June 11, 2020
There are few things in the world that evoke that deep feeling of nostalgia other than photographs (i’m pretty sure our sense of smell is actually in the lead but whatever). Once we book we get right to work finding the perfect Engagement session location! There are a few things to consider when picking out an engagement session location. My go to advice is always to try and find a location that means something to you. I have done engagement sessions at first date restaurants, in personal backyards, and even in livings rooms! There is something tangible about going back to “where it all began” for your engagement session!
If you cant think of a location off hand that means something special to both of you than start thinking in terms of what “aesthetic” you’re going for. In your mind do you picture something urban, lush gardens, maybe open fields? I can shoot in any location, some of my favorite images have been captured in the corner of parking lots! This blog post is geared towards helping you pick a location for your engagement session, I want to help out and alleviate stress anyway I can! This list is not a list of the only locations I will shoot at, but it is a list of some of my favorite locations!
Lake Minnewaska is the perfect location for a forest/adventure styled engagement session. Its located right near New Paltz, NY and offers sweeping mountain views and lush greenery. There is no permit fee, there is a 10$ charge to park there. One of my favorite things about this location is the variety you can get in a short time and with relatively short distance on foot traveling. I recommend wearing a flowy dress for the mountain top, the way that wind catches a dress is just magic. Check out some images from Lake Minnewaska from all different seasons!
This sweet little garden is an absolute gem! Bard’s agriculture program (apparently) keeps these gardens and they do a fantastic job! Its a small location but there is SO much variety nestled in every nook of this garden. It is a free location which is another huge plus for Bard college!
This is a new location on my list, and I could not be happier. The Viaduct is right under a train trellis ( I think thats what its called) and it has the most beautiful meadows of tall grass. Around the corner there is also a small wooded creek that is just magical. This location also falls into the free or no permit required category!
Tucked away in Saugerties, NY down a sprawling sand covered path is the most precious lighthouse. The aesthetic of this location is a casual, breezy, and beachy. The lighthouse does require permission to shoot there and they grant permission in exchange for a donation of any amount to the lighthouse organization. Also fun fact you can have a romantic getaway IN the actual lighthouse! Learn more about that
Thomas Bull Memorial park in Montgomery NY is home to Sallys dream playground (one of my favorites) and the most gorgeous little arboretum. In the spring the amount of tulips that cover the grounds is just unreal. Its been a while since I have shot there and I would love to go back! This location is also a permit free and general free location.
Poets walk is located in Red Hook, NY. It has beautiful open fields and an absolutely amazing wooden gazebo. Its an easy walk though cozy woods that take you to a
stunning view of the mid-hudson bridge. This location is also permit free and generally free.
Speaking of well known parks I present you with the oh-so-well-known Central Park! I am not going to waste words telling you how delicious Central Park is, how the giant stone steps next to Bethesda Terrace are the most creamy color when photographed, or how the city skyline looks when its just hangin back in all of your images. This location is free in itself BUT it does incur some travel charges for me to get down there! Not much at all so if you are interested reach out and we will talk specifics!
Oh Dumbo has stolen my heart, Brooklyn in general has stolen my heart (did you know John Krasinski lives in Brooklyn #justsayin). Dumbo Brooklyn has the famous Janes carousel, the INFAMOUS Brooklyn bridge shot, and cobblestone streets! Brooklyn bridge park is also super close by that is right on the water and has some pretty intense landscaping with all of the layers that I just LOVE! This location will also incur small travel charges but goodness its worth it!
High point State Park in NJ is…well…very high up. This location has beautiful stone work and a gorgeous Washington DC styled monument, there are gorgeous trees all around a cute little pond. I have only been in the winter but I am sure its gorgeous year round!
This location is so gorgeous year round, head over to Courtney and Nicks maternity session to see a full session from the gatehouse. It also comes (so far) permit free!
So I have only been here once and I was blown away! Tall grass surrounded by risen wooden pathways leads to huge mature trees. There are a ton of sweet little flowers that bud all around and a picture perfect bridge! NOW If you look online you will see crazy views, like amazingly beautiful and in full disclosure I have not hiked all the way up there so I cannot speak that. I will say that what I have seen is well worth it, this location is also permit free.
If you want to talk about a hidden gem, than lets talk. Shared blessings estate is the sweetest little venue owned by the sweetest couple…its literally their backyard. The views of the Shawangunk mountains are amazing, not to mention the aged wood barn, the pond with the teal boat, and the meticulously groomed gardens. This location does have a permit fee but its small. * Fun fact* The amazingly sweet woman who owns this venue is the one who started my love for plants, when we shot this engagement session she gifted both me AND the bride a snake plant which began my obsession. This venue also hosts small parties and weddings!
Rail trails are some of my families favorite trails to walk with my family AND to photograph couples. Rail trails are basically they trails where railroads USED to have tracks, so they are well worn paths all throughout the woods. My favorite one in the New Paltz rail trail, the light through these paths is absolutely heavenly.
Glen Island park has it all, it has lush greenery, stone castles, docks and rocky beaches. It is located right next to one of my favorite wedding venue Glen Island Harbor Club. There is a small fee, I believe it was 50$ (could be wrong) but relatively small. Its a gorgeous location with a lot of variety.
Ok I have only been here twice BUT its just amazing! Grey Towers is a huge historic building with perfect grounds, gorgeous gardens and open spaces. You do need a permit but I will take care of the paperwork for you!
Olana state historic site has such a beautiful history, designed and built by Frederic Church it is just spectacular. The grounds are gorgeous and there is even a large heart shaped pond (that he man made for his wife). There is no fee but I would need to file for a permit so this location should be planned well in advance.
If you want to talk about a garden heaven than Innisfree is it. MY only bone to pick is that it can be REALLY hard to get in touch with the people who manage it. It is basically run on a volunteer basis SO if you want to shoot at this magical and insanely worth it location I will make a trip out to make sure we can get confirmation in person! But TRUST ME, if you can get in, its like nothing you have ever seen.
So this location has sentimental memories for me, I grew up hanging out here all the time. Bear mountain is home to well…lots of mountains. Its a huge area and quite open ( complete with a merry-go-round) and in the fall it sings. My only advice for a Bear Mountain engagement session is that we should on the weekdays. During the weekend it is completely packed, like cant breathe cant move packed.
There are SO many locations that I would LOVE to shoot at and have not yet had the chance to get to, SO if you are up for some exploring check out this list!
Elizabeth Park// CT- Ok this place is a floral HEAVEN. I want to shoot here SO bad, its a little bit of a trek so there are travel fees BUT thats outweighed by the fact that there are no permits to shoot here!
New York Botanical Gardens// NYC- Another floral heaven perfection. There is I believe a hefty permit fee but I would imagine it would be SO worth it! Click here for more info!
Hartford City Hall & Bushnell Park// CT- This has got to be the most beautiful building, all white with classic architecture. There is a nearby Bushnell park with the most gorgeous blossoms. There is a small fee to shoot here.
Harkness Park // Waterford CT- I have wanted to shoot here FOREVER! The trees are absolutely stunning, the beach right near it gives so much variety! There is also on permit to shoot here !
Saint Huberts Lodge & Club// Marlboro, NY- UGH this is orchard dreams come true! I have not shot here yet so I dont know If there are permits and I would be glad to find out! But just LOOK at this location!
Vanderbilt Mansion // Hyde Park, NY- Ok so I actually HAVE shot here before but it was a REALLY long time ago and probably like my 3rd or 4th engagement session ever….so I want to go back! This beautiful mansion is right on the river with incredible gardens, similar to the Bard College gardens. Check out more here!
This is a LOT of information and this is overwhelming. I want you to know that I am here to help you every step of the way. Maybe you are not officially one of my couples and you are readying this post thinking “ugh I want her to photograph me” than maybe its time we get in touch!
© 2023 Photos by Nidya lloyd photography
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