A Guide to My Favorite New Jersey + New York Engagement Session Locations

New Jersey + New York Engagement Session Locations

One of the most common questions I get from couples is, where should we take our engagement photos?! So, I finally put together a list of my favorite locations around the New Jersey, NYC, Hudson Valley areas! I’ve photographed either engagements, weddings, or family portraits at all of the following locations and definitely recommend that you check them out if you’re looking for an awesome backdrop for your engagement session! There’s even an indoor option, what?!

Pro Tip: Always be sure to check permit requirements/shooting permissions for any locations. Most places will require a permit/fee/approval of some kind and may need a few weeks to process/approve your request!

Skylands Manor & NJ Botanical Gardens – Ringwood, NJ

Hands down, this is my most popular location for sessions.. and for good reason, it has pretty much everything! Skylands Manor & NJBG has formal gardens, water features, wooded trails, amazing stone buildings, all the pretty things. You can get some inspiration by checking out this spring engagement session and this winter engagement session. (Bonus, I purchase an annual permit at no extra cost to my clients!)

NJ Winter engagement photography



Ringwood Manor – Ringwood, NJ

Right across the road and also a part of Ringwood State Park is Ringwood Manor, a gorgeous historic mansion.. and I’m obsessed with the English garden feel! I most recently photographed S+M’s spring engagement session there, this spot never disappoints!



Cross Estate Gardens – Bernardsville, NJ

A new favorite location of mine is Cross Estate Gardens in Bernardsville, NJ. Nestled in the woods, there’s a historic house, flower gardens, and the most beautiful arbor covered walkway pictured below. Take a peek at a summer family session that took place here!



Laurelwood Arboretum – Wayne, NJ

Laurelwood is a beautifully rustic spot with wooden bridges, a lake, greenhouses, and gardens. They also provide the option of golf cart rental for easy access to the grounds, 10/10 recommend!

 


Frelinghuysen Arboretum – Morristown, NJ

Another great arboretum to consider if you’re interested in the Morristown area! It offers beautiful gardens, an historic mansion, and an adorable carriage house!


Liberty State Park – Jersey City, NJ

No doubt, Liberty State Park is the best place to take engagement photos in front of the NYC skyline! My most recent session there was on the most gorgeous spring day!



Hoboken Area – Hoboken, NJ

Hoboken residents love to take advantage of their amazing neighborhood and NYC skyline, it’s never a bad idea to take engagement photos around your town!



The Jersey Shore – NJ

You can’t go wrong with anywhere on the Jersey Shore! This proposal and engagement session took place in Mantoloking!



Jockey Hollow – Morristown, NJ

Another one of my go-to spots in New Jersey is Jockey Hollow, it has some great historic buildings, a small garden, tall grasses, and wooded areas. See more from this adorable family session!



Davis Johnson Gardens – Tenafly, NJ

I love this little spot in Tenafly! It is a small park, but has sooo much character. Davis Johnson Gardens is also a popular site for weddings/elopements, since it has a beautiful pavilion, but there’s also a rose garden, gorgeous stone work, and beautifully maintained greenery. I always recommend it to couples or families who are looking for a portrait location in Bergen County.

 



Greenhouse Loft – Highland Park, NJ

In the beginning of 2020, I photographed a family session at the Greenhouse Loft and it was fantastic! If you’re not really an outdoors person, looking to schedule an engagement session in the winter months, or just want something different, this beautiful, minimalist loft with great natural light is your spot!

Family photos at Greenhouse Loft


Divine Park – Spring Lake, NJ

This park is a local favorite and I totally see why! Located in Spring Lake, NJ, Divine Park has a gorgeous lake with some of the most beautiful wooden bridges I’ve ever seen. C+B chose this spot for their elopement and I had a blast photographing there, it was just so simple and lovely!

Elopement at Divine Park in Spring Lake, NJ

 



Mount Gulian Historic Site – Beacon, NY

Such an adorable spot in Beacon! N+A’s engagement session took place here in April prior to their September wedding,  there’s a small garden and historic house, it’s for sure beautiful in all seasons.



Main Street Beacon – Beacon, NY

Another great option in Beacon (there’s so many) is to explore the Main Street area and areas near the train tracks, river, and Round House. A little urban, a little rustic, it’s wonderful.



Bear Mountain State Park – Bear Mountain, NY

If you’re looking for a mountain top view close to NYC,  you can’t beat Bear Mountain. Plus the carousel and lodge are really cool! Convenient and photo-friendly, I highly recommended it! (And its not a bad place to get married either!) Check out E+A’s fall engagement session to get a better idea of the park.

Engagement photos at Bear Mountain NY

 



Sterling State Forest – Tuxedo Park, NY

I’m totally obsessed with this little spot I discovered with K+G for their fall engagement session on Sterling Lake in Sterling State Forest! This lake is nestled in the woods, behind the visitor center and surrounded by hiking trails. It was so serene and picturesque, totally perfect for outdoorsy couples.Hudson Valley fall engagement photos



Cold Spring’s Main Street – Cold Spring, NY

The town of Cold Spring is one of my favorite places to visit for a day trip to the Hudson Valley and I had so much fun photographing A+B’s engagement session there! The buildings on Main St. have so much character and the Hudson River waterfront is beautiful, we photographed by the riverfront first, then walked up Main Street and found some really unique spots.

Engagement session in Cold Spring, NY



Foundry Reserve – Cold Spring, NY

This is a gorgeous little secret spot in Cold Spring, just 2 minutes away from Main Street, the Foundry Reserve has walking paths through the woods, views of the river, and a historic brick office building, it’s one of my new favorite spots!



Fort Tryon Park – Manhattan, NY

Fort Tryon Park is another one of those locations that offers a little bit of everything – gardens, Hudson River/GWB views, cool architecture. I’ve photographed engagement and maternity portraits here and always recommend it to my NYC and Westchester couples. (And I’ve aaaallllways wanted to photograph a wedding at the New Leaf Restaurant, located in the park!)

Engagement session at Fort Tryon Park



Conservatory Garden in Central Park – NYC

The Conservatory Garden is located at 105th St. and 5th Ave and is seriously one of the best kept “secrets” of Central Park. The formal gardens are stunning and well away from the busier (read: touristy) areas of the park. I’ve photographed a wedding in the gardens and would be psyched to shoot an engagement session here! (You can also get married/host your reception right across the street at the super cool Museum of the City of New York!)

Micro-wedding in Central Park Conservatory Garden



Mohonk Mountain House – New Paltz, NY

Mohonk Mountain House is a Hudson Valley landmark and a popular spot for weddings and engagements, because, well, it is simply stunning. The hotel itself has so much character and the grounds and lake are gorgeous, you can even hike the trail next to the lake to an awesome scenic view of the property. I loved photographing A+N’s wedding here and highly recommend it for engagement photos or, you know, just a day trip!

Wedding at Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY



Lower Manhattan + Brooklyn Waterfront – NYC

There are endless photo opportunities in Lower Manhattan + Brooklyn, you can’t really go wrong! For F+J’s engagement session, we started on Stone Street, took the ferry to Brooklyn, then explored the waterfront, finally ending at Jane’s Carousel. It was truly epic at sunset!



Millbrook Winery – Millbrook, NY

Millbrook Winery is such a gorgeous Hudson Valley spot, plus you can drink some wine while we shoot! I recently photographed a late summer engagement session on the grounds and besides the beautiful vines, we photographed near the building for a more industrial feel and there’s also a white barn that was a beautiful rustic touch. Definitely check it out if you’re interested in having your engagement session at a winery!

Millbrook Winery Engagement Photography



Also…

Don’t forget, you can also have your engagement session in your own home! I’m a big fan photographing couples in their own space, cuddling on the couch or walking around their neighborhood.. and extra points if you have a furry friend that can join in on the session!

I also encourage couples to incorporate locations that are special to them, like a favorite restaurant or ice cream shop, or plan to do an activity together during your session, make it your own and have fun with it!

Hudson River engagement session

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Erika Koop

wedding, EVENT + Portrait photographer

NJ, NY, HV, ADKs + Beyond

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Erika Koop

Wedding + Engagement Photographer
NJ, Hudson Valley, Adirondacks + Beyond

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Based in New Jersey
hello@erikakoop.com
(201) 658-8181
Contact Page

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Erika Koop Photography