby eating watermelon
The mom originally wanted her in a dress with shoes on, decorations and a monogrammed quilt, but I just told her simple is better. She loved the idea and was so happy we kept things simple and unadorned.
Baby and watermelon in family session at home
It’s just a watermelon, but I was able to create 9 adorable images. Things don’t have to get complicated.

I also shot some video for the following family, but I haven’t had a chance to edit it together yet. I will post that when it’s ready. Basically, your backyard can be a place to have a socially distant and safe session. If something goes wrong, you are at home and have access to anything you need. You can get snacks when baby is hungry, or run inside if you’ve forgotten something. These sessions can be relaxed and beautiful. It’s also a great way to document your family… your home…right now. It’s where you raised your children and you should be proud to show it off.

family at home session in New England
Lots of options when you’re at home.
sprinkler at home family photography
sprinkler at home family photography
LOVE this capture.

Basically what I’m saying is don’t eliminate a perfectly good option right in your backyard. It doesn’t have to be the public gardens, you don’t have to clean your backyard and plant some trees. Just let go of perfection and enjoy your life and loves around you. It’s the little things in the every day that define who we are. This is your story.

Ideas for newborns and the outdoors

Newborn session in apartment backyard pool area
The BBQ area in an apartment complex can be beautiful. If it’s not, I don’t need to draw attention to it. I only include location/surroundings when it adds to the story.

Outdoor spaces are a great spot for newborn photos as well. This baby girl had both her newborn and 1 year photos taken in their apartment complex BBQ area (she’s the watermelon baby!). Have I ever mentioned how much I like BBQ areas and often photograph in them without drawing attention to the fact they are simple locations steps from your front door? Some of my families choose to have all of their sessions at home and I have seen them for YEARS. To me, it’s always been about the family and the baby; not the location.

Why sunset or sunrise?

The best light is always SUNRISE and SUNSET. However, sunrise may not be when you think it is! In June, sunrise is 5:15AM: LINK.

Since these sessions are less pressure and more about play, your baby doesn’t have to be at their happiest point of the day (which is generally in the morning). But you know your child. If they are a complete mess by sunset, please schedule a sunrise session. If sunrise or sunset doesn’t work, the session has to take place on your private property to ensure we don’t run into crowds.

The reason why sunset or sunrise is best is better outlined in this blog post. Since I cannot control where your child may lead us, I need to have constant good light to work with. During midday, a bad patch of light will not give you the images I’m known for.

How sunset/sunrise will affect your backyard session

To prepare for your session, please send me a 360 video or panoramic photo of your outdoor spaces. If you want a sunrise session, please take the photos at that time on a CLOUDLESS day. This will be the worst-case scenario of light I will be dealing with and that information is important so I can tell you what direction I will be likely shooting in so that you can decide if the background is what you envisioned. You can also remove any unnecessary/unsightly objects so that the backdrop is clean. If you send me photos at a random time of day and not the whole backyard, I won’t have a full picture and the exercise will be ineffective.

Early morning family session in backyard
This was an 8:30am session in the backyard with a new puppy! We were able to have a later start because it was Fall (sunrise is later) and they had very tall trees in their yard to break up the direct light.

If you have a specific part of your outdoor space to be the backdrop, I need to see a photo of it and know the time of day you took the photo so I can tell you when is the best time to take photos given the backdrop restriction. Basically I want to ensure there isn’t full sun in your eyes during the session. You will squint. I want the sun to your back. The background will always be where the sun is.

Steps for a successful backyard/front yard session:

  • send me 360 videos/panoramic photos of your house taken during early morning and sunset.
  • tell me what time those images were taken
  • the direction of the sun will be your background (the sun will be to your back when I photograph you)
  • decide if there’s a part of your yard you want to highlight and what parts you want to avoid
  • communicate these considerations to me

Examples of directional light

Below you can see the sun in the photo. I am staying in the same position as the flower girl also passes. This is the ideal lighting situation.

The recessional after wedding during fall 2019

Below: Sun to their back. This rims the hair with beautiful light.

Boston family outdoors in the fall with sweaters

Same Concept:

Surprise proposal idea in Boston

Again… beautiful sun behind them.

Sunset and dad, mom and child at Boston Public Gardens

That’s not to say I always shoot with the suns to your back, but this is how I shoot 90% of the time. If it’s overcast, there is no direction to the light and I am fine with photographing ANYTIME basically. If it’s stormy and overcast, this is what that would look like (post). Another overcast day would look like this (post). Both sessions called for 40% chance of rain or more. I don’t need a sunny day to make gorgeous images. Working in New England you have to deal with the temperamental weather, otherwise, you have no business being a photographer here! I WISH we were blessed with gorgeous sunsets and light like they have constantly in California.

Family session just after the rain with puddles
Puddles add a really great dimension to photos and check out that sky! Forget about the muddy outfits and shoes and just play.

For more information on lighting, please see this blog post.

Unfortunately, I cannot argue with mother nature. Sunrise is sunrise and sunset is sunset. Rain may come and it may go. Again, the goal is to capture your family. I love splashes in the rain with rainboots. I love kids rolling in the mud. The story is up to you. If you want a no rain session, then we can reschedule as I’ve always had, but I am telling you it will not affect my images.

Rainy wedding day photo of bride and groom
A rain photo during a wedding day.

Session length

My sessions will be shorter this year to minimize exposure. That’s why I need your help to really hone in on your goals. Sessions will be about 40 minutes. For younger babies, I only need about 20 minutes to get some incredible images and the rest of the time I can give you space to allow for feeding, soothing, and whatever your baby needs. I’ve done this for a long time and it’s all about maximizing the time we have together to get some quality images. Sensing a theme? It’s all about quality over quantity. If things are going well and I can easily stay far away, I will be flexible with this timeline. That decision will be up to me, but discussed with you during our consultation.

Video Consults

Going forward for the rest of the sessions this year, I will be having video consults with all families the day of or the day before the session. This way we know we are all healthy and we can get the jitters out of the way. We can talk about your goals for the session and what the plan is / what are your prompts for play. I want to understand what you want and ensure I set your expectations about what is possible. I want to make sure we are all on the same page so that we can just start photographing when we meet in person. This is all about building trust and making everyone calmer about the session. I do not want this to be a stressful experience. Family photography should be fun and playful. These consults don’t have to be lengthy, but they have to happen.

Take away

Please only schedule a session if you’re willing to communicate with me during a video call and have a child-led session that has no direction from me. We can make small modifications based on your first inquiry, so please be as forthcoming as possible when inquiring about a session so I can tell you if it’s possible. My goal is to keep things fun, stress-free and all about communication so we can keep healthy. If I cannot guarantee a safe session, I run the risk of passing a sickness onto another family. I cannot have that happen and this is my plan for making it safe for everyone.

For information on further procedures and precautions I’m taking, please read the following posts to help ease your mind. I am taking this virus very seriously as I am sure you all are as well.

Phased Reopening Blog Post

Safety measures from March

If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to ask me. I’m here for you.

I hope this post was informative. Again, my goal is to let loose and have fun during our sessions in 2020-2021. Thanks for making it through to the end!

Baby eating watermelon during family session 2020

Concerns about Covid-19

I am sure many of you are as concerned about Coronavirus as I am. I have been following it on the news and seen it impact so many people around the world. Call me naive, as I never saw it impacting our world as much as it did. I have closed my business since the 3rd week of March and have been staying at home to do my part to flatten the curve. By limiting my activities outdoors I am hoping to decrease my exposure and risk. Only in recent weeks have I ventured outdoors for quick walks around the neighborhood. My main concern since the beginning of this was to figure out what was a safe balance between my small business and the pandemic. How can I ensure my photography business is safe during Coronavirus?

I may be more cautious than most, but I would rather be safe than sorry. I have been ordering grocery delivery/curbside pickup from a nearby grocer (As a side note: If you’re in need of a local fish monger, check out Hooked fish shop. They deliver to many areas around the greater Boston area, including: Cambridge, Somerville, Charlestown, Belmont, Brookline, Chestnut Hill and Newton!) and I am not getting takeout either just in case. Though I will admit to having really intense cravings for Korean, Middle Eastern and Japanese food as of late!

For mask purchases, information and resource links, scroll down to the bottom of the post. You can purchase these items for your family and the research so far sounds very promising!

I have just updated this post with my reviews of each mask and my recommendation below.

Precautions Undertaken

Coronavirus Covid-19 Prevention for photography sessions
For a longer blog post on safety, see here: BLOG POST

In order to minimize any possibility of me getting Coronavirus, I pledge to not grocery shop or head into public service areas (stores, restaurants, cafes, etc.) for the foreseeable future. I will delete this line if I change my mind. However, I do not foresee me changing my outlook on things. The only reason I would head out now is to pickup curbside groceries, get gas for my car to get to sessions, or go for walks. I don’t get completely out of shape and forget how to walk! I will not be taking public transportation, going on any trips or otherwise doing unnecessary travel. The current sessions I am booking are pre-screened with video chats and safety releases/affirmations.

To lighten the mood of this post, I’d love to tell you about my fancy new bread machine! I used to have an old one, but just never bothered to use it for YEARS. I ended up donating it last year. When the pandemic hit, I of course had to jump on the bread-making bandwagon. Along came this handsome fella. I’ll try to do a photoshoot for him later, but I highly recommend this for easy bread-making at home. I have made 3 types of bread, pizza dough and next I’m going to be making cinnamon buns. When this pandemic ends and it’s safe to head out again, I am immediately heading out to get SUSHI at my fave local joint, EBI. If you haven’t tried them, you NEED to.

Safety releases for photography

In order to ensure I do not Coronavirus during any of my photography sessions, I am asking all of my clients to be as cooperative and communicative of their health status as they can. I am requesting a release form related to Coronavirus to be signed prior to each session affirming no one in the family is/has been sick for the past 14 days with the typical symptoms of Covid-19 listed below:

  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dry Cough
  • Runny Nose
  • Sore Throat
  • Sudden loss of taste or smell
  • Pink eye

I am also asking people to affirm they have not traveled domestically or internationally in the past 14 days prior to their session.

There is a long list of requests included in my documentation that I am going to send out to everyone. I will be adding another blog post on planning and considerations regarding the session itself. That post is now LIVE. On top of this, I am scheduling preparation video calls with families so that we can develop a plan for the session. This way, we will be prepared before the session and be on the same page. My preference is to just allow kids to be kids and for the sessions to take place away from city parks.

The measures I will take to try and minimize Coronavirus contamination during our photography sessions are also outlined in a post I made in March. Please have a read through this BLOG POST. Clients have the right to cancel / postpone their sessions if they feel they may be sick. I also retain the right to cancel if I feel sick so that I don’t get anyone else sick.

Location Limitations due to Coronavirus

Willows at Boston Public Gardens and family
The ever beautiful, and busy, Boston Public Gardens

For the foreseeable future, I will not be photographing in the Boston Public Gardens, or any other high-traffic parks. Likely I will be avoiding most downtown locations unless they are done at sunrise. I will be putting together a list of recommended locations with samples. This list will be posted on my blog for easy access by everyone. Anyone on my mailing list will also get a notification once this item is published. I highly recommend a sunrise, weekday location if you want to keep your session closer to town. If you are interested in something specific, please reach out and I can let you know. Each location may be a unique decision.

I should also note that I intend to only do outdoor photography sessions for the rest of 2020 and into early 2021.

Sunset over the Charles River with boats in the background and city skyline, the couple in the foregraound
The sunset that evening was surreal. If you’re a local to Boston, you know these sunsets aren’t a regular occurrence.

Mailing List First Access Notification

I am also putting together a mailing list to get all of the planning information to you in the easiest manner possible. With the current state of the world and social media, it no longer has the reach it used to have in order to keep everyone informed. If you would like to receive the most up to date information, location information, preparation information, please sign up for my mailing list. I will add a link below.

Please check spam if you don’t get instant notification for mailing list confirmation.

You can also always subscribe from my homepage. Sessions will be booked on a first-come first-served basis. I will have very limited weekend dates available. Those dates will likely only be opened to families that have a yard that they want to use for their session. If there was something very isolated that you had in mind, please reach out. Weekends tend to be very busy now that many stores and typical forms of entertainment are closed.

Phased reopening plan for Coronavirus

I am currently accepting bookings for my Baby 1 Year families. I was very torn about closing and reopening knowing that my choice would impact those families that trusted me to document their baby’s very first year of life. My June calendar is now open to those families. I have sent out emails as well as posted on social media. If I somehow missed you, please reach out. I am taking Coronavirus VERY seriously during my photography sessions.

After those families are booked, I will be opening my calendar to families that reached out since March when I officially closed. Those on my waitlist are welcome to book a session in June.

The post on my reopening plan can be found HERE.

Mailing list first access

Starting June 10, my calendar will open to Mailing List subscribers. This will be more organized than my current scribble in my notebook. This way I won’t miss anyone and the mailing will go out to everyone at the same time. I will make an announcement June 9 on social media to that affect. I want to reach as many eyes as possible. Again, since the reach is so low these days, the most reliable way for me to inform everyone of my phased opening plan would be to notify everyone via a direct email.

I will be closed for the month of July to assess how the sessions in June went. I plan to put in new measures to ensure sessions are as successful as I can possibly make them. The announcement for my August dates for bookings will go out early- to mid-July via the mailing list. If my June sessions go off without a hitch, I’ll open up August for my mailing list clients. I just want to ensure that the families that I will be working for are “screened”. By reading my posts and being knowledgeable of my goals for each session and safety measures, I believe we can work together to make this safe.

I will be taking one month at a time, seeing how well I can photograph people while socially distanced. I will also be taking in the new health data as well as seeing if and how schools will be reopening to determine if I will be open in September. Right now I cannot guarantee I will be open for September. I will have to wait for the numbers and the decisions by our government regarding safety measures. If no one in your household will be in a higher-risk position by September, then please let me know when reaching out to book.

Planning for your photography session

I will be making another post about the necessary planning for sessions going forward as well as describing how 2020/2021 sessions will be going forward. [UPDATE: The post is now LIVE] I firmly believe that by planning, we can make the session fun and less stressful for everyone. Since I want everyone to be on the same page, it’s best to determine your goals ahead of time. I will be sending over a questionnaire to all of my families as well as scheduling a 10-20 minute video chat the day of/day before our session on top of my usual emailing back and forth for planning purposes. The new contracts will have specific verbiage regarding safety measures. Thank you for understanding my need for information and communication during these strange times of photography during Coronavirus.

Thank you again for reading through this entire post. I hope I haven’t scared you away, but instead built a stronger bond of trust based on shared values. Be well and I hope to meet soon.

Mask Resoures

One of my doctor families has been so kind in sharing some resources with me. Currently, Halyard 600 fabric is the gold standard for making your own masks at home. The link to a homemade tutorial can be found on the University of Florida mask website HERE.

Another incredible doctor has shared information on KN95 masks. They are not certified N95 masks, but they are the Chinese-standard. You can read more about the mask differences HERE. She also shared some wonderful resources that I am linking to as well. THIS MASK is certified to be N95 and has an excellent ‘gel’ seal. I have ordered some to see if they are comfortable and I will report back once I try them out. The difference between a surgical and non-surgical N95 is explained HERE. Basically, surgical masks are built to withstand squirting liquids, whereas regular N95s do not. By purchasing these you will not take away from medical professionals since they cannot use them as a medical mask. Another option is this N93 (not certified by the FDA, but tested by Nelson Labs. You can see their certification HERE and the link to purchase can be found HERE. I have also purchased double-sided tape to get a better seal around the edges of the mask.

UPDATE: I have now tested all masks for a few weeks now. My favourite mask is the N93 mask because the fit is very good. It is thick but I feel protected. Cons include it’s hard to breathe in, gets hot, and muffles your voice. None of that really will make me not highly recommend it. The N95 is great, but made for people with high-bridged noses. As a flat-nosed Asian, there is quite a big gap in the nose area for me. If you have a bridge, then it’s a great choice. KN95s are easiest to breathe in. The cons are that they slide more than the N93 mask and the ear gets a bit irritated as does under my chin area because the fit isn’t perfect for my face shape. Again, everyone will have differing experiences. This is my experience with the mask usage based on my face shape. Hope this helps!

I hope you can find these resources helpful! Please feel free to share this information with friends and family.

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Coronavirus Covid-19 Prevention

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