A Guide to My Favorite NY + NJ Engagement Session Locations

COVID-19 Update: If you find yourself now planning an elopement due to Covid-19, a few of these locations would be great options to consider! Please feel free to contact me with questions or elopement photography inquiries here, I would love to help you in any way possible!

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One of the most common questions I get from couples is, where should we have our engagement session?! So, I finally put together a list of my favorite locations around the NYC, Hudson Valley + NJ area! I’ve photographed either engagement, wedding, 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 portraits! 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 & New Jersey 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 my newest winter engagement session.. also, it’s a perfect spot for family sessions! (Plus, the permit requirements are extremely reasonable, I purchase a permit yearly 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 white/blue color scheme! I photographed A+J’s summer engagement session there and am totally obsessed with this spot.

Engagement session at Ringwood Manor NJ

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.

Elopement at Davis Jonhson Gardens in Tenafly, NJ

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

 

Oakes Park – Old Tappan, NJ

This little spot in Bergen County is simply lovely! It’s well maintained, shaded, and quiet, it’s perfect for an engagement or an elopement. I recently photographed a family session here and for a small park, there’s a still a ton of great backdrops. So if you’re a Bergen County local and don’t want to travel far for a location, this is definitely worth a look!

Family photos in Bergen County NJ.

 

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

 

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 – Manhattan, NY

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 – NYC, NY

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!

Brooklyn engagement session with Manhattan skyline

 

New York Botanical Garden – Bronx, NY

The New York Botanical Garden is another popular NYC spot and especially beautiful in the spring when the outdoor flowers are in bloom! Aside from the greenhouses, there are endless gardens to explore and each one is more beautiful than the next. I had so much fun photographing S+M’s fall engagement session here, I’d love to go back!

New York Botanical Garden 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

 

Jake’s Branch County Park – Beachwood, NJ

I discovered Jake’s Branch County Park as a location for C+M’s wedding portraits last year and it is gorgeous! There were so many lovely options for back-drops with lovely trails, bridges, and a beautiful garden next to the visitor center. Not to mention, the park was super clean, easily accessible, and has an awesome nature center.. and those are bonuses that I love when planning a shoot! Jake’s Branch is definitely a great option to consider if you’re in the Jersey Shore area, but looking for some greenery.

Wedding at Jake's Branch Park NJ

 

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

 

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

 

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!

Engagement session at Millbrook Winery


Your Home!

Don’t forget, you can also have your engagement session in your own home or neighborhood! 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!

NYC at-home portrait session

 

More Options…

Some other locations I love include anywhere along the Hudson Rivera NYC rooftop and Greenwich Village, the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, Jockey Hollow in Morristown, anywhere at the Jersey ShoreCarl Schurz Park in Manhattan, Liberty State Park in Jersey City, and the Queens Botanical Garden.. don’t hesitate to check them out!

A few locations I’ve been itching to shoot at include the Sussex County Sunflower Maze in Sandyston, NJ, Wave Hill in the Bronx, NY, Cooper’s Pond in Bergenfield, Verona Park in Verona, NJ, The Art Factory in Paterson, NJ and Brookdale Park Rose Garden in Montclair, NJ… let me know if you’re interested in any of these locations for an engagement session, I’d love to help!!

Hudson River engagement session

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Based in New Jersey
hello@erikakoop.com
(201) 658-8181
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Erika Koop

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

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Erika Koop

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

Connect

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

Follow