With so many locations in New York City for engagement photoshoots, we have plenty of options and flexibility for choosing that one perfect spot that best echoes a couple’s sensibilities. I wanted to tour through some options I receive a many requests for so you can see which one might be right for you.
Central Park is the most popular picks for an engagement session—and for good reason. I love the fact that there are so many ways to feature the park and the city that surrounds it. Over the course of an hour, we can go from a city street to Bow Bridge, with stops along the way filled with lush colors and iconic images like the Bethesda Fountain and Terrace.
We call the area between the Brooklyn & Manhattan Bridge, DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), but for such a curious name, it really does provide sweeping views of Lower Manhattan, bridges, and cobblestone streets that are simply perfect for engagement shoots. It’s been bustling lately because of a boom in development and new ferry service in the area, but if you go early in the work week or in the morning, you’ll have it all to yourself.
Fort Tryon Park is one of those little hidden gems of NYC. At the highest point in elevation in Upper Manhattan, you can get panoramic views of the Hudson River. This park has a completely different look from Central Park and is generally far less crowded, not to mention all the interesting nooks and crannies to explore during the session.
Carl Schurz Park on the Upper East Side is another one of those unknown hideaways frequented by locals but untouched by visiting tourists. The way the light sneaks through the buildings late in the day is a big draw for me as a photographer, as is the fact that the East River runs alongside the park.
This is one of my favorite places in the city in general. With lofts, warehouses, converted industrial spaces, and little to no tourist attractions, the TriBeCa neighborhood feels almost isolated, yet rich in the feeling of Old New York. We can stand in the street for long stretches without having to run away from cars, and when the sun comes down, the alleys and narrow streets turn moody and romantic.
The West Village has become very popular for engagement sessions to capture that classic Sex and the City look. You can never get enough of the cobblestone or the front stoops of gorgeous town homes. Sweaters in the fall and crisp, collared shirts in the spring are always a good look here.
With its infamous ironclad oasis, Gramercy Park can’t actually be entered, but it’s beautiful just outside the gates as well. Since it’s so quiet and exclusive, this is perfect if you don’t want a million eyes on you as you canoodle in front of a camera for an hour.
The redeveloped elevated trackway otherwise known as Highline Park, running from Meatpacking up to Hudson Yards, has been a staple location since it first opened and has become a major destination for out-of-towners. On weekends it can be a little busy, but on a blustery winter day, it’s absolutely perfect—just us and a few diehard joggers.
This often-forgotten locale is just across from the Hudson River in New Jersey, and it takes literally minutes to get there on the PATH train from the West Village. Despite being in New Jersey, Hoboken really is all about New York, and you get this gorgeous, golden glow on Lower Manhattan as the sun goes down. If you’re considering DUMBO but haven’t been to Brooklyn outside of an open house in Williamsburg, you might want to go with Hoboken.
Grand Central Terminal amazes me every time I enter it. There is something about the way the building is nestled between all those modern skyscrapers and whisks people away to the serenity of the burbs that makes it so enchanting. It’s famous the world over, so be prepared—everyone’s families always go crazy for photos in the space.
A lot of 20- and 30-somethings working the infamous 12-hour NYC work days in Midtown tend to have crash pads close to work. A lot of the high-rise buildings have stunning common areas, which are perfect for the end of any session. Obviously, we can’t just waltz into any of these places, but if you live in one, it’s a golden opportunity.
Some couples like to take photos at the spot of their first date or a favorite date location. It’s great to have an environment with a personal meaning, but be warned—you sometimes have to reserve the space on off hours or make other arrangements. For example, I met up with a couple at the Jane Hotel to shoot in their roof bar and get a few pictures in some of the dramatic spaces throughout the hotel.
Finally, the hallowed grounds of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden during that magical week where the cherry blossoms are in full bloom is a must-have for many a couple. It takes a little planning, a permit, and an early morning session to avoid the crowds, but it’s well worth it.
No matter what spot you choose, one thing is always true: the more comfortable you feel and the deeper the personal connection to your surroundings, the better you’ll look in your pictures. It’s up to you to choose the place that best fits your personality—and there are truly so many to choose from.