If you’ve found this post, you probably know that engagement photos in Central Park are truly unbeatable. I mean, even Chuck and Blair tied the knot at Central Park’s Bethesda Terrace (more on that location later).
As one of the most iconic NYC photo spots, Central Park has its own unique allure. From the way its natural beauty shifts throughout the seasons to the stunning backdrops throughout, Central Park never fails to add that extra spark to engagement photos.
Luckily, I’m a NYC wedding photographer who has had the pleasure of capturing the love stories of countless couples amidst this city’s iconic landmarks. From the charming Bow Bridge to the serene Bethesda Terrace, each corner of Central Park has its own unique ambiance. Keep reading to learn all about engagement photos in Central Park, from the best places to take pics to my favorite tips.
Meet the Couple: Hersh and Sonya
Before we dive in, let’s chat a bit about the couple whose photos you’ll see throughout this post! I was lucky enough to photograph an engagement session for Hersh and Sonya in Central Park and at Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO Brooklyn.
The two of them met during COVID and used to meet up at Bethesda Fountain in Central Park a lot during the beginning of their relationship, so it made perfect sense to take engagement photos at a place that meant so much to them. They wanted photos there to remember that special time in their relationship.
Best Places to Take Pictures in Central Park for an Engagement
Now, let’s dive in – where should you take photos in Central Park for your engagement? Well, there’s lots of places to choose from. Here are some of the top picks!
When you think about Central Park proposal spots, Bethesda Terrace is probably one of the top spots you think of. (Even if you don’t know it by name, I promise you, if you ever see a photo of this spot, you’ll know it.) The Bethesda Terrace Arcade is the most popular spot, hands-down!
Situated right in Central Park’s heart, Bethesda Terrace is one of the most popular spots in the park. It’s most well-known for its architecture, which can so easily frame you and your lover in engagement photos. The famous stairs in Central Park are also located here.
This cast-iron bridge crosses over the famous Lake (which we’ll chat about shortly). It’s incredibly picturesque, especially in fall, when the trees surrounding it turn all colors.
If you’re a movie lover, you may have seen Bow Bridge in the SpiderMan franchise and in Enchanted. It’s often considered to be a love symbol, which is what makes it such a great spot to take photos. Plus, it’s a pedestrian-only bridge!
Situated near the terrace by the same name, Bethesda Fountain is a truly breathtaking part of the park that makes a beautiful backdrop in movies. Many also call it the Angel of the Waters.
The main point of focus of the statue is an eight-foot angel made of bronze, which is right in the center of it. Sometimes, in the winter months, the fountain will be turned off so it doesn’t freeze, but most times of the year, it’s a great spot for photos, especially when it comes to an engagement.
Easily one of the best Central Park photo locations for an engagement is The Lake. It’s 20 acres large and is often referred to as being the heart of the park. There are so many great spots to take engagement photos all around The Lake, and again, it’s one of those spots that is gorgeous year-round.
Central Park has a few garden spots, but the Conservatory Garden is one of the ones which is pretty well-known. Plus, it’s actually the only formal garden in the park! A lot of what makes it so picturesque is the manicured greens and fountain in the middle.
In spring, flowers bloom here, bringing a fun and vibrant atmosphere to the space. There are also quite a few park benches throughout which can be great for candid engagement shots.
Note: the Conservatory Garden has been undergoing restoration and is set to re-open in 2025.
I know what you’re thinking; a restaurant on this list? But yes, Loeb Boathouse is an incredible spot for engagement photos in Central Park. This restaurant has an 80-seat patio outside and is also where many row boats will launch into the Lake.
It’s even fun to just walk over here to get some photos of it in the backdrop. If you’ve ever seen 27 Dresses or When Harry Met Sally, you may recognize this spot.
Another of the best spots in Central Park for photos is the Ladies Pavilion. This is a unique shaded structure that dates back to the 1870s, and has a bit of a whimsical vibe to it, yet it’s still surrounded by the city that never sleeps. It overlooks the lake.
Because this is such an iconic spot, there’s often people at it. Plus, couples can actually get married here, too! You may have to wait to get a photo, or just plan on going early in the morning to avoid crowds.
The Central Park Mall is a walkway that goes from 66th to 72nd street. It’s incredibly picturesque and again, is one of the more photographed spots in the park. You have also probably seen this walkway in so many movies and television shows without even realizing it.
Lined with trees, this is one of the best spots in the park to see the changing of the seasons. Truly, whether you’re getting engagement photos in October or April, this is one spot not to miss.
When it comes to engagement photos in Central Park, this list would not be complete without mentioning Belvedere Castle. Yes, there’s a literal castle inside Central Park. Inside, there’s the park’s weather station, exhibits, and more.
But even just snapping an engagement photo or two with it behind you can be super fun! It’s a truly unique piece of architecture and was built by three different architects in the late 1860s.
Wagner Cove is one of the lesser-known spots in Central Park. It’s another shaded spot, kind of like the Ladies Pavilion. It’s right along the lake and is a wooded pavilion that is beautiful for engagement pictures in Central Park.
Summerhouse at the Dene
Another of the great more rustic spots for engagement photos in Central Park is Summerhuose at the Dene. It’s located right off 5th Avenue and is a wooden gazebo that lets in tons of natural light. Surrounded by greenery, this is a great spot to get more whimsical engagement photos in the park.
The Shakespeare Garden is one of the more underrated spots in Central Park for photos. This four-acre park looks like it was taken straight out of England, featuring a whole bunch of greenery straight from plays Shakespeare has written. There’s even quotes on plaques throughout the garden.
If you’re not a Shakespeare fan, don’t worry; you’ll still really enjoy how serene this part of the park is, which makes it perfect for engagement photos.
Bonus: Brooklyn Bridge Park (Not in Central Park, but still worth it!)
Looking to get outside of Central Park for some extra photos? Don’t sleep on the beauty of Brooklyn Bridge Park. This park is located right near the famous Brooklyn Bridge across the river from NYC, which means there are epic skyline views awaiting you.
My personal advice? Take some great photos in Central Park and at Brooklyn Bridge Park so that you can get photos of the city in the background, too.
Tips for an Engagement Central Park Photoshoot
Okay, so now you know where to get your photos. Here are some tips to make sure your engagement photos in Central Park get taken without any hiccups!
Consider the timing.
This kind of has two meanings. When thinking about the timing, you’ll first want to think about the time of day. Obviously, as one of the main and most well-known attractions in New York City, this park gets pretty busy. Consider going in the morning to avoid crowds. Even if you’re not a morning person, it’s worth it!
I always recommend a sunrise session for my couples if you want to take engagement photos here because there really is no way to avoid people if we go later in the day!
You’ll also want to consider seasonally the time of year. Luckily, Central Park is beautiful year-round, but some parts of the park may be better suited for your engagement photos depending on if its winter or summer.
Think about parking and transportation.
NYC parking is never easy, and honestly it can sometimes be easier to take and Uber or take the subway. If you are getting dressed up or doing hair and makeup, it may be a better option to take an Uber to avoid anything getting messed up on the subway.
Be sure to do some research ahead of time to figure out how you’ll get to and from the park. And hey, if you need some help with that, if you’re hiring a NYC photographer like me, be sure to just ask your photographer for any of their insights.
Don’t be worried about the people; just be yourself.
Again, this park is usually busy! Try to just get in the zone with you and your partner and ignore all of the people around. One of the great things about NYC is that everyone usually has somewhere they’re heading to or someone they’re going to meet. They see people taking photos in Central Park all the time!
Your photographer will also give you fun prompts to make you feel more comfortable while photos are being taken. Trust me when I say that even photographers know the awkwardness that you can feel on the other side of the lens.
Dress comfortably for the weather.
New York City has all four seasons. So, prepare for the weather. Winter is chilly, fall mornings are chilly, and even spring mornings can be chilly sometimes. If it’s summer, you can expect it to be pretty warm. When in doubt, just wear layers!
Wear shoes you can walk in, or bring a pair you can wear to walk.
Central Park is huge! It’s a lot bigger than you think. If you plan on wearing uncomfortable shoes for the photos, then be sure to bring a second pair that you can swap out when walking from location to location. You will be doing walking in the park!
Final Thoughts: Central Park Engagement Session
Well, there you have it! Now you know all about where to go to get engagement photos in Central Park. New York City is truly a wonderland when it comes to spots to take engagement photos.
If you’re still looking for the perfect photographer to shoot your Central Park engagement photos, click here to get in touch. I’d love to co-create photos with you and learn more about your epic love story!
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