February 23, 2022
This blog post is meant to help you find the perfect location for your engagement session in the Hudson Valley and throughout the Northeast. That ring is secured on your finger, vendors are being booked left and right and you are getting to the good parts of wedding planning. Your engagement session is a CRUCIAL step to wedding images that are joyful, romantic, and organic. As a wedding photographer my aim is to educate my clients and make the wedding planning process as easy as possible and our first big step is choosing an engagement session location!
Below is a list of some one my favorite locations. I photograph weddings all over the Northeast ( and beyond truthfully) but the bulk of these can be found in the Hudson Valley,NY. Whether you are one of my couples or not this engagement inspiration blog post is sure to be helpful!
Truthfully I have HUNDREDS of images from Central park. If you are looking for incredible architecture, a classy vibe and if you don’t mind waking up a little early Central park may be it for you. I recommend a sunrise session when shooting at central park. These images were not photoshopped, we really had this place to ourselves. I know that a 4am wake up call is not on everyones list, but Central park will be a much more enjoyable experience early in the morning than attempting to find an “open” spot before sunset.
Important FAQs about central park:
1. No permit required
2. Bathrooms are available and open until dusk.
3. Is subject to photographers travel fees.
4. Parking is not easily accessible, a garage might be easiest.
A precious little boathouse, cream and teal buildings, and lush walkways mark Prospect park in Brooklyn NY. It has the benefits of that NYC architecture BUT with a slightly less crowded atmosphere. I would still recommend a sunrise session here, it gives us some freedom.
Important FAQs about Prospect Park:
If I could live in New York City I would live I Brooklyn. Dumbo is one of the most photographed locations in the US and for good reason. The Brooklyn bridge is perfection and the skyline is just magical as a back drop. The color tones when I photograph here are an absolute dream. There are a few cons. This is definitely a sunrise session (as a matter of fact pretty much everything in NYC is a sunrise session recommendation). One of the biggest cons for me is that there is not much variety. There are little kind of cute streets below but nothing amazing. The view of the bridge is remarkable and on its own very impressive but you wont get the balance of architecture with greenery. Still absolutely worth using as an engagement location.
Important FAQs about Dumbo Bridge:
If you are wanting that Brooklyn bridge vibe but want the balance of a little more variety than Janes Carousel is probably for you.This park is located right underneath Brooklyn bridge so you can get Brooklyn bridge in the background of these images. Right on the water, the famous city skyline, creamy steps and charming brick stores all within 5 minute walks of one another. You are probably thinking ” Why cant I do both?” The thing is we would loose a lot of time trying to get from the top to the bottom, I don’t want to kind of get two locations, I would rather spend a good amount of time at one location than a half hour at both.
Important FAQS about Janes Carousel
Located In northern Manhattan Fort Tryon is one of my favorites, and I have only been here once. The Cloisters are literally right there so that Monastary-like architecture runs through. There are also well manicured gardens within walking distance and an open field over looking the river, it has everything!
Moving out of NYC and closer to Philly is the FABULOUS Longwood gardens. If I could be here every day I would. Incredible fountains, lush gardens and restaurants on site make this the ultimate destination for an engagement session, you could make a weekend of it! There is not a permit fee but you do have to purchase admission tickets in advance (between 25-50$ per person depending on season) but it is well worth it for this stunning location.
Important FAQs about Long Wood Gardens:
I LOVE Cove Island! It has all of the benefits of a beach session with the greenery of a park. It is a huge park so there is a lot of variety. You do need a permit ( which is cheaper if you are a Stamford resident) which will run you a little over a hundred dollars per car. There is also a perfect view of the sunset!
Important FAQs about Cove Island
This boardwalk might be my favorite to photograph. A large boardwalk with light colors planks, gorgeous buildings, a beach, and colorful booths and shops make this the ideal beach location. There is a small rate to gain entrance to the beach but hey, why not stay and relax on the beach and get your monies worth?
Important FAQs for Asbury Park
If that early morning for Central Park really is not appealing, allow me to introduce you to Vanderbilt mansion. Located in Hyde Park, NY this stunning mansion boasts incredible architecture, lush gardens in the spring and summer and plenty of greenery. Vanderbilt has been undergoing a restoration for some years now and it was well worth the wait.
Important FAQs about Vanderbilt:
I finally got to shoot at this dream location this past summer. It truly lived up to what I hoped it would be. The locations are endless, you get classic, mansion style buildings, green ivy, beaches and open fields all in one. It does tend to get quite crowded so I would recommend a sunrise session so we can ensure that we grab the good spots. If you have a CT registered vehicle you no longer have to pay the parking fee for admission.
Important FAQs about Harkness
Tarrywile is also a wedding venue so the photo ops are abounding. There is a green shrub arch which is gorgeous, wide open fields where the sunsets through tall grass and roses that tuck themselves around a gazebo. Its also not a ton of walking which is always an added plus.
Important FAQs about Tarrywile
Olana was built by a very wealthy man as a gift for his wife, he created the entire property to capture everything she loved. Indian architecture, a heart shaped man made pond, stunning views and a perfectly curated garden. Its a dream, a glowy dream.
Important FAQS for Olana:
This park has the most sweeping views and lush greenery. A stunning view of the Mid hudson bridge and my FAVORITE tree where the sunsets right beyond its leaves. This park is open dawn until dusk and it beautiful year round.
Important FAQs about Poets walk
Oh the Viaduct, this little retreat on top of the hill. This location is famous for its train trestle high in the sky that creates such great leading lines. My second favorite tree to photograph is here as well, plus they have fields of sunkissed tall grass.
Located about 10 minutes from my house this is truly one of the most splendid arboretums in NY. With incredible landscaping year round and Wisteria vines in the spring this place is magical. There is also a near by open field where the sunsets that is the perfect way to end the session!
Important FAQS about the Arboretum:
1. No permit required
2. Very easy parking
3. Port a potty on premise
4. No travel fee for the photographer.
Walking this boardwalk is like walking through another country, tall grasses meet you on either side and the light is just perfect everywhere. There is a tall linear bridge which creates the most beautiful lead lines, definitely a great place to stop!
1. No permit fee
2. No bathrooms
3. Parking can be complicated, sometimes you have to walk a little ways.
4. Very small fee for me to travel there.
A stunning trail leads to this incredibly beautiful brick lighthouse. The lighthouse is actually a place that you can stay overnight so I recommend making a whole experience of it! The trail boasts tall grass, beachy open coves, driftwood and a stunning backdrop.
1. Written permission is required
2. Parking is easy
3. The walk can be a little wet so dress accordingly
4. Minimal travel fee for photographer .
I am here a TON! It is about 25 minutes from my house and It is breathtaking. A blue lake sits nestled in craggy soaring cliffs, a waterfall roars at the bottom of the park and plenty of greenery abounds in between. You get a few different “vibes” from Lake Minnewaska, all are amazing.
1. Parking fee required ( 10$)
2. Bathrooms are present
3. Parking is easy
4. No travel fee for photographer.
This pretty stone gatehouse is also right around the corner from Minnewaska. It boasts the same vibe but in a more country setting. Open fields and willow trees tuck themselves around this trailhead.
1. Parking fee required
2. No bathrooms
3. Easy parking scenario
4. No travel fee for photographer
Shared blessings is perhaps the most precious location on this list. This is actually someones home that they have turned into a venue, and goodness I am so jealous of them that they get to live here! For a small fee you can meet Dotty and spend the evening photographing her her pond and weeping willow, in the gardens that she maintains and in front of the barn that they built! Plus Dotty usually “shares her blessing” with you by giving you a plant! Fun fact, Dotty is the one who started my obsession with plants, its such a special place!
1. Permit fee required
2. Easy parking
3. Bathrooms available
4. No travel fee for photographer
Easily one of my favorite gardens in this state. This garden is actually taken care of by the agricultural society at Bard college. They are stunning, well manicured, and picutre perfect.
1. No permit required
2. No bathrooms available
3. Parking is easy but its a bit of a walk to the gardens.
4. Small fee for photographer.
This location was a foundry back during one of these wars ( Ill brush up on my history later) so the results its lots of pretty brick structures. The foundry sits near the water and has beautiful narrow pathways draped in greenery. There is also a beautiful waterfall that photographs like a dream!
1.No permit fee
2. Easy parking
3. No bathrooms
4. Small fee for photographer
5. To see a blogpost from Coldspring click here!
I LOVE to go see new places. While I regularly find myself in this New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania square I adore the opportunity to travel to a new state for an engagement session. My travel fees are not insane so in most cases you wont pay much more than you would in a closer location. Flight and 2 nights stay or mileage if it is a driveable destination are all that is required! SO have you ever wanted to go to the famous Antelope Canyon? Lets do it! Garden of the Gods, count me in! Think outside the box and make it a little mini wedding planning vacation!
I was fortunate enough to shoot a wedding in Ogonquite Maine and than return the next summer for an engagement session. Hands down the most amazing cliffs I have seen up close in person, the quaint town is “so” New England and I would love to go back!
1. The location you see below did not require a permit, but Maine is a big place.
2. Parking for this specific spot was easy enough, we parked at a beach entrance
3. There are bathrooms sporadically in hotels along the coast.
4. This would be a destination session so mileage and a one night stay would be required ( Its about 5 hours from me so one night will do).
5. To see my wedding from Ogonquit click here!
To see more of this engagement session click here!
I fell in love with this quaint state. The New England vibes are strong with this one, for the epitome of fall foliage heading back to Vermont is a GRAND idea! I wont post any FAQs regarding Vermont because there are so many different options. Just like Maine I would require a one nights stay and mileage, so here is to thinking outside of the box!
Believe it or not, these are just SOME of my favorites! If nothing on here does it for you let me know and we will start the hunt! I am going to link last years blog post below as well, a lot of these locations are on there again but I have listed some “want to” shoot destinations in the prior list! Dont forget, this blog post serves as engagement session inspiration, so allow it to get your wheels turning, I cant wait to create some magic with you!
Are you getting married? Have you looked through this blog post and wondered what you have to do to become one of my couples? Its easy, click the link below and lets chat!
© 2023 Photos by Nidya lloyd photography
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