9 Surprising Places to Take Your Engagement Photos in Upstate NY

Yaaay! You’re engaged! As if you haven’t already taken a bunch of ring selfies, now comes the ultimate photo shoot: your engagement pictures! Your engagement photo session is a great time to get used to having your picture taken. They also help you and your photographer get comfy before they’re all up in your grill on your wedding day. Now for the hard part: what are the best places to have engagement photos taken?

Lucky for you, I’ve polled some of the best photographers to give you an extensive list of places to consider.

RELATED: 5 Gorgeous, Intimate Wedding Venues in Upstate NY



1. Places of Sentimental Value

You all know I love incorporating deeper, sentimental meanings in my events. When I spoke to Ali Reed from Alexandra Elise Photography, she said, “My favorite engagement session location is wherever is most personal and special to my couples. I prefer to shoot in a location that holds some sort of sentimental value instead of just a pretty place. That way, my couple is comfortable being there, and they have an emotional attachment and a reason to be there . . . It is personal to them and their story. I travel frequently for sessions across New York State and also to other states for engagement sessions [for] this reason. Lots of my couples [met each other] and made a home in another city [but are coming] back to Rochester and the Finger Lakes to get married closer to family. This gives my couples the best of both worlds. [Now they will have  pictures from] their wedding day in one or both of their home towns, and their engagement session in their current city and home.

2. Every Day Places That Are Part of Your Story

When I asked Mary Dougherty, a film wedding and portrait photographer based in the Adirondacks, she responded that the “best place for engagement photos is a place that tells your story. . . Part of my process as a photographer involves getting to know you and unearthing [what is] most important to document. . . While you can definitely pick the most gorgeous location in your area, . . . it’s really nice when you can plan something personal. An evening at the family house on the Finger Lakes, like Colleen and Seb [pictured above], or a date in West Village like Jess and Brody. The images we created in these scenes are some of my favorites because they actually tell a story about their lives and document a really amazing time and place.”

3) The Sunken Gardens, Rochester, NY

Other photographers suggest shooting in places that focus on gorgeous or interesting outdoor scenery.  According to Kristen and Mike Zale of Bokeh Film Studios, which offers photography and videography services, “[We] love shooting at the Sunken Gardens in Rochester. It is a favorite shot of professionals because it combines a bit of the rustic with the perfect secret garden style shoot. But no matter what, outdoor pictures and videos are king!”

4) Along the Canal, Fairport, NY

Kristen also added, “There are some rustic barns near a parking lot right across from the canal that are awesome!”


5) Durand Eastman Park and Beach, Rochester, NY

Erich Camping Durand Eastman Park Engagement | Verve Event Co. | #fallengagementphoto

Love the beach but can’t get to the ocean? Erich Camping, a wedding photographer in Rochester, NY says, “I love to shoot at Durand Eastman Park. Any season is beautiful! From the lake to the trails and bridges, it has a little of everything. Fall is when it shines, but any sunset on the beach makes my clients happy.”

6) Locations with a Variety of Backgrounds

Several photographers suggest shooting your engagement photos at locations with multiple backgrounds. Jenny Berliner, a wedding, portrait, and lifestyle photographer says, “Having a location that gives several different looks or backdrops is best! Somewhere they met, a place they love visiting, somewhere that we cannot go to on the day of the wedding but has meaning to the couple” are all good places to consider. She continues, “Whether they love rustic, classic, or an urban vibe, I love if a place can be of significance to the couple, and if not, a spot that offers lots of variety is key.”

7) The George Eastman House, Rochester, NY

Similar to this, Katie Finnerty, a wedding photographer specializing in lifestyle and fine art wedding and engagement photography says, “There are so many beautiful places in this region that it’s hard to narrow it down to one best option. But my favorite engagement session locations tend to have some combination of nature (and this can be anything from a manicured garden to an overgrown field in the woods!) and interesting architecture, [like at the George Eastman House]. And a breathtaking view certainly doesn’t hurt! Any two of these makes it a great location in my book. If you’ve got all three, it’s a dream come true!”

8) Delaware Park in Buffalo, New York

Like Jenny Berliner and Katie Finnerty, when I asked Laura Rose of Laura Rose Wedding Photography for the best place to have engagement photos, she replied, “My favorite location [in upstate New York] so far has been Delaware Park in Buffalo. It offers so much variety and versatility. I love having the mix of a beautiful natural setting coupled with gorgeous white stone architecture. I was immediately drawn to it and said it reminded me of Central Park (without the large number of tourists). My couple informed me it was designed by Frederick Olmsted, the same person who designed Central Park. [I love that] it offers tons of locations all within walking distance of one another.”

9) Dramatic Architecture

Nature not your cup of tea? Have your engagement session at a location with dramatic architecture! According to Chelse Thompson of North Glow Photography, “Engagement [sessions give us an] opportunity to spend time with our client and really get to know them. Location is important, but more important is that they become VERY comfortable with us, so we can get them those images on their wedding day that really speak to their personality. Courtney and Demetrius are entrepreneurs with a personal training business in Rochester. We asked them to choose a bar they loved and we met them [at Branca]. Then we shot with them around the city. They loved the urban vibe. We love any good vantage point for sunset and Branca is smack in the middle of some great architecture downtown. Then we ended the session at the roof top of St. Joe’s Garage.


Well, there you have it, friends. Whether you live in upstate NY or you’re getting married here, there are so many locations that will help memorialize this incredibly special time in your life. Whether you want photos that are emotion-driven and sentimental to you or you want jaw-dropping scenery or architecture, Upstate NY has it all and we have some amazing photographers to help you get the perfect shots! And if you’re excited to plan your wedding, hit me up! I only have a few weekends left before my rates increase for 2019!

Happy planning!

Blog Signature-Desiree | Verve Event Co. | Upstate NY Wedding Planner

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Top: Jenny Berliner Photography; Bottom L and R: Alexandra Elise Photography

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  1. 12 Most Intriguing Wedding Venues in Upstate New York | Verve Event Co.

    January 15th, 2019 at 12:16 pm

    […] RELATED:  9 Surprising Places to Take Your Engagement Photos in Upstate New York […]

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