Rebecca Renner is a Philadelphia Wedding and Portrait photographer for authentic, wildly in love couples. Serving Philadelphia, Washington DC, and beyond.

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September 7, 2022

Best NJ Engagement Photo Locations

New Jersey may seem like a small state, but it’s more expansive than you think! From mountains to beaches, farmland and gorgeous architecture, there’s no limit to where you can go for your engagement session. As a New Jersey wedding and engagement photographer, I see dozens of engagement photo locations every year! Some are favorites, and others are totally new to me! After over 5 years of working in the Garden State, I compiled this list of the BEST NJ engagement photo locations!

With so many places to choose from, I knew a guide like this would be PERFECT for my couples! Each location listed will have a little blurb about the location, down to whether or not it requires a permit! And the best part? I’ll be updating this blog post with new locations as I discover more wonder in New Jersey!

Allaire State Park

Farmingdale, NJ

Allaire State Park is a fan favorite! This location is super versatile, but would be best for couples looking for a rustic vibe. The village is well preserved and makes for a beautiful backdrop in any season. At the moment, there is no permit required for Allaire.

Asbury Park & Boardwalk

I could photograph at Asbury Park every day and still find something new each time! This town is big on art and music, and the eclectic-ness translates beautifully for engagement photos. You can get fun, funky shots in front of gorgeous murals, shots on the beach in the water, and then grab a drink or ice cream to finish the session! It’s best to photograph here in the off season (aka local summer) because it tends to get PACKED in the summer months.

Barnegat Lighthouse

One of the best spots on the island! This location gives you a perfect, summery backdrop. The lighthouse looks beautiful in photographs and is perfect for couples who love the beach.

Batsto Village

Hammonton, NJ

Nestled into the Pine Barrens is the gorgeous Batsto Village. Similar to Allaire, this well preserved village is quaint, rustic, and so beautiful. There’s plenty of variety for engagement photos here! Lots of forested spots, cool textures on buildings, and even the lake make for stunning photographs! There is an annual permit for photography sessions, so once secured, you’re good to go!

Cape May

Cape May is one of the most adorable shore towns in NJ! The houses are literally STUNNING and add sooo much character! You can get photos throughout the town, and then hop over to the beach to get fun shots by the water! Make it a date night by visiting one of the restaurants after your session!

Cattus Island

Toms River, NJ

One of the best county parks in the state! This quaint park on the bay gives you some Pine Barrens magic, AND a sunset on the water! There’s also boardwalk trails to take you through the wetlands which are gorgeous any time of year. The walk to the water is a little over a mile, and just be aware of that with the park hours. They’re open dawn to dusk, which changes throughout the year based on daylight savings time.

Cross Estate Gardens

Bernardsville, NJ

This hidden gem is one of my FAVORITE locations! This beautiful garden is literally perfect in any season. The grounds are meticulously kept and they really pop with color in spring and summer. If you’re looking for a secret garden vibe, look no further! And even better, there’s no permit needed.

Frelinghuysen Arboretum

Morris Township, NJ

Another dreamy garden location for engagement photos! I’ve yet to photograph an engagement here, but it was worth mentioning because it is perfect for a couple looking for a garden feel. There is a photography permit required, which you can check out here.

Grounds for Sculpture

Hamilton, NJ

This is an art lovers dream! This giant sculpture garden gives alllll the funky, quirky vibes for engagement photos! You can really have fun at this location and get an incredible amount of variety. While they don’t require a permit, you do have to purchase entry tickets ahead of time on their website!


One of my absolute favorite places for engagement sessions! Hoboken is an eclectic city located right across the water from NYC. Here you can get stunning views of the NYC skyline, which is absolutely magical at sunset! The alleyways throughout the city boast eye catching architecture and fun textures for photos. Annnnd you can swing into the iconic Carlo’s Bakery for dessert!

Laurita Winery

New Egypt, NJ

Wineries are such underrated engagement session locations! Laurita Winery has some of the most beautiful grounds I’ve ever seen at a winery. At sunset, this location is *chef’s kiss*. Grab a glass of wine and make your session complete!

Liberty State Park

Another favorite that features views of the NYC skyline! I love the urban/industrial vibe you get at this location. Whether sunny or overcast, this location shines and offers incredible opportunity for engagement photos. No permit required!

Historic Smithville Mansion

Eastampton Township, NJ

Smithville Mansion & Park gives rustic estate vibes, along with plenty of greenery in the spring and summer. There’s a lot of variety here as well which is great for multiple outfits. No permit required!

Monmouth University

This college campus is drop dead gorgeous! It’s been a dream of mine to photograph a session here for years. The grounds are meticulously kept and look absolutely perfect at sunset. While it is a stunning option, the only downside is each location within the campus has a separate photography fee. My suggestion is to reserve for the Erlanger Gardens, as it’s one of the prettiest spots on campus and is $150 for the photography permit. You can read more about the permit process here.

Princeton University

Have you ever wanted to visit the real life Hogwarts? Look no further than Princeton University! This ivy league college campus is SO architecturally stunning! Every nook and cranny is boasting attention to detail. There’s no shortage of arches, greenery walls, columns, you name it. You could easily spend a few hours here and still find new spots. Plus, you can make your engagement session a date night and have dinner at one of the many incredible restaurants on Nassau Street!

Skylands Manor

This is a perfect option for any time of year! There is beautiful architecture nestled among all the gorgeous greenery. Skylands is located within the NJ State Botanical Gardens and Ringwood State Park, so it’s no wonder it’s a breathtaking location for plant lovers! There is a $150 photography fee per session, and you can find the form here.

I hope this comprehensive list was helpful! As I mentioned, this will be periodically updated as I photograph at more locations across the Garden State! If you have any questions about these locations or would like to schedule a session, reach out through my contact form!


Rebecca Renner Photography is a New Jersey and destination wedding photographer for quirky, best friends in love who love their pets, a good drink, and all things artsy. She captures joyful moments with unposed prompts with a moody, true-to-life flair. Rebecca Renner Photography also offers destination and elopement photography for those ready to ditch traditional wedding plans. Sound like a plan? Let’s do this! Get in touch here! Want to see more engagement + anniversary sessions by Rebecca? Check out the galleries + past blog posts!


If you LOVED these NJ engagement photo locations, be sure to follow along on all my wedding adventures on Instagram!

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- Rebecca + Clayton

Rebecca somehow made us both relaxed and produced absolute magic! She instructed us while still making the photos look candid, reliably captured our "good sides," and brought her unique eye for lighting and settings (pro tip: do whatever she says even if it seems funny or in a different location; it will look utterly amazing). Photos can be an investment and I'm glad we did the research and found the perfect photographer for us.

"The best (esp if you're awkward in photos)"

- Lauren + Hunter

I can't even put into words how amazing Rebecca is. We knew from the moment our engagement photos began that we made the right choice. She is so professional, charismatic, and excited to be a part of your big day.  I would recommend her over and over again!


- Bianca + Kyle

Rebecca was such a joy to work with, our experience with her was absolute perfection from beginning to end! Even from our first conversation, I could tell that she genuinely cares about getting to know her clients and what they prioritize and want to capture on the big day. She was always so responsive and available by phone or email, communication was a total breeze. Rebecca is not only incredibly talented, but a wonderful human being, and we loved working with her. I wholeheartedly recommend her to all future brides!

"Rebecca was a dream!"

- Casey + Kofi

It was truly a pleasure working with Rebecca. She is so sweet and easy to work with, we felt so relaxed and comfortable throughout the entire process. Communication is timely, prices are reasonable. She listened to us and did such a perfect job capturing every moment on our special day. And most importantly - the pictures turned out ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!!! I can't recommend her enough.

"Love love love Rebecca!"

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