A photographer’s tips for taking excellent fall foliage photos in Boston

"The best camera is the one you have with you."

A fall foliage photo taken by photographer Chris Padgett at Buswell Pond in Gloucester. He will teach a class on shooting fall foliage in the city on Oct. 19. Chris Padgett

Is your inner photographer inspired by the season’s changing leaves, but you can’t decide where to get that perfect foliage shot?

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Salem-based photographer Christopher Padgett will teach a class Oct. 19 at the Boston Center for Adult Education (BCAE) called “Photographing Boston’s Seasons: Fall.”

Ahead of his class, he offered five tips for photographing the city’s foliage this season.

1. Don’t worry about your equipment.

If you feel like you need to borrow a fancy camera to take a nice shot, you don’t, Padgett said.

“The best camera is the one you have with you,” Padgett said. “Your equipment doesn’t matter, as long as you have a camera with you to capture the moment.”


Padgett said folks who fuss with knobs and buttons and dials and apps risk missing the shot.

“Just open the phone on your camera and take the picture,” he said. “Stop fumbling with settings and apps … just capture that moment as you see it because it’s fleeting. It’s not going to be there forever.”

2. Take photos during ‘the golden hour.’

If you’re looking to take that perfect foliage shot, think about the time of day you are shooting, Padgett said.

“Especially with landscapes, earlier or later in the day is best,” he said.

The sunlight an hour before dusk and an hour after sunrise is called “the golden hour,” and it’s ideal for taking especially lovely photos this time of year, he said.


“You hear a lot about the sun in Tuscany and how beautiful the sun in Tuscany is,” he said. “September into October in New England is Tuscany sun season for us. It’s this warm, glowing, beautiful light.”

3. Shoot photos at the Commonwealth Avenue Mall.

Padgett will take his class to the Commonwealth Avenue Mall.

“It’s just spectacular,” said Padgett about the “tunnel of color” created by the trees. “It’s an easy picture to take. It’s extremely Instagrammable.”

It’s also a great shot to take at any time of the day, he said.

“Usually pictures in the middle of the day are kind of flat and boring and gross,” he said. “But there’s enough shade that it kind of evens out the light.”

4. Head to the Public Garden.

Padgett and his class will also capture fall foliage in the Public Garden.


“There’s a little island in the middle of the Public Garden,” Padgett said. “I usually try to shoot that from the bridge. There’s a lot of Japanese maples and stuff, so you get those really deep reds.”

Want the city in your shot?

“If you go from Arlington Street just to the other side of the George Washington monument, you get a nice shot of the city skyline,” he said.

5. Snap photos in Bay Village.

He’ll also shoot photos with his class in Bay Village, the city’s smallest neighborhood. Padgett calls it one of the most “under-appreciated neighborhoods in Boston.”

“It’s Beacon Hill without the hill. It’s gas lamps, it’s brick sidewalks, there are tiny little amazing pocket parks stuck in and around the neighborhood, alleyways, [and] garden apartments with cool entries. It’s a fascinating little corner of Boston.”