Engagement shoot season is in full gear, and the question always arises, ‘where should I have my engagement shoot?’ The answer should always be a place personal to you as a couple – perhaps a spot in the city that is important to you both, like the location of your first date. If you are having trouble coming up with location ideas, then today’s blog post is for you. I present to you my definitive list of NYC engagement shoot ideas.
My List of NYC Engagement Shoot Ideas
- Wedding ceremony site (this is a great way to have a dry run for your wedding day photos)
- Reception site (same concept, and a nice day contrast to the final wedding reception photos if your reception will be held at night)
- Where you proposed
- Where you had your first date
- Where you first met
- Your home or apartment
Perhaps there is a local landmark or venue that is significant to you both or because it represents both of your interests:
- Scenic neighborhoods (Harlem, West Village, East Village, Lower East Side, Times Square, Jackson Heights, Astoria, Chinatown, Wall Street, Carroll Gardens, Red Hook)
- Local park (Brooklyn Bridge Park, Carl Schurz Park on the Upper East Side, Battery Park and Riverside with waterfront views, or the classic Central Park; keep in mind that some public parks require permits [Gantry State Park, the Conservatory in Central Park])
- Botanical gardens (Brooklyn, New York, or Queens Botanical Gardens)
- Beach (Coney Island, Fire Island, Long Beach)
- Swanky hotel (‘Mad Men’ retro lobby, or perhaps a rooftop bar with a great view of the city)
- Industrial area (Greenpoint in Brooklyn or even a local junkyard)
- Local store (vinyl record store, wine store, gourmet shop for foodies, retro hardware store)
- Local landmarks (Grand Central Terminal, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Rockefeller Center, Flatiron Building, Brooklyn Bridge, the High Line)
- For a specifically ‘New York’ feel to your shoot, here is a link to a list of landmarks in the city
- Special transportation (trollies, trains, subway, Staten Island Ferry)
- Classic restaurant (a diner or perhaps something more upscale with a lounge area)
- Retro movie theater (for film buffs who met over popcorn)
- School campus (your alma mater)
- Museum grounds
- Vineyard upstate
- Gardens surrounding upstate museums like Lyndhurst Castle or the Vanderbilt Museum
Activity shoots are a great way to bring a more ‘documentary’ feel to your photos:
- Engage in an activity (play a sport together you both love, go bowling, have a picnic, take a bike ride)
- Take a road trip (photos along the way, extra points is you are driving a car special to you both or with a retro feel)
- Take part in an event (carnival, county fair, street fair)
When you’re thinking of where you want to have your engagement portrait shot, it’s important to also think about a backup location. April is a popular time for engagement shoots, and it’s also one of the most unpredictable, weather-wise. Grand Central Terminal and hotels are great indoor options, and neither requires permits.
I always present this list of NYC engagement shoot ideas to new clients. One other resource I send to clients is a list of engagement shoot tips, featuring everything from what to wear to how to pose/not pose. If you would like to receive the list, just drop me a line and I will send it out to you pronto.
Accompanying this post are photos of the lovely Seema and Sumit, whose engagement portrait shoot was quite the adventure. We started in Central Park, a place near and dear to both of these New Yorkers, then went back to their apartment for a quick outfit change. Our next stop was Grand Central Terminal. It was a full tour of NYC landmarks!
If you would like to see more images from my engagement portrait portfolio, then please visit my website — KellyWilliamsPhotographer.com.