Let's get right into it! If you are having a hard time figuring out what you would like to do for your engagement session ask yourself these few questions here first:
What season do you want it to be during your session. Fall, Spring, Summer, Winter? Think of blooming florals, or changing leaves, maybe a light blanket of snow in the Christmas tree farms?!
Is there a location that is near and dear to you and your SO's heart? First date spot, the perfect hike you've been on, etc.
What would you want your surroundings, or backdrop to look like? Maybe a city scape, field or farm, more on the adventure woodsy side, or maybe even on a beach?!
Here are 10 location ideas in the Hudson Valley for you to start to get idea's for a location to choose for your engagement session:
1 & 2. Minnewaska State Park - Kerhonkson & Awosting Falls
If you haven't been to Minnewaska State Park yet you'll definitely want to check this place out! Only a $10 fee to get into the park with so much variety to work with. Stay at the lower parking lot and explore the beautiful Awosting Falls or go up to the top of the mountain for the beautiful views of the cliffs and lake. My favorite time to go is during the fall when the leaves are changing colors, it makes for the most epic of Hudson Valley backdrops for your engagement photos.
It is easily as breathtaking in the winter as well! The upper part at the lake closes to day guests for cross country skiing, but Awosting is phenomenal when frozen with blankets of snow! I would suggest bringing a comfy pair of shoes to walk to each destination. The walk down to the falls is about a 10-15 minute walk.
3. Cold Spring
Cold Spring is such a sweet and small town located 50 miles north of Manhattan. Right on the beautiful Hudson River where you'll see the views down the river and the mountains of the Hudson Valley.
If you are looking for some downtown vibes, Beacon is a great backdrop for any engagement session. Walking through the streets of beacon you'll find many shops and boutiques, galleries, and the cutest places to dine. Start from Bank Square and walk up main street or start by The Round House for some waterfall landscapes.
5. Millbrook Winery
First thing's first - wine. If you are shy and need a drink first, you go girl. I don't mind! Grab a bottle to share before your session and get the blood flowing. Walk through the vineyards or around the lake. The winery grounds are rolling with beautiful backdrops of the mountains and greenery.
6. Long Dock Park - Beacon
I love going to Long Dock park. There, you'll find trails to go hiking with views of the Hudson River. There is so much greenery around with a small pathway through to the river. An easy walk from the train station and a great picnic spot. Hike around the grounds or if you're an adventurer, like me, rent some kayaks or canoes! They also have an excellent sunset tour of Bannerman's Castle where you boat to Bannerman's Island and get a tour of the tiny island jewel. (Check COVID restrictions)
7. Vanderbilt Mansion - Hyde Park
The garden at the mansion is a fan fave. It is best photographed during the summer around June when the florals bloom. Hyde Park is a great for a night out in town. They have a drive in movie theater right by the mansion and my childhood favorite - roller magic! If you plan to wear heels be sure to bring an extra pair of shoes, the walk from the parking lot to the gardens is a bit long. There, you'll find old statues, garden architecture, and some fountains all wrapped around beds of flowers and green ivy. Oh also isn't shooting by this tree magnificent?!
8. Sunflower Valley Farm - New Hampton
If you have a thing for sunflowers like I do you'll LOVE this place! Keep in mind sunflowers are usually best bloomed around July/August. We went when there was a little bit of a sun shower, but like, look at these photos - WORTH IT! The farm is located in New Hampton New York. There is a fee to photograph but is only $30 (prices may vary after publishing date).
9. Roosevelt Mansion - Hyde Park
Located in Hyde Park as well, Roosevelt Mansion is about 2 miles down the road from Vanderbilt. Besides the architectural backdrop that the mansion gives there are also hiking trails and garden exhibits to explore and photograph at.
10. West Point Foundry Preserve - Cold Spring
The remains of foundry buildings that manufactured some of America's first steam engines, locomotives, pipes for New York City's water system, and cannons that helped win the Civil War still reside here at the preserve. It's tucked away right off of Main Street in Cold Spring, close enough to the train station that you can hear the trains coming in and out. There are also view's of the Hudson River and trails along the path of the preserve.
Not Yet Photographed BONUS options:
Poets Walk - Red Hook
Little Stony Point Cliff - Cold Spring
Dutchess County Fair - Rhinebeck
Bear Mountain State Park/Perkins Memorial Tower
Kaaterskill Waterfall - Hunter NY