Central Park is a landmark. A beautiful oasis in the middle of a concrete jungle. It is not, however, where you should shoot your engagement portrait.
Don’t get me wrong: Central Park is lovely. And if you have a personal connection to the park — it’s where you got engaged, you and your betrothed take long walks there every Sunday, etc. — then by all means get your photos taken there. But if not, then recognize the park for what it is: the most commonly photographed backdrop in all of New York City.
Your engagement portrait should reflect you as a couple. Your unique personalities. Your unique interests. Your unique history. If you don’t have a personal connection to Central Park, then you run the risk of making your engagement portrait generic. Switch out the couple, and it’s the same photo over and over again. I do at least five shoots a year in Central Park. I try to make every portrait session distinct and to reflect the individuality of my clients. It gets a bit difficult, however, when clients ask for the same locations — Bethesda Fountain and Bow Bridge, namely.
Here is my plea as an artist: tailor the location and theme of your shoot to reflect your exact tastes and experiences. Recreate your first date. Take a road trip. Go bowling. Dress up as your favorite Game of Thrones characters. The joy of a completely personalized shoot will make your images all the more memorable. Trust me, your photographer will thank you for it.
And just so no one thinks I don’t love Central Park, let me say this: you absolutely can shoot in the park, but just make sure that you do it in the right way. A crowded park on a Saturday afternoon is a photographer’s worst nightmare. Rather, pick a day and time — Andrea and John’s shoot shown here in the blog post was done at 8:00 a.m. on a Monday morning. This is the time — the only time — to take perfect photos in the park. As proof, I have been shooting in Central Park for five years, and Andrea and John’s shoot is the only one in which I did not have to do extensive Photoshop work on the iconic stair shot. Do yourself a favor and pick a time when the park is at its best (i.e., tourist-free). Also, there are many places in Central Park to love. Get away from where everyone else is and try out the Ramble, Harlem Meer or the Great Hill at the north end of the park. Far from the maddening crowd there are plenty of places for excellent photos.
So if you are looking for ideas to make your engagement shoot unique, drop me a line. I have an extensive list of engagement shoot suggestions that includes everything from places to themes and activities. I would be happy to send you the list!
If you would like to see more images, such as these Central Park engagement photos, please visit my website.