After your hubby-to-be has popped the question and before you begin planning the wedding of your dreams, there is a crucial step every couple must complete: The engagement photography session. Couples dwelling in the New York City metropolitan area are in luck, as the Big Apple possesses some of the world's most picturesque landmarks — from towering skyscrapers to lush, bloom-filled botanic gardens. Photographers Jainé M. Kershner, of Brklyn View Photography, Jennifer Macfarlane of Stylish & Hip Weddings Photography, Sarma Ozols of Sarma & Co. Photography, and Kimberly Coccagnia of Kimberly Coccagnia Photography share their expert picks for the best engagement photo locations around the city.
Brides longing for a romantic setting replete with bold blooms need look no further than the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. "Although you need a permit to shoot in this breathtaking location, it's worth it," Kershner reveals. "From the cherry blossoms, blue bonnets, and a spectacular rose garden, you couldn't ask for a more idyllic location for your engagement session."
Cozy, old-world establishments abound in New York City's West Village, a favorite shooting location of Kershner's. "[The West Village] is filled with historic brownstones, quaint cafes, tree lined streets, and lots of charm," says Kershner. "Walking in the West Village you can discover a lot of hidden gems that will help create unique and beautiful engagement photos."
Brides may balk at the notion of setting their photography session in Central Park due to its popularity amongst newly engaged duos, yet Kershner encourages couples not to discount the location. "It might be one of the most photographed places in NYC but there's a reason why — it's gorgeous. Each season brings out different flowers and can completely change a location. My favorite time to visit is spring when the cherry blossoms and magnolia's are in peak season," Kershner insists.
Couples searching for an unusual and aesthetically engaging locale will fall for Bushwick and Dumbo's famed street art murals. "The incredible street art murals of Bushwick and DUMBO in Brooklyn work so well for engagement shoots because they allow the inherent creativity of each bride and groom to come out and interact with the amazing street art," Macfarlane says. "When one is surrounded by sky-high paintings, tags, and collaborative street art, one can let loose and relax, knowing that the beautiful art and whimsical energy of the walls compliment the soaring energy of a couple on their lucky day. No matter what, the art makes for amazing pictures!"
Your union is on the fast track to a lifetime of happiness, so why not symbolize your love with a locomotive location? "I love the subway, believe it or not," Ozols shares. "I look for very New York-y kinds of things to incorporate in the images, whether it's a mural, public art, or steam from a construction site."
Those searching for a playful and lighthearted location can take a quick train ride to Coney Island for the ultimate engagement photo. "I had one couple that loved Coney Island and spent much time there," Coccagnia recalls. "They were a fun, quirky couple, so we went to Coney Island. They ate cotton candy, rode the rides, ran in the sand, and literally dove right in to their background as opposed to posing in front of an object."