Central Park engagement photos are some of my favorite to capture as an engagement photographer in NYC. The choice of locations and backgrounds are virtually endless. You can have a range of natural scenery paired with the beautiful skylines of Manhattan on every corner. There is so much diversity in style and feel as you move through the park. Central Park is one of my most requested locations in the city for engagement photos.
For engagement photo locations in Central Park, I usually suggest starting the photoshoot at the Bethesda Terrace & Fountain as it is easy to get to and is one of the most iconic locations in the park. From there, we can make sure to grab photos at all of the awesome spots nearby, like the Bow Bridge, The Central ParkBoathouse, The Mall and a few other spots that I love.
The epic archways, the encaustic tile mosaics, the stone staircases, and the musicians & performers make The Bethesda Terrace Arcade one of the most romantic NYC engagement photo locations in Central Park. Bethesda Terrace is exactly in the middle of the park and is easily accessed from 70th street on either side. Just walk straight in and you'll se it!
Between the Bethesda Terrace Arcade and the Central Park Lake is the Bethesda Fountain. Gorgeous in the spring, summer, and fall when the Lily pads grow wildly. They empty the fountain in the winter time.
20 acres of picturesque lake lined with trees. The Lake was once nothing more than a swamp until its opening in 1858. Until 1950, the Lake was open for ice-skating in the winter months and boating in the summers. It is only open for boating nowadays.
One of my favorite locations in the park at sunrise or sunset is the Bow Bridge. This 60-foot bridge is stunning. When looking out over the lake from the Bethesda Fountain area, it’s the bridge just to the left. It has been featured in many movies and is usually a must if you’re doing your engagement photos in this part of the park.
The Central Park Boathouse, officially named The Loeb Boathouse, opened in 1954 as a place to store the rowboats. The Central Park Boathouse has evolved into a landmark restaurant as well as wedding venue. True to its name, rowboats have been drifting about for over 150 years from this landing. A perfect way to enjoy one of life’s simplest activities on a beautiful day. They offer 100 rowboats for renting and the fee is $15 per hour (cash only + a $20 cash deposit) with $4 for each additional 15 minutes of boat time.
The Central Park Mall, with its gorgeous tree-lined walkway leads right to the Bethesda Terrace and runs right through the center of the park from 66th street to 72nd street. The Mall was specifically designed to accommodate horse carriages as they passed through. On either side, you’ll see the protected American Elms providing the tree cover for the passageway.
My favorite bridge to photograph throughout the different seasons is the Gapstow Bridge. Suspended over the Pond in the southeast corner of the Park, this bridge boasts a lush foreground set against the skyline of iconic buildings of Central Park South.
Also known as Bridge No. 28, Gothic Bridge is one of the parks three reservoir bridges. Designed in 1864 in a Neo-gothic design, the bridge extends over the bridle path between the northern reservoir and the tennis courts. Being a bit more secluded and out of the way, it makes for a great location.
Pinebank Arch is one of five remaining original cast-iron bridges in central park.
A bit less-frequented location of the park, Shakespeare's Garden is the perfect spot for a quieter location for engagement photos. Due to it’s romantic atmosphere, the garden is also a great spot for an intimate wedding ceremony or elopement. The wooden stairs lead you you up to the Belvedere Castle.
Belvedere means beautiful view in Italian. I'd say that's a very fitting description for the little gem that is Belvedere Castle. From the two balconies you can have panoramic views of the Delacorte Theater, The Great Lawn, The Turtle Pond and the Ramble. The castle is also a gorgeous backdrop itself from across the pond.
The Conservatory Garden, located in the north east side of the park on 105th Street & Fifth Ave., this 6-acre formal garden is an oasis inside of an oasis. The wrought iron Vanderbilt Gate was made in Paris in 1894 and just beyond you’ll find Gardens in the style of French, English, and Italianate.
The Ramble is 38 gorgeous acres of winding, maze-like trails near the Bethesda Terrace between 73rd & 78th streets.
The Central Park Reservoir, officially named Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, was built in 1862 and is famed for its 1.58 mile running track that encircles it. This reservoir holds over a billion gallons of water. On the south-west corner of the Reservoir is a little path lined with cherry blossom trees. One of my favorite places in the springtime.
This exposed mound, Umpire Rock lies beneath 90% of New York City & is around 450 million years old. The summit offers great views of the midtown Manhattan skyline & the famed Essex House sign.
Named for the cherry trees that bloom in the spring, Cherry Hill is a gentle slope overlooking the Lake.
Feeling like you want to be in the Adirondacks? Well that’s possible in the North Woods. I think this area of the park is the most secluded and peaceful and is a wildlife oasis.
Hearnshead is a rocky promontory that juts out into the lake, a great location for a bit of nature with the Central Park South skyline to the south. Be ready to climb a bit and to wait for the best spot. Worth it.
One of my personal favorite places in the park, the Dene Slope is full of diverse blooms and a rustic path.