The Best Locations for New York Engagement Photos: NYC, Hudson Valley, and Upstate NY

February 16, 2022

NY Engagement Photos | Hudson Valley Engagement Photographer | NYC Wedding Photographer

Whether you’re looking for famous skyscrapers, stunning waterfalls, fun breweries, or nearly anything else, these 20+ locations for your New York engagement photos are sure to give you ideas

I’m a New York-based wedding photographer, and taking engagement photos all around New York (and the country, and sometimes internationally!) is a big part of my job! Engagement photos are a great way to meet your photographer, do something you won’t be able to do on your wedding day (e.g. go to a carnival, or take photos while on vacation), and get some amazing photos to show at your wedding/on your invites.

Since New York State is SO much more than just NYC—and since I’ve lived in several parts of upstate New York, downstate New York, and New York City—it seemed that a New York State guide to photo locations would be helpful. So, here’s my guide on the best locations for engagement photos in New York!

Where Can You Take Engagement Photos around New York State?

Basically, almost anywhere! Some places, however, require permits–so always check first. There are state parks, county parks, cool buildings, long hikes, lakes, waterfalls, historical mansions, skyscrapers, and so many more locations in this beautiful state of ours.

Whether you’re doing engagement photos, getting married, having an anniversary or couple’s session, or eloping, many of these locations are perfect for all. When eloping/getting married, there are generally fees, permits, and or reservations required. Engagement photos, on the other hand, are often free and don’t require a permit (though you always want to check, because certain parks, buildings, and properties require a permit for any photoshoot).

Here I list my favorite New York engagement photo locations, including:

  • New York City and the surrounding areas
  • Westchester
  • Hudson Valley
  • Upstate New York/Western New York, from Albany and the Adirondacks to Buffalo

night engagement photos brooklyn bridge park BIPOC wedding photographer

The Best Locations for New York Engagement Photos (In no particular order)

New York City Engagement Photo Locations

Brooklyn Bridge: Get here early in the morning or there will be walkers, joggers, and bikers all up in your photo frame!

New York Public Library: Engagement photos at the NY Public Library at Bryant Park are allowed, but of course there are rules and restrictions. Being quiet and respectful is most important, but if you get a chance to take photos in here, it’s quite classic and beautiful

Rockefeller Ice Skating Rink, Bryant Park Ice Rink, or Central Park Ice Skating Rink: For more action shots and a fun crowd, photos while ice skating for winter engagement photos is a classic

Bushwick Graffiti: Why not be bold with some Brooklyn engagement photos? There’s amazingly colorful (and meaningful) graffiti all over parts of Queens, the LES, and Brooklyn—and Bushwick has some of the best

Central Park: Bow Bridge, Bethesda Fountain, the Loeb Boathouse, and Bethesda Terrace are all popular, but again—get here very early or very late in order to get photos without tons of folks in the background! There are also plenty of other spots for Central Park engagement photos: on top of rocks around the park, at the Ladies’ Pavilion or Cop Cot, or my favorite, up at the Central Park Conservancy ($$$ permit required)

DUMBO on Water Street: Brooklyn engagement photos with the Manhattan Bridge in the background is iconic, but you’ll also see 50 other couples and Instagrammers there at the same time. Get here very early for a prayer at not having a crowd!

Times Square:
Engagement photos in Times Square are fun, especially the crowd is blurred behind the couple

Brooklyn Promenade: It’s darn romantic and has the most amazing sunsets if you want to capture NYC at night

Grand Central: Make sure you take photos at this classic NYC building! Engagement photos at Grand Central are allowed, provided you don’t use a tripod. There are lots of nooks and crannies if you know where to go

Botanical Gardens: Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, New York Botanical Gardens, and Wave Hill: Permits are required at some of these locations, but in nice weather, it’s hard to beat the beauty and variety of colors

Parks: High Line, Prospect Park, Little Island, etc. While permits are required at some of these parks, the mix of nature and industrial backgrounds can be darn cool. There’s also great art installations on the High Line that can add a huge splash of color to your engagement photos!

Piermont pier engagement photos

Westchester Engagement Photo Locations

Mansions: Briarcliff Manor, Glenview Mansion, Lyndhurst Mansion: If you’re able to snag permission for photographing at one of the amazing mansions and manicured grounds around Westchester, your engagement photos will be formal and beautiful

Piermont Pier: While not technically Westchester, its view of the Tappanzee Bridge makes it more Westchester than most engagement photo locations in downstate New York! There are also lovely views, wildlife, rocks to hop over, small beaches, and tons of nature here

Local Parks: Manor Park, Charles Point Park, George’s Island Park, etc. For that rustic fall look, the local parks all around Westchester (there are dozens of them, from small ponds in Mt. Kisco to huge waterfront parks on the Hudson River) will fit the bill. Or, head up a bit further north for some of the larger state parks

Helicopter Ride over NYC:
If you want exciting and super-unique engagement photos, go for a heli flight over Manhattan! Wings Air is a local helicopter company I love, and it’s perfect for epic proposals and engagement photos you’ll never forget

Kathryn Cooper Weddings winter engagement Awosting Falls

Hudson Valley Engagement Photo Locations + Nearby Recommendations

Minnewaska State Park: With epic views, a huge waterfall, rock outcroppings over the lake, and more, Minnewaska just may be my #1 location for photographing engagements, elopements, adventure sessions, and more. Seriously, Minnewaska engagement photos, often taken at Sam’s Point, are simply gorgeous no matter the time of year

Fahnstock State Park: Near to the city but very much a world away, the Appalachian Trail runs through here. There’s an amazing lake (beautiful for fall or for sunrise/sunset) with boating, fishing, and hiking, and plenty more park to explore

Mansions: Vanderbilt Mansion, the FDR home, Mills Mansion, and more: Up Route 9 just east of the Hudson River lie several amazing mansions for visiting. Several are free, and all are stunning, depicting different architectural styles, and often showcasing gardens, kayaking spots, and views for days.

Mohonk Mountain House: It’s not the cheapest location for engagement photography or weddings, but it’s so famous with good reason: It’s gorgeous! The lake, the hikes, the rocky adventure trails, the activities, and the views. If you just want to explore Mohonk Preserve, there’s plenty of action: Just take rock climbing engagement photos at the Shawagunks!

Innisfree Gardens: There are so many beautiful botanical gardens in Westchester and the Hudson Valley, but this is probably my favorite. Though it’s not the most colorful in terms of flowers, it’s got so much to offer with native species, the lake, and unique natural sculptures. I love taking engagement photos at Innisfree and highly recommend it (fee).

Bear Mountain: Popular for weddings, there are also hikes, a pier right at the foot of the Bear Mountain Bridge, and so many trails with amazing views nearby

ADK engagement photos Kathryn Cooper

Upstate New York Engagement Photo Spots

Adirondack Mountains: The Adirondacks are perfect for adventurous engagement photos. Pick your favorite lake and go boating, or fishing, hiking, or rock climbing, beer drinking, or rappelling.   

Finger Lakes: We have so many wine trails so you can get that classic winery engagement photo, but there is far more here: Waterfalls, rolling hills, the best ice cream spots, amazing views, hidden streams, classic architecture, boating on lakes, and more

Waterfall Parks: Engagement photos at Watkins Glen, Buttermilk Falls, Treman Falls, or many of the dozens of waterfalls around Ithaca, Keuka Lake, and the Watkins Glen areas will have you in awe. There are notable huge falls, but some of my favorites are off the beaten path and within a 90-minute drive of Ithaca

Niagara Falls: Yes, I had to list it. This incredibly powerful waterfall makes for an interesting background, night or day, on a boat or on either side. Niagara engagement photos will be unmistakably Buffalo

I’ll keep updating this list, because as much as I’d like to share every photo spot I love, I want to keep many of my favorites private. For my clients having me photograph their New York engagement photos, I’ll take them to caves, breweries, ice cream spots, Hudson River overlooks, bridges, and so much more.

So, which of these amazing locations for New York engagement photos is your favorite? Would you go for an historical mansion in Westchester, or a botanical gardens, or a snowy hiking photoshoot, or a summer waterfalls session?

If you’re getting married in New York or beyond, I’d love to capture your day—and your engagement photos! Whether it’s a local photoshoot or a 10-mile hike, let’s do this.

Kathryn Cooper Weddings: NYC Engagement Photographer | Hudson Valley Engagement Photos | Upstate NY Engagement Photographer

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So many beautiful locations in New York – especially ones you’d never know existed! Such a helpful guide

This is the most helpful guide for engagement photos in New York. I for sure would have avoided some had I not seen your post. I’m still mind blown that its ok to take them at Grand Central! (with no tripod). I think I’d choose there and the graffiti in Bushwick!

There is such a variety of locations here which is super awesome. Seems like there really is something for everyone! Awesome guide you’ve put together!

This is such a wonderful guide to NY locations! I love your tips for getting photos at each location. Thanks for sharing!

This is an awesome guide to NY spots for shoots! So many great ones to choose from

As an international tourist I couldn’t go past time square personally, so iconic!! 😍

Awesome photography to go with this list of locations. I’m normally favouring a nature based place but your photos of the city scape at night have me convinced to do that instead! Thanks for sharing!

this is such a great list of locations for new york! I had no idea it was so diverse!

There are so many gorgeous locations for engagement photos in New York! I absolutly love the “Till Death Do us Part” Mural!

Awesome! Thank you so much for putting this together and keeping it updated! Such an amazing resource if you’re looking for awesome photo spots in NY!

Wow New York really does have it all!! So much diversity and I am obsessed with the beautiful colors you captured in the city! Such an incredible state for engagement photos!

This is a great handful of information for the best locations for New York for engagement photos. Every couple is different and you have a location to fit anyone of them.

This is chock full of such amazing and in depth information! Thank you for being an authority figure when it comes to weddings in New York!

This guide is such a great resource for couples planning their engagement photos in new york! I love all of the many locations you’ve listed and how different they all are! So much variety!

This is such a comprehensive guide to locations in New York state for engagement sessions. I love that it’s more than just NYC. Great article!


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