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 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.
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.
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.
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 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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
BEST NJ ENGAGEMENT PHOTO LOCATIONS
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As a wedding and elopement photographer based in New Jersey, I specialize in capturing enchanting moments that tell the unique love stories of my clients. I am dedicated to providing LGBTQIA+ friendly services and take pride in embracing and celebrating the diversity of all couples.