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Engagement Photography: 5 Iconic NYC Backdrops

Updated: Jan 29

In the past, engagement pictures tended to be rather staid photographs of the marital couple that appeared in local newspapers to announce the impending nuptials. These days, engagement photography is anything but dull. It provides an opportunity to get created and truly express your personality as a couple. As an engagement photographer in New York, I can find the perfect iconic backdrop for your engagement photo sessions.  


Why Engagement Photography?

While some people still put an engagement announcement in the newspaper, many people use their engagement pictures for their “save the dates.” This can be a fun way to get people excited about your wedding as well as a helpful way to allow potential guests to start thinking about time off from work, travel plans, wedding outfits, etc.


Even more important, becoming engaged is a huge event in every couple’s lives and engagement photography can be a fantastic way to celebrate your love story. Engagement photography offers several unique and cool aspects that set it apart from wedding photography. While both capture important moments in a couple's journey, engagement photos have their distinct charm and benefits, such as:


A Relaxed & Intimate Setting

Engagement shoots are typically more relaxed and intimate than wedding photography. There's less pressure and more time to experiment with different poses and settings, allowing the couple's personality and love story to shine through casually and authentically. 


Engagement shoots often have a more playful and spontaneous nature. Photographers can capture moments of genuine laughter, affectionate whispers, and casual strolls, which might be harder to capture on a busy wedding day. Further down, I will share some of my favorite spots as a New York wedding photographer and engagement photographer.


Flexibility in Location & Timing

Unlike wedding photos that are confined to the wedding venue and date, engagement photos can be taken anywhere, from a place that holds special meaning to the couple, like where they first met, to visually stunning locations. This flexibility allows for more creativity in the backdrop and theme.


Personal Style & Wardrobe Choices

Engagement sessions allow couples to express their personal style through wardrobe choices without the constraints of traditional wedding attire. They can opt for outfits that reflect their everyday style or choose something more thematic or adventurous.

Opportunity for Experimentation

Without the time constraints of a wedding day, engagement shoots allow for more experimentation with photography styles, from candid and playful to romantic and moody. It's a chance for us photographers to get creative and try out different techniques.


Building a Relationship with the Photographer

Engagement photoshoots can serve as a trial run with your wedding photographer. It helps build rapport and comfort, which is beneficial for the wedding day. Couples get a sense of the photographer’s style and approach, while the photographer learns about the couple’s best angles and preferences, as well as learning a bit more about their personalities.


Capturing the ‘Pre-Wedding’ Emotions

Engagement photos capture the excitement and anticipation of the pre-wedding phase, a unique and special time in the couple’s relationship. These photos often reflect the raw, genuine emotions of love and commitment. An engagement session can be an extremely special moment to simply bask in the joy of your engagement before the bustle of wedding planning begins.


Versatility in Use:

Engagement photos are versatile and can be used for save-the-date cards, wedding invitations, or as part of the wedding website or décor. They also make great keepsakes that couples can look back on to remember the time before they were married.


Seasonal & Thematic Variety

Couples can choose to have their engagement photos taken in a different season than their wedding, providing a variety of backdrops and themes, from a cozy winter session to a colorful autumn shoot. 


In essence, engagement photography offers a more personalized, relaxed, and creative experience compared to the more structured and formal nature of wedding photography. It’s a chance to capture the essence of the couple’s relationship in a way that is uniquely theirs.


My Top Picks For Engagement Photography

I serve clients throughout the New York City metro area, including Brooklyn, Long Island and New Jersey, so I’m happy to provide you with engagement photography at any location that is special to you as a couple. However, as an experienced engagement photographer in NYC, I do have a few spots to recommend, including:


Central Park

Central Park truly has hundreds of amazing spots that can be perfect for NYC engagement photos, but one of my favorites is the Conservatory Garden. This is truly a hidden gem within Central Park, and it offers so many wonderful spots for your engagement photos.


Bethesda Terrace is another popular spot for engagement photos as well as proposals. (Keep in mind, I also serve as a proposal photographer, if you’ve been hoping to capture this special moment, as well). With its enormous fountain and unique architecture, Bethesda Terrace offers lots of photo possibilities.


The Bow Bridge is another awesome option and one of the most iconic spots in Central Park offering lovely lake views and skyline views of the city. The famed Literary Walk, a tree-lined path that truly transports you out of the bustle of the city into a wooded wonderland, is yet another wonderful spot for photos.


Gantry Park

The New York City metro area has no shortage of wonderful parks, but Gantry Plaza State Park in Queens can be the ultimate spot for engagement photos and proposal photography. It’s surprisingly quiet with little foot traffic for one, but, most importantly, this park offers one of the best skyline views of New York City. Gantry Park also is home to the gigantic neon Pepsi-Cola sign, and I have had several couples opt for a nighttime pic by this iconic logo. 

Pier 25

Pier 25 in Hudson River Park is another spot that can be perfect for engagement photos. On any given day, there might be sailboats gliding along the Hudson and this, along, with views of the Statue of Liberty and the city’s amazing architecture. This is a popular spot for proposals if you are looking for some inspiration.


Pier A Park

If you love the New York City skyline, one of the best views of the city is across the river in Hoboken, NJ, at Pier A Park. If you’d love a sweeping view of the city and the river, this is one of the best views of NYC that you can get, and I love shooting engagements and proposals at Pier A Park.


The Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn offers plenty of romantic spots for your engagement photos, but the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most popular options. True, it can be a bit crowded, but if we schedule an early morning shoot, this can be a perfect time to capture your pictures and enjoy stunning city views as well as the bridge’s iconic architecture.


Of course, these are just a few suggestions, and we can go wherever you feel comfortable. It can even be a quirky, fun location that has a special meaning for the two of you, such as the spot where you had your first date or perhaps your proposal spot. Even many of the streets throughout New York feature amazing architecture that can serve as the backdrop for your photos.


With an engagement shoot, the sky is pretty much the limit, so let me know what places speak to you as a couple. New York City also has plenty of options for indoor engagement photography, as well. For instance, Rockefeller Center or Grand Central can be amazing spots for your pictures or your proposal!


Need An Engagement Photographer In NYC?

At ETG Photos, we can provide you with the engagement photography of your dreams, and if you opt to use us as your NYC wedding photographers, an engagement photo session can be included with certain wedding photo packages. In addition to NYC weddings, if you need a Brooklyn wedding photographer, New Jersey wedding photographers or a Long Island wedding photographer, we serve the entire NYC area and can provide you with outstanding wedding photography that you will cherish for a lifetime.

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