By Lauren Fair Photography

The Blog

I’m Jill, a wedding photographer based in New Jersey — and I’m so excited that you’re here! Follow along with the blog to get a glimpse into the heart behind my work.

Best NJ Engagement Photo Locations

Engagement photos are such an exciting and special time in the wedding process! Not only do engagement photos provide you a beautiful gallery of images to use for your Save the Dates and wedding website, but they’re also a great way to prepare for taking photos on your wedding day. Working with your wedding photographer during your engagement session is a wonderful way to get to know them and how they shoot, so that on the day of your wedding you know exactly what to expect when it comes to photography!

Choosing a location for your engagement photos can seem a bit daunting. Besides, there are SO many options! First and foremost, you and your fiancé should take some time to think about places that are meaningful to the two of you. Is there somewhere special you both love to go together? Where did you go on your first date? Where did you get engaged?

If nowhere comes to mind right away, or you’re just looking to switch things up a bit, today I’m sharing some of my absolute favorite places to shoot engagements in New Jersey and New York City!

Now, ask yourself two questions…

1. What type of location are you looking for? Garden? Park? City? Beach? Town?
2. Are you willing to pay a permit fee, or are you looking for somewhere that does not require a permit?

The answers to these two questions will help you narrow down this list so that you have a few places that make sense to choose from. Because a lot of beautiful public spaces do require a permit (that typically cost an additional fee), it is very important to do some research ahead of time to determine a) how much the permit fee is, b) how you go about attaining the permit, and c) how far in advance you need to get the permit.

Once you have answered these key questions, it’s time to choose your engagement session location!


Cross Estate Gardens

Bernardsville, New Jersey

Tucked away in Bernardsville, New Jersey is beautiful and whimsical Cross Estate Gardens, one of my absolute favorite places to shoot. The garden has so many different spaces to shoot which adds so much variety to photos, and is a stunning backdrop for soft and romantic engagement photos. See more from Cross Estate Gardens.

Deep Cut Gardens

Middletown, New Jersey

Deep Cut Gardens is a gorgeous space for engagement photos, with acres of beautifully manicured grounds as well as an indoor greenhouse which makes for such fun and unique shots (greenhouse is unfortunately currently closed due to COVID). A permit is required to shoot here. See more from Deep Cut Gardens.

Grounds for Sculpture

Hamilton Township, New Jersey

Grounds for Sculpture is a beautiful and expansive 42-acre sculpture park and museum near Trenton, NJ. There are a variety of areas to shoot in, ranging from beautifully landscaped spaces to exhibits with large scale art installations. Tickets ($20 per person) are required to shoot here. See more from Grounds for Sculpture.

Sayen House & Garden

Hamilton Square, New Jersey

An old world feel, Sayen House and Gardens is host of such a unique setting for photos. Because there is heavy tree cover, be prepared to begin shooting a bit earlier than we may normally before sunset to make sure we don’t lose the light too early. See more from Sayen House & Gardens.

Skylands Manor

Ringwood, New Jersey

The New Jersey Botanical Garden and Skylands Manor are absolutely stunning for engagement photos. There are so many beautiful places to shoot here, and it’s the perfect romantic setting for engagement photos. A permit is required to shoot here. See more from NJ Botanical Gardens.


Allaire State Park

Wall Township, New Jersey

Allaire State Park is known for its historic 19th-century iron making town, Allaire Village. There are so many beautiful locations to shoot at Allaire Park, giving a wide variety of backgrounds for photos. There is also a public bathroom, which makes changing into a second outfit a breeze! See more from Allaire State Park.

Divine Park

Spring Lake, New Jersey

Divine Park may take the cake for my favorite public park to shoot at — especially in the spring when the trees begin to bloom! So much so that we took our own engagement photos here. I absolutely love the rustic bridges and light, airy feel at this beautiful park. Plus, it’s only a two minute drive to the beach! See more from Divine Park.

East County Park

Warren, New Jersey

A hidden gem that I just recently learned about, East County Park is an expansive piece of property nestled back within the neighborhoods of Warren. With two massive dog runs, this is totally a dog-friendly location. There’s a great mix of both trees and open space, making it perfect for photos. See more from East County Park.

Jockey Hollow

Morristown, New Jersey

Jockey Hollow’s historic setting is perfect for rustic engagement photos — and especially stunning during the fall. The small red barn, also known as the Wick House, was built in 1750 and owned by Henry Wick, the largest landowner in Morristown. In fact, his “trees attracted Washington’s army to the area as a winter encampment site because they needed logs to build cabins for shelter and wood to burn for heating and cooking.” See more from Jockey Hollow.

Liberty State Park

Jersey City, New Jersey

Liberty State Park offers not only sweeping views of the New York City skyline, but also an expansive and beautiful park setting, a true gem so close to the city. I love Liberty State Park for its variety — as well as its gorgeous willow trees. See more from Liberty State Park.

Scenic Hudson Riverwalk

Tarrytown, New York

For my Connecticut-based clients, the Scenic Hudson RiverWalk is a great meet-in-the-middle location since I’m based in New Jersey. These stunning views of the new Tappan Zee Bridge can’t be beat, and the quaint and adorable town of Tarrytown right nearby makes for the perfect day trip. See more from the Scenic Hudson RiverWalk.

Ramapo Valley County Reservation

New York, New York

The perfect spot for the hiking and adventurous couple! At Ramapo Reservation, you can either choose to stay closer to the entrance of the park — which still has beautiful, sweeping views of the hills in the background, or hike up to the reservoir for an even more stunning location. See more from Ramapo Valley County Reservation.

Van Vorst Park

Jersey City, New Jersey

Van Vorst Park is one of my favorite places to shoot in the Jersey City/Hoboken area. From its gorgeous fountain to color hydrangeas (in the summer, at least!) it is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. See more from Van Vorst Park.


Belvedere Castle

New York, New York

Not-your-average-Central-Park-location, Belvedere Castle truly transports you to another time. This location isn’t too far from the popular Bethesda Terrace, but typically has far fewer tourists to dodge. Right nearby you can also get gorgeous shots with Turtle Pond in the background, giving you many options in a relatively small area. See more from Belvedere Castle.

Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn, New York

One of the most iconic locations in the city — but also one of the trickiest to time! I will only do Brooklyn Bridge sessions at sunrise — but hear me out! Any other time of day, this bridge is teeming with tourists, and worse, bikes. The bike lane is absolutely crazy on the Brooklyn Bridge, and you will get hit if you aren’t careful! However, sunrise sessions here are absolutely magical, with unbeatable views and a timeless backdrop. See more from the Brooklyn Bridge.

Brooklyn Bridge Park

Brooklyn, New York

Brooklyn Bridge Park is a setting with so much variety. Here you can find classic views of the New York City skyline and Brooklyn Bridge, an intimate garden within the historic brick walls of the Tobacco Warehouse, and a beach of pebbles — very appropriately called Pebble Beach. See more from Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Central Park

New York, New York

You can’t get more quintessential New York City than Central Park. If you want to shoot here, I recommend opting for a sunrise session (and yes, that’s exactly what it sounds like — a session at sunrise) in order to avoid tourists and foot traffic. Bethesda Terrace/Fountain and Bow Bridge are two of the most popular places for engagement photos in the park.  See more from Central Park.

Hoboken Brownstones

Hoboken, New Jersey

Living in Hoboken for several years has certainly helped me to explore and find the best spots for photos! For a city/urban vibe, the Hoboken brownstones is the perfect backdrop without needing to go all the way into the city. See more from the Hoboken brownstones.

Hoboken Waterfront

Hoboken, New Jersey

When I think of classic Hoboken engagement photos, I immediately think of the Hoboken waterfront, with beautiful views of the New York City skyline. Pier A is also the perfect place for engagement photos, and if you time it right with the seasons the trees are absolutely to die for. See more from the Hoboken waterfront.

Weehawken Waterfront

Weehawken, New Jersey

Want the Hoboken views without as many crowds? Head to the Weehawken waterfront for the same skyline with less tourists! Weehawken is a beautiful, up and coming area with so many beautiful backgrounds to choose from. See more from the Weekhawken waterfront.

West Village

New York, New York

This quaint section of Manhattan is one of my favorite places in the city. The historic brownstones and cobblestone streets are like something from a different time, and I absolutely love shooting here (seeing the Friends apartment building is just another plus). See more from the West Village.

Beach & Coastal

Hathaway Beach

Deal, New Jersey

I don’t usually think of cliffs when I think of the Jersey Shore, but Hathaway Beach offers a unique backdrop. Amidst the huge gorgeous mansions of Deal, this hidden gem is a stunning spot for beachy engagement photos. See more from Hathaway Beach.

Huntington Harbor

Huntington, New York

Although I don’t often make it out to Long Island, when I do being on the water is a must! Huntington offers both beach and harbor views, and bonus points if you have access to a boat in the marina! See more from Huntington Harbor.

Lavallette Beach

Lavallette, New Jersey

The sweet little beach town of Lavallette is one of my favorites at the Jersey Shore. Any beach with seagrass is instantly a win in my book, and Lavallette makes for the perfect, dreamy engagement photos. See more from Lavallette Beach.

Manasquan Beach

Manasquan, New Jersey

One of my favorite things about the Manasquan Beach is the Manasquan Inlet, which connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Manasquan River and divides the counties of Ocean and Monmouth. The rocky jetty adds a little spice to these beachy photos. See more from Manasquan Beach.

Spring Lake Beach

Spring Lake, New Jersey

Only minutes from Divine Park is the beach at Spring Lake, with a beautiful, light boardwalk and soft, glowy seagrass that makes your engagement photos look like something out of a Nicholas Sparks novel. Spring Lake is my favorite beach at the Jersey Shore, and we took our own engagement photos here. Be forewarned — beach photos are windy! See more from Spring Lake Beach.


Madison Train Station

Madison, New Jersey

As far as New Jersey train stations go, the Madison Train Station is one of the most beautiful ones! There are so many great areas to shoot, and the building itself is quite impressive. Especially meaningful if a commute to the city is part of your love story! See more from Madison Train Station.

Princeton University

Princeton, New Jersey

Princeton’s campus is one of the most stunning locations in New Jersey. You are limited to certain areas to take professional photos, but the architecture is truly worthwhile. Afterwards, plan a date night in the quaint college town at one of its many restaurants right next to the campus. See more from Princeton University.

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