Engagement Photos in NYC, location list by Borough
Why do couples come to NYC for their engagement photos?
NYC engagement photos are iconic throughout the world. Every year, engaged couples come from all over the globe to have these special photos taken to commemorate the beautiful stage in their relationships. As an engagement photographer, I know all of the best locations and ideas to capture these fleeting life moments. With so many nooks, it’s no wonder why people come here for romantic engagement photos. The city is always hustling and bustling and depending on the season is always transforming how it looks. Whether the photos are for just because, your engagement, wedding photos, a proposal or an elopement, there are tons of backdrops to choose from. As your expert engagement photographer, just ask me where the best locations for your engagement photos are for the vibe you’re looking for and I will tailor an experience for you to remember.
NYC photo locations
Choosing a location for your engagement photos will set the mood and tone for how your photos will look. A location that is meaningful to you as a couple will go a long way in terms of photographing your spirit as a couple. I suggest choosing locations that perhaps mark milestones in your relationship – a first date, a special memory, where you first exchanged that L word etc.. I have compiled the below list, by borough, to guide you into some ideas for perfect places. Keep in mind that most of these locations are public, so schedule your session accordingly. If you don’t mind the buzz of people – representing the true New York, then by all means let’s go out in the afternoons and capture the heartbeat of the city. If you want something a bit quieter, the mornings in the city are some of my favorites. There could also be fees associated with some of the locations, but let me know in advance and I can help sort out any permits we may need.
Many of my couples use these engagement photos for save the dates, wedding photo guest books, wedding websites and also getting to know me, as their wedding photographer, better. It’s a perfect time to figure out if you prefer a side or which types of imagery you prefer, so that your wedding day will be spectacular.
The adage is true, there is actually something in New York City for everyone. Do you prefer something lush or a park vibe? New York City has more than 1,700 parks, playgrounds, and recreation facilities throughout the five boroughs. Want something a little more urban? Across the boroughs, neighborhoods are aplenty. We can go above ground and below ground – the choices are yours! Hopefully this comprehensive list of engagement photo ideas will give you some insight on where and when you should have your photos taken. The table of contents at the beginning of this post will most likely be super helpful in navigating this list!
What’s the best NYC Engagement Photo location for you?
NYC is made up of five boroughs, all 5 coming into existence with the creation of modern NYC in 1898. Manhattan is often referred to as the center, however the geographic center of the city is along the Brooklyn-Queens border!
Read on for my list of best locations for engagement photos in NYC.
Manhattan is geographically the smallest, but most densely populated borough of NYC. When people say, “I’m going to New York”, most are really saying Manhattan. With it’s iconic skyscrapers, always open, hustle & bustle mentality, this city delights and dazzles. As an engagement photographer, most of my sessions happen here or the city is the backdrop from one of the outer boroughs. From season to season, the city is vastly different and the time of year will give you a different feel in your imagery, especially in the parks. It’s only fitting to start with the biggest, most beautiful, Central Park.
A go-to spot for engagement photos for locals & visitors, alike. Central Park is one of my most requested photo locations in NYC. The park is massive, 843 acres in the middle of the Big Apple. We can be right in the mix or we can find a secluded corner to take photos in. Some of my favorite Central Park Locations:
Bethesda Terrace Arcade
Central Park Boathouse
The Bow Bridge
Central Park Mall
The North Woods
Central Park Lake
Central Park Reservoir
Central Park Engagement Photos
Lincoln Center and its gorgeous architecture and clean lines are perfect for the modern couple. I suggest early morning for this session, but be prepared to be quick.. the onsite security guard doesn’t usually allow for photoshoots to take place here.
Columbia University’s The Law Library
The overpass at Columbia University’s The Law Library area is great especially during the golden hour. Located at 116th and Amsterdam.
Nothing says New York City more than that classic subway shot. Head underground for some unique NYC engagement photos!
The Met is another gorgeous building – inside and out – isn’t that what should really matter? Perfect for a rainy day if needed. Head to the rooftop for an after session aperitif! Technically you are only allowed to take photos in the Met for personal use, which means engagement photos typically fly under the radar. Wedding photos require a pre-arranged permit!
The New York Public Library & Bryant Park
I love taking photos at the institution that is The New York Public Library. The light is gorgeous in the mornings and the crowds are a lot less. I love the neutral colors of the library paired with the beautiful textures and colors of Bryant Park. I suggest this spot spring through fall as winter, they put up an entire holiday village that takes up most of the space. Also one of New York City’s top wedding venues!
Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center
I prefer Top Of The Rock over the Empire State Building for a couple of reasons. First the views. If you want park views and downtown views, the Top Of The Rock is your spot. You have 360 degrees of unobstructed views of NYC including the Empire State Building, The Freedom Tower and Central Park. Timing is everything for engagement photos at the Top of the Rock. Early morning right when it opens is best if you’re looking for less people. Tickets range from $41 to $75 depending on the time, with sunset being the most expensive. You can take photos on the two decks as well as inside. Just be prepared for lots of people at sunset. The engagement photos from The Top of the Rock are your best bet for epic, timeless photos.
Rockefeller Center Ice Skating
Rockefeller Center Ice Skating is such a fun spot during the holiday season. The only rule is you have to keep it moving during the session, so this is a great spot for just a couple of holiday photos. Worth it for iconic photos.
Sailing on the Hudson River
A really great way to spend an afternoon is sailing on the Hudson River. Bring bubbly and snacks and enjoy the city as you float by. This is one of the more unique things to do for engagement photos. You have your choice of sailing north or sailing south. I highly suggest sailing south and taking in the city skyline from the waters.
Roosevelt Island is the little island between Manhattan & Queens. It can easily be accessed from the tram on 59th Street. Every spring, they hold a cherry blossom festival to rival the one in Japan and Washington D.C. Quite picturesque if you ask me!
Riverside Park & The Hudson River Waterfront Walkway
Riverside Park & The Hudson River Waterfront Walkway is my little haven. I love this stretch of four miles. This park is often less busy than other parks in the city and sunset here is very romantic. There are weeping willows lining parts of the wooden walkway which are some of my favorite places to photograph lovers in love.
It honestly doesn’t get more charming than Greenwich Village. Seriously. The brownstones, the quirky streets, the hidden gardens, one of my favorite jungalow stoops, it has everything. It’s also very neighborhood-y which means a lot less people.
Washington Square Park
The epicenter of cool is Washington Square Park. I go here when I want to see what the younger generations are up to – what they’re up to and how they dress. Mostly NYU students here, but I love playing with the classic architecture the park features.
The Washington Mews is a private, gated street between Fifth Ave. & University Place. I’ve had great luck here with the gate never being closed and everyone being friendly and welcoming. You’ll instantly be transported to somewhere in Europe. When accessible the street and fun doors make a great location for romantic NYC engagement photos.
Tudor City Overpass and Parks
Ever heard of ManhattanHenge? Well four times a year the sun sets exactly in the middle of 42nd street and piles of photographers climb over each other for the perfect shot, if the weather plays nice. Flanked on either side of 42nd street, is the Tudor neighborhood with two well-kept, charming parks full of lush greens and blooming magnolias. One of my favorite local hideaways in the whole city is Tudor City.
Staple Street Bridge
The Staple Street Bridge runs over one of the smallest streets in Manhattan, running just two blocks, adorned with a bridge suspended across to connect two buildings that are actually part of one work/residential loft, comprising of 7,500 square feet. That’s right, to own the bridge, you’d have to purchase both lofts on either side of the skybridge. Get there by taking the 1 train to Franklin Street.
Tribeca is another favorite for its charming streets, most notably Staple Street. There are plenty of coffee shops and cafes to sit and have a coffee or pastry or ice cream with your lover.
Looking for romantic NYC engagement photos in the urban jungle? SoHo is your spot. From the busy streets to little neighborhood-y streets, SoHo has a backdrop for everyone. There are so many buildings, cafes, and hotels to play with. Mercer Street and its cobblestones are also a favorite scene to photograph. Balthazar is great for a mid-shoot burger, or just any time really.
With 120 acres of open space, Governors Island is a natural haven for New Yorkers. Rising 70 feet above sea-level, the Hills give visitors breathtaking never-before-seen views of the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor. Discovery Hill, rising 40 feet, features ornamental trees and shrubs, as well as Cabin, a permanent site-specific installation by acclaimed British artist Rachel Whiteread. Outlook Hill, rising 70 feet, offers both a winding, accessible path to a plaza at its summit, and a granite ‘scramble’ for those who seek a quicker ascent. It’s only 800 yards from Lower Manhattan, and even closer to Brooklyn.
Grand Central & The Viaduct
If there ever was a hub for hustle and bustle, Grand Central during
rush hour all the time, is it. I love to play with the crowds of people moving about here so expect a more artistic type of shot. I love the north west corner of the outside of Grand Central. The corner has a beautfiul rounded awning, bulb lights and eagles on full display. I also love the Park Avenue Viaduct entrance on 40th Street.
Williamsburg Bridge & The East Side Pathway
A gorgeous pathway that spans 34th street connecting to the west side near Wall Street. I love to play with the lines under the Williamsburg Bridge just south of Houston. There are many parks and benches and florals on this local favorite. On the weekends you’ll catch people running and enjoying the nice weather here. I suggest morning engagement photos for this location.
Carl Schurz Park
Carl Schurz Park is probably one of the best kept secrets of Manhattan – it’s a beautiful public green space and garden along the East River. Home to the Gracie Mansion – the park runs between 84th and 90th & East End Ave. Home to many famous names like the LaGuardias as its first residents.
Fully restored after Hurricane Sandy, Battery Park is becoming more and more popular for engagement sessions. It has great views of Lady Liberty as well as the park is wonderfully maintained. It is in close proximity to the Oculus which I love for the exterior architecture.
Flat Iron & Madison Square Park
I mean in terms of buildings in Manhattan, it doesn’t get any more iconic than the Flatiron Building. Head to Madison Square Park for great views and maybe grab a burger and concrete at Shake Shack or to Eataly for some fun market style photos.
Meatpacking & The Highline
The southern most point of the Highline, Meatpacking is home to charming cobble stone streets and fun buildings. Head up to the Highline for a park feel. There are some great nooks, but be prepared for loads of people when the weather is nice. This park is becoming increasingly more popular.
Chinatown is a vibrant part of NYC rich with history and colors along its narrow alleys and charming streets. Usually bustling all of the time, but embracing it is part of the charm. Head to Nom Wah Tea Parlor post session for some great eats.
It wouldn’t be an in depth review if I didn’t mention Times Square as an iconic location. It’s probably the most iconic spot of all of New York City with a personality that precedes it. Embrace the crowds and the lights – great during the sunset to evening for a more vibrant type of look.
The Whitney Museum
The Whitney Museum, aside from the beautiful art, has a gorgeous vantage point facing to the north-east – perfect for the couple that loves art and the city. Look around at the art and then head out to the deck for those views!
East Village & Lower East Side
Head to the East Village & Lower East Side for something a little more urban and edgy with a mix of charming secret gardens.
South Street Sea Port
The South Street Sea Port has great views of Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Bridge. You have charming cobblestone streets and buildings, the water, and downtown in close proximity.
Brooklyn, NYC’s most populous borough, known for its cultural, social and ethnic diversity, an independent art scene, and a distinctive architectural heritage. I love sessions in Brooklyn for their sunset views!
The absolute best time for engagement photos on the Brooklyn Bridge is at sunrise. First, it’s practically empty, aside from commuters on bicycles, the throes of humans are usually still sleeping (funny for a city that never sleeps). Second, the way the light hits off the stones is a glow-y honey color, which just warms up any image. I typically start with couples on the Manhattan side, just up from the 6 express subway stop at the Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall Station. After taking engagement pictures on the Brooklyn Bridge, I suggest walking into Brooklyn for photos at Brooklyn Bridge Park, DUMBO, and Jane’s Carousel.
Brooklyn Bridge Park
The waterfront park that spans the East River is called Brooklyn Bridge Park. Gorgeous views of the city skyline. A bit busier during sunset as it is the prime location for viewing. I do suggest sunrise for here as well as it is less crowded.
DUMBO, an acronym for Down under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, is a bit quieter than Brooklyn Bridge Park and Jane’s Carousel, but with great views of the Brooklyn Bridge!
Built in 1922, Jane’s Carousel is located in Brooklyn Bridge Park and is open year round.
Main Street Park
Known locally as Pebble Beach in Brooklyn, between the Manhattan Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge is a little beach made of pebbles. It’s a gorgeous spot during sunset and a bit out of the way.
Bushwick Inlet Park
More great views of Midtown Manhattan with a park vibe. Bushwick Inlet Park is great for sunsets.
Domino Park has great views of Midtown Manhattan and great for sunset, this newly opened park has some fun little nooks and gardens.
Brooklyn Heights Promenade
Along with amazing views of downtown Manhattan, The East River and Brooklyn Bridge, The Brooklyn Heights Promenade is the perfect spot to watch the sunset with your honey.
The Brooklyn Heights neighborhood is the first suburb just one stop from Manhattan at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge. Lined with gorgeous brownstones and charming neighborhoods, famous resident Truman Capote wrote his 1959 essay Brooklyn Heights: A Personal Memoir” about his decade living there. He famously quotes that he lives in Brooklyn “by choice.”
Grand Army Plaza | Prospect Park
Grand Army Plaza is “In the heart of Brooklyn” designed by the same designers of central park.
Prospect Park Boathouse
The Prospect Park Boathouse features gorgeous architecture and a pond amidst gardens.
This beaux-arts building was once planned to be the largest museum in the world. The exterior and interior of the Brooklyn Museum are equally stunning. Contact the museum about your engagement session fees.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
There is a small entrance fee, but once you’re in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, gardens abound. If you’re battling inclement weather, head into the greenhouse – the light is stunning in there! They also are open for weddings and there is nothing better than a garden wedding and greenhouse reception! A favorite spot – the desert pavillion. I’m from Southern California so I’m all ears when someone says desert.
Something completely different than everything else on this list. Coney Island is bright & colorful and a great place for fun engagement photos. You have your pick of backdrops and rides or games!
This once desolate land is now home to a vibrant art scene. Head to Bushwick for great murals and street art.
Staten Island is the most suburban in feel. There is a free commuter ferry that provides unobstructed views of The Statue of Liberty. Staten Island is home to 28 miles of walking trails & one of the last undisturbed forests in the city. Not often visited, but worth it for a little adventure!
One of the oldest military installations in the nation, now home to a 226 acre park. You can ride bikes, sit and watch the harbor, or take a stroll through the fort.
Staten Island Greenbelt
2800 acres of natural beauty. You can have your pick of mature forests, wetlands, meadows, & over 35 miles of marked hiking trails. This is New York City’s largest remaining forest preserve.
High Rock Park
Often said to be one of the most tranquil places in New York City, High Rock Park has 5 ponds and various wetlands, and deep woods.
Staten Island Ferry
Start your engagement session in Battery Park and then head to the ferry terminal. The Staten Island Ferry is actually free and one of my favorite things to do on a sunny day. Head to the back deck for skyline views and have uninhibited views of the Statue of Liberty as you float by.
The Bronx, home to the New Yorkers beloved Yankees and the Bronx Zoo – the world’s largest metropolitan zoo with over 6,000 animals – botanic garden and the most parks among the boroughs.
Fort Tryon Park
Another hidden gem of NYC, Fort Tryon park is expertly manicured for the seasons. It’s super quiet and a perfect place to spend an afternoon. Take the 1 or A line to Fort Tryon Subway stop.
At 250 acres, the Botanic Gardens are the largest in the United States making it a National Historic Landmark. Home to 50 specialty gardens & collections with more than one million plants. A permit is needed to shoot here, but it is worth it!
Nothing says, “we love New York” like a Yankees game. There are so many corners of the stadium, inside and out, and enjoying a game is a fun way to show your love in engagement photos.
Geographically, Queens is the largest borough, the most ethnically diverse county in the United States, and the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world. LOVE THIS.
Sitting on the edge of the east river, between Tri-borough Bridge and Hell Gate Bridge, Astoria Park offers great views of Manhattan. There are tennis and basketball courts and multiple trails.
Gantry Plaza State Park
12 acres with awesome views of the midtown Manhattan skyline. Gantry Plaza State Park has four piers and manicured gardens. Home to the famous Pepsi-Cola sign, standing 20 feet off the ground, the “P” & “C” and bottle are 50 feet high – 4 stories. Probably the most recognizable feature on the waterfront.
Love this unexpected space amidst the hustle and bustle. The Noguchi Museum is housed in a repurposed 1920s brick industrial building, includes 27,000 square feet of exhibition space, and a sculpture garden. I love the casement windows here on a sunny day.
Socrates Sculpture Park
Founded in 1986, Socrates Sculpture Park is a designated New York City public park so fun to photograph amongst the sculptures of art against the city skyline. Art imitating life or life imitating art?
A bit farther out in long island and a $500 per hour permit fee, Oheka Castle is a wonderful option for something that feels a bit European. The grounds are stunning as well as the grand staircase inside.
I am familiar with Jones Beach because of the route when you fly into JFK, you fly right over this little strip of land. The park is 6.5 miles in length and is known for its beaches – so popular that it is the most heavily visited beach on the East Coast with 6 million visitors per year!
Old Westbury Gardens
Completed in 1906, this magnificent mansion is nestled amid 200 acres of formal gardens, landscaped grounds, woodlands, ponds and lakes. Old Westbury Gardens is a gorgeous option if Oheka is not available for photos.
Hopefully this list of the top spots in NYC gives you some ideas for the best locations for your fun or romantic NYC engagement photos. There are so many options for timeless images for your engagement photos in New York City. Just narrow down a couple of locations that are important to you as a couple and you can’t really go wrong with how they will look. I have plenty more locations, so just let me know what vibe you are looking for and I can plan an experience for you!
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I’d love to hear about your plans for a fun or romantic nyc engagement session!
Leila Brewster Photography
101 W. 67th St., NYC, NY 10017