The Best Family Photo Locations in New Jersey
New Jersey earned the nickname “The Garden State” in the late 19th century for her fertile land and agricultural prowess diverse agricultural products and beautiful landscapes. From northern to central to southern New Jersey, there are parks, farms, and beaches to visit, enjoy, and photograph.
I feel lucky to be a Jersey photographer. It really is possible to do it all here. If you want a city scene for your photographs, there are plenty of places to choose from. If a beachy setting is more your style, go down to your favorite beach town at the Jersey shore. If you’re more into wooded, tree-filled locations, tons of parks throughout the state will have the scenery you’re after. There’s just so much here to explore that I never get bored. I like to wander around central NJ, in particular, looking for some exciting locales for every kind of photo shoot. I’m never disappointed.
This state has a wide variety of ideal environments for every type of photography, including spring maternity photography, outdoor maternity photos, a family photoshoot outdoors, and so much more. Whether it’s parks in New Jersey or a visit to some of our many state landmarks, no matter where I go, I always find something inspiring, and I can’t help but take some photos.
There is another reason that I think NJ is so perfect for photography. It’s a simple but remarkable thing: there is a change in seasons here; this never ceases to get my creativity going. I find myself subtly adjusting my editing style to make the most of the incredible variation in sunlight, foliage, colors, and humidity throughout the different times of the year. Sometimes I don’t even realize that I’m doing it, but then I review the photographs and see how I’ve changed my style and how that seems to go with the changes around me. Every season speaks to me differently, and my photography reveals that. There’s just so much here in New Jersey that inspires me. With dramatic architecture, natural beauty, romantic scenery, bright, colorful, and ever-changing foliage, New Jersey really does have everything a photographer could ask for.
So when you need to find the ideal spot around here for an outdoor photoshoot, I can help. I will start by sharing some of my favorite areas in this region, like Holland Ridge Farms, Princeton University, Branch Brook Park, and more, for an outdoor photoshoot session. So without further ado, here are some of North and Central Jersey’s most perfect locales to get the best photos.
Holland Ridge Farms is the biggest flower farm in the US. No, you didn’t read that wrong. The largest U-Pick flower farm in the United States is in Cream Ridge, NJ. Now they’re only open seasonally for sunflowers in the fall and tulips in the spring, but you simply must visit when they’re doing business! Depending on the season, there are either rows upon rows upon rows of cheerful orange sunflowers or tulips of every color imaginable. It is so bright and colorful everywhere you turn here that it is absolutely inspiring. It is a popular spot for romantic photography, such as engagements or maternity photos. Another reason Holland Ridge Farms is among my favorite photography locations is that there are no additional fees for photographers. There is only the price of admission, and then we can wander around the farm and take all the pictures we want. However, because their closing time is early and the farm is an open field, we often struggle with direct sunlight issues. The photographer must understand how to shoot in bright lighting conditions, and I am trained to do so.
With plenty of bridges, gazebos, fountains, ponds, and picturesque gardens filled with azaleas, lilacs, rhododendrons, and more, this beautiful park in Hamilton, NJ, seems as if it was designed for romantic photography, though that isn’t the case. Instead, this was the former home of Frederick Sayen, a passionate gardener who purchased 30 acres of land here in 1912. He built an Arts and Crafts style bungalow and then got to work creating a blooming green oasis on the surrounding land, filling his Victorian-inspired garden with flora he collected from his travels in exotic locales. Nearly a century later, his beautiful home became a free municipal park open to the public year-round. This place is a must-visit for gardeners, nature lovers, and photographers. Whether it’s a spring maternity photoshoot, a family photoshoot outdoors, or even just a photo expose of parks in New Jersey I’m working on, I know I can always go to Sayen House and Gardens.
Princeton University is one of the oldest colleges in the United States and was chartered in 1746, so it is completely unsurprising that it is a beautiful backdrop for various outdoor photoshoot options like a family photoshoot outdoors or outdoor maternity photos.
One of the biggest reasons it is ideal for photographs is the breathtaking Gothic architecture and the picturesque pointed arches.
Formerly the Mettler Estate, Colonial Park Gardens features a perennial garden, a rose garden, and more. You are sure to find an abundance of places for a spring maternity photoshoot or a family photoshoot outdoors among the roses and the topiary bush-lined stone paths. It is one of the most beautifully serene parks in New Jersey.
Leonard J. Buck Garden is a 33-acre space that consists of mature alpine and woodland gardens. What makes this place so unique is that it was created by a well-known landscape architect working with Buck in the 1930s with the idea that it be ecologically correct and not look artificial. They succeeded, and it is one of the best parks in New Jersey for an outdoor photoshoot. No pets allowed, though. Because the Garden closes early and it is gated, certain seasons would run into high sun situations and the photographer should know how to handle it. I am trained to do so and the example photos were all captured under straight sunlight.
An outdoor photoshoot paradise, Holmdel Park is located in Monmouth County, NJ. It features activity areas, historic sites, 10 miles of hiking trails, a pond, and beautiful forested areas. It is a fantastic place to get a variety of places for both spring maternity and winter maternity photoshoots.
Newark is a highly populated city; in fact, it’s one of the most populated cities in the United States. For that reason, it seems unlikely to find a gem of a park there. However, situated on Park Ave and Lake Street sits 360 acres of unexpected beauty. While there are plenty of beautiful places to see and explore for your family photoshoot outdoors, they are famous for their cherry blossom trees. They have the largest collection in the US, made of more than 5,000 cherry blossom trees and more than 18 varieties. It is a beautiful backdrop to an outdoor photoshoot or a vacation to one of the most amazing parks in New Jersey.
If you are looking for waterfront scenery for your family photoshoot outdoors or any outdoor photoshoot, Bayshore Waterfront Park is the perfect place to visit. Port Monmouth is a truly quaint town on the shore. But, Bayshore Waterfront Pak isn’t just a one-trick kind of waterfront. It features beautiful beaches, scenic piers, New York skyline views, and more. Go for the outdoor photoshoots and stay for the beautiful sun, sand, and water.
Cheesequake State Park’s name isn’t the only thing that makes this such a unique place. Situated in an ecosystem transitional zone, this park has freshwater marshes, saltwater marshes, fields, a white cedar swamp, a forest, a 6-acre man-made freshwater lake, and more. It is one of the largest parks in New Jersey, 1,610 acres, and has been open since June of 1940. This incredibly diverse landscape is the perfect place for a photoshoot, whether you want a waterfront or wooded backdrop to immortalize those special moments. Please pay attention to park hours and fee schedule during different seasons.
These are just a few of the scenic, serene, and stylish locales that make New Jersey the place for photoshoots. Of course, this doesn’t come close to covering the many exciting areas for photography in this state. It would be impossible to compile an extensive list of all the great photo shoot settings here because there are simply too many! From beaches to woodlands to city scenes to quaint villages, no matter what, there is a place in New Jersey that will make your photoshoot, and I will work hard to find it.
So whether you already have a location in mind or you just don’t know where to start, I’m here to help. I will work with you so we can decide what season and what locale would work best for your photoshoot. So why not contact me so we can talk about what you’re looking for? You can find me on my website. I cannot wait to help you find the perfect location for your dream photo shoot — our service includes location scouting, outfit advice, grouping and posing planning, etc. — I’ve got tons of creative ideas and just can’t wait to get started. If you have any questions or want to schedule an appointment, please contact me directly.
Many NJ locations require permit for professional portrait photography service. It is important to research those requirements so we don’t run into awkward situations during the photoshoot. Photography by MuSen respects the rules and always informs our clients about photography permit requirements. Below is a list of permit information that we know:
- L. (maternity and newborn sessions customer)
I had an extremely anxious pregnancy after my miscarriage, which is why I didn't reach out to you until so late, but you really went out of your way to accommodate and make it happen for me and my family. I'm so glad that I have all these photos of this special time in our lives and the captures of (our) brand new baby. I'll be forever grateful for the perfect moments you captured. Thank you again, so much."
"Hi Karen. Just wanted to really say thank you again for everything with our sessions. I could not be happier with how they both turned out."
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- ZHAO FAMILY
We have gotten many compliments from visiting guests. The photos you took are candid and captured true moments of joy. The product has amazing quality and yet very easy to install. I can’t wait to get another great collage for the upcoming family shoots. Thank you Karen.
"We absolutely loved the wall collage you designed for us. It has become the focal point of our great room"
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- JESSICA JACKSON
She listened to what type of photos we were looking to achieve and offered suggestions since she is in fact the professional! Karen was always very responsive if I had any questions leading up to the actual photo shoot and was an absolute pleasure to work with the day of our session. Everything went very smooth, and our proofs were delivered very quickly. After the selection process, our final images were delivered also very quickly and looked so amazing. We have received so many compliments and will be using Karen again in the future. I highly recommend MuSen Photography to anyone looking for quality professional photography!
"Karen was amazing to work with from the very beginning through to the delivery of our final photos"
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- SUE COLON
I hired her to do my daughters first birthday party photos and she captured the moment perfectly. I was so pleased with her work I hired her again to do a mother and daughters photo shoot for Mother’s Day. She NAILED IT one of the most beautiful photo shoots I have ever seen. Karen picked the location, lighting, told us how to pose her eye for perfection is beyond words she saw my vision and made it come true. She also was very easy to contact and communicate with. The turn over time to receive the photos was fast and easy. Karen is also very sweet it was truly a pleasure working with her. I highly recommend her and if perfection is what you seek Karen is definitely the one. I look forward to working with her again. Thank you so much Karen you rock .
"Karen is absolutely amazing."
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Truthfully from the beginning when we met in the diner to the very end of our day to stay to capture all of our memories. You were a pleasure to work with and we will be using you again for sure for our family photos and every event we have. I love most about you that your attention to details and making sure you get everything right and perfect for us.
"Karen what can I say but you are fabulous"
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