Engagement session at Longwood Gardens

How to Choose a Location for Engagement Photos

Tips for Brides

Now that the stay-at-home order has been lifted, parks have opened, and salons are opening, more and more couples are scheduling their engagement sessions and I have to say that it’s getting me SO excited for this season to finally start up again. I just love engagement sessions – they give me an opportunity to meet with my couples before the wedding, gets them comfortable in front of the camera, and gets us all excited about their wedding!

One of the most popular questions I get regarding engagement sessions is with regards to a location. I always recommend starting to choose a location by checking out my list of favorite engagement session locations, but choosing a place from my list is only one way to decide on an engagement session location. Today I thought I’d share a few other ways you can choose a location for your long-awaited engagement photos.

Think about where you first met.

If you’re sentimental like me then you’ll want to have photos done in a place that means something to both of you. If you choose the location where you first met, then your engagement photos will always remind you of that sweet day when you met your husband. Lauren and Josh met in Hoboken, and live there now, too, so it was easy to choose the Hoboken waterfront for their session.

Engagement photo in Hoboken, NJ

Anita and Anthony met and fell in love in New York City and chose the Top of the Rock for lots of views of their favorite city!

Top of the Rock Engagement Photo

Consider your hometown.

If you live in a picturesque area then your hometown might be the perfect location for your shoot!

Alicja and Jeff are from NJ but they’re currently living in California while Alicja is a grad student at Stanford University. For their engagement, they flew me out to California and we shot their engagement session around campus and on a trail where they love to hike. I love that they now have beautiful images like this one to remember their time in Cali by:

Engagement session at Stanford University

Lauren and PJ live in Long Branch so they headed across the street from their building and did their shoot right on the beach they pass by every day.

Engagement at Pier Village

Lauren and Frank live right in Red Bank so we opted for Riverside Gardens Park with beautiful views of the water and boats.

Red Bank NJ Engagement

Go back to where he proposed.

Nicole and Michael were engaged at the park right across from their apartment building so for their engagement session, we took some photos on their rooftop overlooking the park and at the park itself. Imagine having lovely photos of the two of you at the place where he got on one knee!

Engagement session in Hoboken

Choose a place that you visit often.

Allison and Brian spend their summers on LBI, so it was only fitting to have their photos done there.

Engagement session in Barnegat

Nicole and Daniel love to hike at Natirar Park and invited me to go on a hike with them! I’m always up for some fresh air and a new location, so off we went and now I see why they love this location so much!

Groom lifting bride at Natirar Park

Find a place that suits your interests and personalities.

Do you love the outdoors? Do you prefer a big city? Think about how you like to spend your time together and choose a place based on that. Kayla and Karl wanted someplace fun for their shoot so they chose Asbury Park for its colorful buildings and murals. It was a perfect fit!

Couple laughing during engagement session in Asbury Park

Consider the time of day.

Remember that in photography, light is everything. So if you plan to have a sunset engagement session, be sure that the light will be flattering at that time of the day! Christina and Daniel knew they wanted their photos done close to their beach house in Lavallette so we opted for a sunset shoot overlooking the bay and we had the most beautiful backlighting.

Lavallette NJ Engagement Photos

Pay attention to the season.

Some locations are prettier during a specific time of year. If you know you want spring photos, do a little research and find out which locations look best at that time of year. Kenesha and Frank chose the cherry blossoms in Branch Brook Park and the backdrop was just perfect!

engagement session with cherry blossoms

Meredith and Michael wanted beautiful fall foliage for their engagement session with views of NYC so we chose Liberty State Park where we had both gorgeous trees and gorgeous views of NYC!

Engaged couple at Liberty State ParkLiberty State Park engagement

Maggie and Justin wanted to do their session in the winter, but didn’t want to do all their photos in the frigid cold. They chose Longwood Gardens and had this gorgeous greenhouse as their backdrop!

Engagement session at Longwood Gardens

Think about the types of outfits you’d like to wear.

Make sure your outfits fit the location and vibe of the place you’ve chosen. Lydia and Ryan wanted something more formal and Princeton University was the perfect setting for Ryan’s tailored suit and Lydia’s long, flowy dress.

Princeton NJ Engagement

Make sure the location fits your needs.

This one is especially important if you’re bringing your doggy along on your shoot! You don’t want to choose a place that isn’t dog friendly! Trish and Mike chose to do the first part of their engagement shoot right on the street where they love to walk their dog Moses. He was in familiar surroundings and the photos they have with him in their neighborhood serve as a souvenir of this chapter of their lives.

Engagement session with dog in Hoboken

Head to your venue.

Jill and Justin did their session on LBI and included a stop at their wedding venue for some photos. It was such a sweet way to get excited about being back their for their wedding!

Engagement photos at The Gables on LBI


Go somewhere picturesque!

There isn’t a rule that says the location of your engagement session has to be meaningful thanks to something that happened there previously. If you love the location and the light is good there, I encourage you to go for it! The place will become meaningful to you once you’ve had your session there =) Cortney and John had never been to Cross Estate Gardens but they had fallen in love with it through online photos and it did not disappoint!

Cross Estate Gardens Engagement

Liz fell in love with Skylands Manor and had to have it as a backdrop for her engagement session with Tom:

Couple during engagement session at Skylands Manor

Ly and Rex loved the look of Sayen Gardens. It’s one of my favorite spots, too:

Engagement session at Sayen Gardens

Make it thematic.

If you have a special holiday, hobby, or season consider planning a session based on those details that are special to the two of you. Kyle proposed to Jessica at Christmas time so they chose a local Christmas Tree Farm for their session.

Engagement session on a Christmas tree farm

How to choose a location for your engagement photos | Tips for Brides by Idalia Photography

And there you have it! I hope you found these tips useful and that they help you decide on a location for your shoot. Reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns!

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How to Choose a Location for Your Engagement Photos by Idalia Photography

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If we haven't met yet, I'm Alex! I'm passionate about discovering beautiful stories, documenting genuine moments, and capturing timeless images along the way. Here I share my latest work, a peek at the heirlooms we create, and helpful resources. Thank you so much for visiting my blog!







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