Born and raised around here, and doing photoshoots for the last few years, I've been to a place or two. Listed below are some of what I think are the BEST locations for engagement photos in the Hudson Valley.
The Constitutional Marsh
The Constitutional Marsh is located in Garrison, NY and is practically right next to Indian Brooks Falls, so it's easy to see both in one day! There is an easy but rocky "hike" that you should wear sneakers for, but once you get to the boardwalk on the marsh you can slip on those heels and get to posing! The walk to the marsh shows you a beautiful view of West Point across the river with a bench to sit at and gaze at the mountains. The marsh offers an abundance of Southern Cocktails (the plants that look like corn dogs) and beautiful sunrises and sunsets. It's best to get there really early or later in the afternoon and avoid prime times like Saturdays because there are only 8 parking spots and this place can get BUSY.
Minnewaska State Park
Minnewaska is one of my absolute favorite places to shoot engagement sessions. Located in Kerhonkson, NY this state park has so much to offer. From the cliffs above Lake Minnewaska to the bottom of Awosting Falls, this place offers a wide variety of backdrops and colors to "wow" you during your session. The top parking lot allows for easy access to the easy trails that go around the lake and have access to multiple cliff points for stunning environmental photos, that are especially beautiful in the Fall. The bottom parking lot accesses the walk to Awosting Falls, which is an easy walk to the top of the falls and then down a hill to the bottom (this can be slippery in the winter, be careful). The falls offer an elegant, textured backdrop for close-up portraits or a very cool point of interest for environmental portraits. There is a $10 parking fee but they take cash or card.
The Beacon waterfront at Long Dock Park offers a lovely sunset right next to the Hudson River. If you look south you see the mountains on either side of the river, if you look north you see the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge. When the tide is low you can walk on the rocky beach to get extra close, and there is a trail that goes along the coastline. This place is easy to navigate and walk round, and you can definitely wear heels around most of this place!
Mohonk Gatehouse Trail
Another one of my absolute favorites! The Mohonk Gatehouse Trail can be a relatively busy area but there are many ways to get around people in the background of your photos. This trail offers a double-sided tree lining that makes for awesome natural frames and they let the sunrise or sunset light in very beautifully. There is also a field with high grass directly next to it that is perfect for running around in to get natural, candid photos of you and your partner having fun being yourselves.
âPoet's Walk is located in Red Hook, NY and features a wooded 1-mile trail that goes down towards the Hudson River, and ends at an incredible pavilion made out of preserved branches, it seriously looks like it was made straight from trees in the woods around it. It sits in a field that overlooks the Rhinecliff Bridge and it is truly stunning to look at up close. The walk on the way can be muddy if it rains a day or two before you go, so be mindful of the weather.
Cragsmoor Stone Church
Cragsmoor Stone Church in Cragsmoor, NY is exactly what it sounds like - a beautiful stone church sitting atop a hill that overlooks the Catskill mountains. The view is incredible and if you go during the Fall, there are beautiful colors everywhere you look. There is also a small arch to get your picture taken under, and during sunset the light from the side hits just right. It doesn't seem to get very busy and there isn't much parking, but if it is busy it may be tough to take photos because it's a small area.
Vassar College Campus
Vassar College has a wide variety of environments. There's the beautiful architecture of the old buildings, the trail along the pond, or the area full of a bunch of different species of trees that all bloom beautifully in the spring including magnolias and cherry blossoms. Vassar's campus is home to over 230 species of trees! This campus is perfect for walking around and capturing candid photos of you and your partner at any time of day, with plenty of shaded areas to use if you have to have your photoshoot in the middle of the day.
This list will be updated from time to time, and I will surely post about it then.
Now that we've gone over a bunch of places to take your photos, let's chat about booking your session!