I don’t know about you, but I am sick of the cold weather we’ve been having here in New York. Logically, I know it’s February and I should get over myself, but I am ready for spring to be here. In celebration of the warmth that is soon to come (eventually), I am sharing with you Sarah and David’s Shakespeare Garden engagement photos. The photos in Central Park are lovely, and they have me dreaming of balmy days down the road. Enjoy the images as well as a few photo tips for your own tour through Central Park.
Most couples start their Central Park engagement shoot at either the Bethesda Fountain or Bow Bridge. Personally, I find these areas of the park to be too crowded. The time to take your best photos in these heavily trafficked spots is early morning on a weekday (see my suggestions in this Central Park blog post). If you can’t fit a photo shoot at that time of day into your schedule, then I suggest an alternate trip through Central Park starting in the Shakespeare Garden.
Sarah and David are very much like me – they are not fond of having their photos taken while on display in the middle of a huge crowd. Thus, the idea of starting their Central Park session at the Bethesda Fountain was not even considered. Rather, Sarah and David wanted to start in Shakespeare Garden, not just because it was a smart location move, but also because the garden is important to them as a couple. This is where David proposed to Sarah, beside the sundial in the middle of the garden. So, of course, we had to recreate the moment he bent down on one knee to ask Sarah to marry him. It was a touching scene for them both, but also a hilarious reminder of their friend who was hiding in the bushes with a camera to capture Sarah’s response.
Central Park Engagement Photo Tips
My recommendation for your own Shakespeare Garden engagement photos is that you make full use of the garden. It is rarely crowded, and the edge of the park near Belvedere Castle has a great view over the Delacorte Theater area. The garden will be different every month, depending upon what is in bloom. I should note that at the time of the Sarah and David’s shoot, Belvedere Castle was closed for renovations. The castle is now open for visitation and I suggest including the castle if you are already going to be in this end of the park. Finally, note that the Delacorte Theater has good restrooms if you need a place to change outfits.
Next stop for Sarah and David‘s portrait was a quick tour through the Ramble. Most people avoid the Ramble altogether because of its confusing layout, but that’s a shame. The Ramble offers a variety of natural backdrops and is actually a shortcut to Bow Bridge if you know which path to take. Since I end up photographing at least five to ten weddings or portraits in Central Park a year, I know this pathway well. I led Sarah and David along the Oak Bridge and the waterfall. We also couldn’t forget to stop by the Ramble Stone Arch, one of the area’s most photogenic highlights.
The pathway through the Ramble leads to one of my favorite spots in Central Park – the lake viewing area. I have nicknamed this area ‘Bow Bridge Beach,’ and it is a fantastic venue for small weddings. The spot is tucked away from the maddening crowds and has a gorgeous view of the NYC skyline across Central Park Lake.
While Sarah and David ended their engagement shoot with the usual suspects – Bow Bridge and the Mall – the photos we took there were far from trite. As expected, these areas were crowded; nevertheless we avoided the hordes of tourists by sticking to the side of Bow Bridge and jumping fences when necessary in the Mall.
My final tip for anyone planning a similar Central Park engagement session is to pull the local flora and fauna into your photos. You are not technically allowed to pick the flowers, but every now and then a dropped leaf makes for a great background for engagement rings.
Enjoy the rest of the photos! I’ll have more images from Sarah and David wedding at the Housing Works Bookstore down the road.
If you would like to see more images from my engagement photojournalism portfolio, then please visit my website – www.KellyWilliamsPhotographer.com