Kristen Swain Photography



new england families, COUPLEs, and landscapes

A Boston Photographer’s Guide To Spring Sessions!


March 15, 2023


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As a Boston photographer, I am always eagerly anticipating the arrival of spring. The warmth of the sun, the blooming flowers, the vibrant colors, and the excitement in the air, among many other things, make spring the perfect time for capturing beautiful outdoor photos. I love the way the light dances through the trees as the days lengthen, and the many opportunities to take advantage of New England’s natural beauty. Spring is a great time to get outside and take photos of all the beautiful flowers that emerge over the course of just a few short weeks, especially in the Boston area.

In this guide to spring sessions, I’ll share some of my favorite locations in the Boston area for spring sessions, and suggestions for when you should have yours photographed!

I offer outdoor spring sessions in Boston from April 6-May 21. If you don’t need any convincing and you’re ready to book, head over to my booking page to get on my spring calendar. If you’d like to learn about some spring session tips and tricks, keep on scrolling! (For those interested in reading on, I’ll share my booking link at the end of this post as well.)

Left: Lilacs in Brookline, MA. Right: Lilacs at Arnold Arboretum.


Let’s talk about locations! While there is no shortage of beautiful settings in the Boston area, there are a couple that truly stand out to me, for different reasons.


My favorite location in the spring (and I’ll be honest, probably the fall as well) is Arnold Arboretum. It’s a sprawling property and you can see pretty much every spring flower you could wish for here. The magnolias and cherry blossoms will bloom in mid to late April, followed shortly by the lilacs, which are truly stunning and wonderfully fragrant when they emerge in late April and early May. The Arboretum hosts “Lilac Sunday” on Mother’s Day every year. I recommend holding your session before this event. Last year, I’d say the lilacs were probably at their prime a couple of weeks before then. If you’d like a session among the lilacs and want to make sure you time it right, reach out! I’m always happy to put a tentative date on the calendar that we can adjust later, depending on when the blooms are looking their best. I don’t live far from the Arboretum so I’m over there a lot once the weather gets nice.

Many Brookline and Jamaica Plain families know the Arboretum well, but I can assure you it’s worth the drive even if you’re coming from a bit farther away. You truly can’t go wrong at this stunning botanical garden with its wide variety of plants and trees, winding paths, and more.


Boston Public Garden is another great Boston location for spring sessions. The lush green space and rows of vibrant flowers provide a beautiful backdrop for any type of photo session, especially in the spring. The Public Garden is a quintessential Boston park, which ticks off a requirement for a lot of families: a family session, but make it obviously Boston. You’ve almost certainly seen the Public Garden on television or in movies, and for good reason: the iconic swan boats, bridges, and pathways make for a dreamy setting, and provide endless opportunities for creative and unique images as well.

Another benefit of a photo shoot at the Boston Public Garden is that you can pop over to Back Bay or Beacon Hill for a few shots at the beginning or end of your session, and incorporate some of the city’s beautiful townhouses in the backdrop. On Commonwealth and Beacon, many of the apartment buildings lining the streets have large blooming trees (often magnolias) planted right in front. The Public Garden boasts an impressive display of tulips relatively early in the spring, and you’ll find magnolias and a few cherry blossoms here as well.

One downside of shooting at the Public Garden is that it does get very crowded. If your family can stomach an early morning wake up and make it to the Garden for a sunrise session, that’s the way to go, for sure. But that simply doesn’t work for a lot of folks, and that’s okay — the evenings are workable too, just a little bit trickier to navigate.


The best times of day for spring sessions are early morning and late afternoon (as close as possible to sunrise or sunset), which tends to be true regardless of the season. The early morning hours are perfect for capturing the freshness of the day as the sun rises, while the late afternoon hours offer a warm, golden light that is perfect for capturing the colors of spring.

It’s important to keep in mind that due to the arrival of daylight savings in mid-March, spring sunsets are much later than fall sunsets. I always highly recommend golden hour photos for the magical light at that time of day (a golden hour is the last hour before the sun sets), but in the spring this likely means you’ll be out with your kids much later than usual. For reference, sunset on May 1 in Boston is at 7:43 pm, meaning the ideal time for a golden hour session is from about 6:30-7:30 pm. A great way to make this work for the family is to have a picnic dinner before your photo session! That way the kids will be fed and happy and the entire experience, including your photos, can feel like an extra special event for them. (If they come to associate photo sessions with fun, all the better, right?!)

Even got a shot of mom and dad alone, while their adorable toddler admired the flowers behind me!


As noted above, I offer outdoor spring sessions in Boston from April 6-May 21. If you love spring as much as I do and want to have breathtaking photographs captured just as the color returns and the weather gets warmer, visit my booking page (which will take you to my online scheduler), or inquire through my contact page. I can’t wait to meet you and photograph some memorable moments for you. Happy Spring!

Running to book their next session. 🙂 I’m one very lucky photographer because I get to work with these girls twice a year!

I hope you enjoyed this guide to spring photography sessions in Boston! If you’d like to see more on the blog, click here. And if you’d like to reach out to learn more about my photography services (which include family, maternity, and newborn sessions, engagements and elopements, and more!), click here.


“I cannot say enough positive things about Kristen and the wonderful energy she brings to her work. I cannot wait to book our next session. We will cherish these photos for decades to come.”

-Julianna M.

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