Best events in Boston to photograph

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Boston thrums with life year round, but at certain times, the city explodes with action. Grab your calendar and prepare to shoot five of the best events in Boston, including a Fourth of July fireworks display that will make your hair stand on end, the world’s oldest annual marathon, and an evening of unforgettable Christmas-time revelry.

Boston Pops Orchestra

The Boston Pops Orchestra performs by the Charles River every year on the Fourth of July, playing patriotic tunes in sync with thundering fireworks. We think it’s one of the best Boston events, performed in one of the best places in Boston. The Pops Orchestra also presents many free concerts, from popular rock bands, to holiday performances, at other times through the year.

Make sure to get the riverfront early to ensure a great view and seat, so you can capture the best shot possible if you would like to photograph the stage. There will be a big crowd, and lots of interesting things to photograph while there. The Charles River and the park as a background make a perfect setting for picturesque compositions. Have your camera set at a high speed in order to capture the best fireworks shots. A telephoto lens will get you closer to the colorful display if you don’t secure prime seating, and a flash is always handy for portrait shots at night.

Boston Pops Orchestra
Image courtesy of Chris Devers on Flickr

Boston Harbor Cruise

Boston’s harbor cruises will bring you out to sea for whale watching, and swing by nearby coastlines, like Provincetown. There is entertainment and dining while you are at sea. It is quite perfect scenery to shoot from a cruise, and you will not go home without getting a great photograph. We would advise shooting with a lens hood on, since it’s often sunny most of the time you are out at sea. The best times to take the cruises are during the summer. In the fall and spring, it may be too windy or a cold at sea.

Boston Harbor Cruise
Image courtesy of Christopher S. Penn on Flickr

Boston Marathon

The Boston Marathon takes place every year during the spring, and this year it’s scheduled for Monday, April 18. If you’re into sports and photography, this is the best event to attend in Boston. You can get many great shots of runners going by from a long stretch of the marathon path. To prevent blur as the runners huff by, have your camera on a high ISO setting, and use a tripod.

Boston Marathon
Image courtesy of Chris Wraight on Flickr

Tall Ships Cruises

Boston’s tall ships, reminiscent of the old sailing ships that once stood by the harbor many years ago, are a sight to see. You can take these cruises all year round, the best times being from April to September. Like the harbor cruises, you’ll get a chance to shoot at sea, with a dash of history thrown in. Bring a lens hood if it’s sunny, and make sure to have a lens-sensitive fabric to clean your lens if it gets wet from the spray. The ride can also get bumpy, so always have your lens strap and your camera around your neck!

Tall Ship Cruises
Image courtesy of ZaNiaC on Flickr

First Night

After Christmas, Bostonians leave their Christmas lights up and artists come out of the woodwork for the New Years Eve celebration known as First Night. Spectacular decorations ring the city and light up every area of Boston, making the city romantic, beautiful and magical. From Beacon Street to the Copley Place Plaza, you can see lights and events during first night, from vendors to art being sold. The decorated Christmas tree stands at Copley Place Plaza are a must see every year. In order to get a great photograph, you must have a tripod and have your ISO set at a high speed in order to capture great lights and images at night. Early evening makes the best time to shoot, so that you can get good lighting and capture the lights as well.

First Night
Image courtesy of Bradsearles on Flickr

Jump to other parts of this series:

Boston photography guide: tips, locations, and stores

Best photo shoot locations in Boston

Best camera stores in Boston