It’s almost engagement season! And that means newly-engaged couples are going to start searching for the best spot to get their engagement session.
As a wedding photographer, I know there is a lot of confusion in people’s mind. My couples usually either don’t have a clue where to get their photos taken and need my input, or have too many ideas and need to be guided through the decision-process.
That’s completely normal! New-York is very big and the possibilities for engagement session locations are endless. So here are a few of the most fun locations to get your engagement photos taken in New-York.
Prospect Park has all the advantages of Central Park (it’s big, green and beautiful) without its drawbacks (its millions of daily visitors). The other good aspect of the park, is that it is adjacent to Park Slope, which is a beautiful neighborhood full of tree-lined streets, cute cafes, and historical brownstones. That gives you the opportunity to get some greenery and some architecture all in one shoot.
Right outside of Park Slope, Gowanus awaits with its canals and street art everywhere. The neighborhood is super hip, grungy, and overall awesome for pictures. Take a walk across the canal, find the hidden graffitis, and enjoy the industrial architecture of the area.
Another nice spot for urban shots, Greenpoint is a little more funky than Park Slope and has some breathtaking views on Manhattan. Head to the pier at India Street for some photos with the Empire State Building, or to Java Street for some serious street art. There’s also a non-linear street in Greenpoint that has a spooky-looking haunted house on it, but I keep that one in the vault 🙂
4. Fort Greene Park
Fort Greene Park is always busy in the South, but super quiet on the North side. Plus there are some serious staircases on that side of the park, giving you an interesting backdrop for pictures. Don’t hesitate to walk right outside the park as well, as some of the streets are really gorgeous.
No list would be full without Dumbo on it. Although you can say that it is overly done, Dumbo is a seriously good spot for photos of all sorts: red brick walls, Manhattan in the background, old train tracks, big graffitis, two bridges and a quiet greenway… Dumbo has it all. A little insider tip: don’t go on a week-end, or it will be way too busy to enjoy.
If you want to embrace NYC’s artistic scene, head to Bushwick and to the murals of the Bushwick Collective. That’s where you’ll find some serious graffiti by local artists. Get a drink on one of the many rooftops in the area, such as Elsewhere or Our Wicked Lady, and toast to your upcoming nuptials while your photographer documents the moment.
I have a soft spot for this area because I think it encapsulates New-York. It is a bit grungy, charming, and historic. Start in the winding streets of Chinatown and make your way North, through Cosby St for some cobblestones and Greene St for colorful brownstones. Include a delicious pastry from Dominique Ansel in your engagement session, or dumplings from Mimi Cheng’s for a more local food experience!
8. The West Village
If you prefer a more romantic vibe, the West Village is perfect for that. It’s green but still urban, and the streets are narrow, giving it a true village feel (hence the name, I’m guessing!). As with Dumbo, pick an evening or afternoon during the week if you can; it will be more enjoyable, as the Village does attract lots of tourists.
9. Washington Square Park
Right off the West Village, Washington Square Park is a much needed green patch in the middle of this busy neighborhood. Make sure to plan your session on a week day, because the park gets really busy on week-ends!
10. At home!
What’s more fitting these days than pictures at home? If you have some decent natural light at home, you can always take pictures there. It will add some nice memories in the place you share together, and you can go out for a little stroll in your own neighborhood for a very special and personal engagement shoot experience.
Check out this home engagement session for some inspiration!
11. The High Line/Chelsea Market
The High Line might be a busy spot, it is also very special. Its architecture is very photo-friendly, it has views on the city and the water, and you can end the session in the Chelsea Market for a bite to eat and a refreshing soda (like Paul and Kate, pictured below).
12. Central Park: Hernshead and the Ladies Pavilion
Behind the famous Ladies Pavilion, hidden between rocks, you will find the perfect spot for engagement pictures overlooking Manhattan and the many rowboats on the pond. It doesn’t get more New-York than that. You can then walk around a bit towards Bethesda Fountain or head out of the park and hit the pretty streets of the Upper West Side.
13. A Community Garden in Alphabet City
For some truly typical New York style engagement photos, try to get hold of one of the community gardens around Alphabet City. You might need to know somebody that is part of one or pay a small fee to use the space, but the result will be worth it. The photos below were taken at 6BC garden.
14. Coney Island
The beach, the ocean, ice cream cones and the old school Cyclone, but also the boardwalk, the Luna Park and Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog… All are solid reasons to head to Coney Island for some fun and colorful pictures. Make sure to grab an ice cream and create a truly fun experience out of your engagement photos.
15. Forest Park, Queens
This is, in my experience, the closest you’ll get to a true wild landscape without leaving the city. Forest Park looks like a state park upstate, but it is right off the subway, in the center of Queens! Don’t hesitate to walk deep in the forest for a quiet experience and pretty portraits.
16. Upper West Side
The Upper West Side has the advantage to be right next to Central Park in case you want some photos in the park as well, but it is a beauty on its own, with its gorgeous tree-lined streets and colorful brownstones. Make sure to head to West 80th street, where you’ll find the really cool colorful brownstones depicted below!
17. Your favorite food joint
Wanting to incorporate a place that is meaningful to you as a couple is always a lovely idea. Do you have a favorite coffee shop? Do you have a go-to taco place? Plan your engagement photo session around the area where that special place is located, and end the session by sharing your favorite item on the menu with your fiancé(e).