When I asked Rachael and Amber what three words they would use to describe their desired vibe for their engagement session, they told me "magical, ethereal, and bold." The Catskills had been calling to them all summer. When deciding how to best celebrate their 3 year anniversary and engagement, it made sense to them to head north, book a cabin, and go on an adventure- all while getting some beautiful engagement photos out in nature to honor their relationship. They asked for water and a magical forest vibe. Rachael and Amber love hiking together, so it made sense to plan a hike and a picnic. And I knew just the place to take them to.
Planning Your Catskills New York Engagement Photoshoot
When choosing where to celebrate your engagement, you can either choose a location that holds sentimental meaning to you or ask your photographer (me!) for recommendations. When you come to me, we usually start with a conversation about how you want to feel, what activities you want to do, and what sort of scenery you would like to experience. We then move on to trail accessibility and how much you want to sweat. When it comes to Upstate NY engagement or elopement locations, I know tons of hidden gems due to also being a licensed NY hiking guide! And yes, many of those locations are accessible and easier to get to so that you don't need to break too much of a sweat.
Engagement photos are one of the first markers on your journey to getting married. They often signify your partnership. In that same vein, my philosophy when it comes to engagement photos may be a bit different than other photographers. I believe that your photos should be true to you. That means no standard poses and no fast photoshoots. I believe in taking a time out from wedding planning to go on an adventure and focusing on your relationship. I believe in remembering why you want to get married in the first place. And I believe in having photos that document you doing the things you love in a way that is genuine to you. Because what better way to celebrate your engagement than with a photoshoot where you actually recognize yourselves?
Catskills Engagement Photo Locations
There are so many beautiful places in the Catskills to have an engagement photoshoot. Whether you want waterfalls, mountain views, lakes, or meadows, we have it all!
Some locations are more accessible than others and some may have seasonal restrictions, so it is always best to work with a local photographer who knows the area very well. Some of my favorite places to go to for gorgeous photos are Mohonk Mountain House (the trail system and activities can't be beat!), Minnewaska State Park, and the Mountain Top Arboretum.
How to Get to the Catskills from New York City for Your Engagement Photos
The Catskills are perfect for a New York City getaway. Just an easy two or three hour drive north, you can get to various regions of the Catskills. Whether you want to enjoy hiking, local food, or cute antique or bookstores, the Catskills have it all. The easiest way to get around the Catskills is by car, however, you can take the train to select Catskills destinations as well.
Traveling to the Catskills by bus or train from New York City
One of the easiest to reach Eastern Catskills locations is New Paltz. New Paltz is a hip town, full of art, music, and restaurants that feature locally-sourced food. There are also breweries, cideries, wineries, and distilleries galore. You can hop on the Metro North Hudson Line or Amtrak to Poughkeepsie and then grab a rideshare or taxi to New Paltz. Alternatively, you can grab a Trailways bus directly to New Paltz from Port Authority.
Traveling to the Catskills by car from New York City
If you have access to a car, many more Catskill destinations become available to you. I often recommend this option if you are able simply because it allows you to reach many more destinations for exploring. The drive up to the Catskills is a very easy drive up I-87 or Route 17.
Just outside of Albany NY, the Catskills are a great destination for your engagement photos
Just about 30 minutes from the northernmost point of the Catskills to Albany, NY, the Catskills are a great day trip for your engagement adventure. If you are a rock climber in Albany, you already know how gorgeous the cliffs of the Shawangunk range are. A hiker? Perhaps you have been working on the Catskills 3500. Or maybe you haven't ventured to the Catskills much- in that case, let me show you how many gorgeous locations there are for your engagement photos!
How to get to the Catskills from Albany by car
The drive from Albany to the Catskills is quite scenic. Winding roads lead you to incredible locations. Depending on where you want to go, your drive could be as short as 30 minutes or as long as 3 hours. That said, some of my favorite photo locations are just an hour south of Albany.
Meet Your Catskills LGBTQ+ Photographer
Hot take- you don't need engagement photos. That said, I believe you deserve to celebrate your relationship and have photos of you two together that aren't just selfies. Often times, couples come to me and tell me that they have plenty of pictures of the other person, but none of the two of them together doing something they love together!
When hiring your engagement or elopement photographer, you will want to find someone who is an experienced adventure wedding photographer AND a local expert -- and that's me! I'm an award-winning photographer who has been featured in several publications and was recently named one of the top 9 elopement photographers in New York! And when I'm not photographing elopements, I'm usually out hiking, skiing, or biking to find new, amazing locations for couples to explore. As a local expert, I'm here to guide you through making a memorable experience for the two of you.
And if you are a couple where one or both partners belong to the LGBTQ group, I promise to help you feel safe and loved during your adventure. I'm a bisexual, genderqueer human, and I know it makes a huge difference when your photographer gets it. We will pose how is natural to you, and not adapt some silly, heteronormative photography posing into your session.
My New York engagement packages start at $1,600 for 3+ hours of adventure coverage. Packages include overall planning assistance, helping you find the perfect location and establishing the perfect timeline for adventuring without feeling rushed. Curious to know more? Reach out and let's see if it's a good fit!