It only fits that the state of New Jersey is The Garden State. Filled with more than scenes of New York City and the cast of Jersey Shore, this state offers some of the most beautiful landscapes and views for shooting NJ photography. Many of which are seemingly in outdoor, stunning gardens (how fitting). Additionally, there are many historic homes, treasured buildings, farmlands, incredible views of the water, and lush nature preserves are embedded throughout a relatively small state (but large in heart).
New Jersey is one hundred and fifty miles long, and only seventy miles wide. It may come as a surprise to some that this state can offer so many diverse sets and backdrops for your next shoot. When setting the stage for NJ Photography, there’s no shortage of locations or inspiration to help you add incredible creative imagery to your portfolio. Read on as we review our favorite NJ photography spots.
Known as the city at the southern tip of the Cape May Peninsula, and the most southern, eastern tip of the state. The water outside the peninsula is where the Atlantic Ocean joins the Delaware Bay. Often known as one of the iconic vacation destinations in New Jersey. There are many NJ photography shooting locations scattered throughout Cape May, and a few include Cape May beach which was named by the Travel Channel as a top ten beach in America. The Victorian house museum and the Emlen Physick Estate by architect Frank Furness. Also, the Cape May Bird Observatory and the Cape May Lighthouse.
The Red Mill Museum
Located in Clinton, New Jersey, the Red Mill Museum offers incredibly rustic and beautiful scenery as you contrast the northern woods with a bright red barn and historic home. Overlooking the lake, the Red Mill property offers many different perspectives if looking to shoot many styles of NJ photography throughout the Mill. However, the dam connecting the two properties together is an excellent shot from an aerial or heighten photography vantage point. Make sure to visit during the fall months as the leaves surrounding the Red Mill Museum contrast the building perfectly. The season of winter can be a beautiful time of year as the lake can partially freeze over.
Liberty State Park
On the opposite end of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, Liberty State Park offers some of the best views of New York City. The park, located in Jersey City on the New York Bay is an excellent spot for many styles of photography. From engagement shots to lifestyle images, there are many variations of styles and creative direction to take at Liberty State Park. We recommend utilizing the bay side pathway overlooking both the water and the city-scape for your set location. You will also capture one of the most well-preserved areas of the park. You should remember to capture the iconic NYC skyline in the background.
In the northwestern town of Byram Township in Sussex County, Waterloo Village for decades was the meet up (or the halfway point)for people. It was for those traveling through the Morris Canal heading to or from Phillipsburg and Jersey City. The Waterloo Village has many of the perfect NJ photography locations scattered throughout the grounds. Some of the best places to shoot imagery include the watermill, a historic inn, along with a blacksmith’s shop. The Allamuchy Mountain State Park, home to an open-air museum is also a stunning location to bring your camera. It has one of the state’s best views of sunrise and sunset.
As a farm estate that was set up by James Buchanan Duke (an entrepreneur who was responsible for Duke Power and the American Tobacco Company), is now home to an environmental stewardship. The stewardship provides the farm’s visitors on how to both learn and enjoy the land (and all the beauty that comes with it). Full of iconic NJ photography, the farm includes the region’s wildlife and landscape. The farm occupies over 2,000 acres of farmland and woodlots. The best way to figure out your location set is to research the property’s highlighted spots. Some of these include: the Orchid Range, the Coach Barn, the Old Foundation and Hay Barn.
Patterson Great Falls
The falls are located on the Passaic River and are home to one of the most well-known waterfalls in the state of New Jersey. As the falls are a part of the Patterson Great Falls National Park, under the national park service, it is the perfect place to shoot nature photography between the intensity of the falls and the greenery of the park. More than nature, the Great Falls are also home to many industrialized buildings (like mills, locomotive works buildings, and train tracks). These landmarks amongst the park, are great for those photographers who like to think creatively and incorporate old-fashioned works buildings into their landscape, lifestyle, and contrast photography.
Located within the State Park of Barnegat Lighthouse, this iconic New Jersey landmark is positioned along the northern tip of Long Beach Island in Ocean County. In addition to being a beautiful lighthouse for future imagery, the Barnegat Lighthouse is known as a very important point in naval navigation for ships heading to and from the new york harbor. Regarding photography elements, the lighthouse offers a stunning red and white color block. The lighthouse against the blue sky can make for an excellent landscape image or a beautiful backdrop to lifestyle photography.
Known as the official botanical gardens for Rutger’s University in North Brunswick, New Jersey. Often used as the prime NJ photography location for many of the school’s students, the gardens are also a fantastic place to shoot wildlife photography, in particular flora. Pending on the season and month, there are different flowers in bloom that can be captured in full bloom. In January there are bush lilies that attract several visitors. In February there are various forms of witch hazel which you can see in different parts. Lastly, in March Camellias and Japanese Flowering Quinces line the Rutger’s Gardens. The flowers, also make this an ideal spot for selecting senior picture photography locations.
George Washington Bridge
The sight of true industrial beauty, George Washington Bridge is a double-decked suspension bridge over the Hudson River connecting the neighborhood of Washington Heights (located in upper Manhattan on the east side) and Fort Lee in New Jersey (also mention and call out on our list). Other than this landmark is one of the most used and busiest motor vehicle bridges in the world, it can encapsulate the best of NJ photography from both a structural and landscape perspective – as the bridge can act as both the main subject and an inspiring backdrop for your image.
This place is more than just antique shops and unique coffee shops. The historic city on Lambertville off the Delaware River is often seen as a creative paradise for creatives. Reason being? The town’s node to preserved architecture and mid-1800 styles. Some of these spots include, a restored 19th-century train depot houses known as Lambertville Station, and the 1816 James Wilson Marshall House Museum. When you’re done capturing images at some of the best NJ photography spots the state has to offer, you can head to the Golden Nugget Antiques Market or The People’s Store for some incredible shopping (who said everything is all work and no play!).
The Walnford House is located within the Monmouth County Park and stands as one of the most picturesque spots throughout the entire park. Those who work within the property recommend those visiting (especially looking to photograph), should visit the Walnford House after snowfall as it drapes beautiful white blankets over the house and the surrounding land – making it a picture perfect winter wonderland. While at Walnford House, head to Crosswicks Creek Park as this spot is home to over two hundred years of history (from social, tech, and natural history). The park has over thirty six acres of land, including: flat fields, woodland forest, and wetlands.
Like any Ivy League University in the United States, the fashion and beauty in which the architecture and structure of the buildings and organization of the parks and courtyards are orchestrated. Some of the most beautiful sets for your next NJ photography shoot on the Princeton Campus include: Prospect Garden and House, The Stamp Act Sycamore trees in front of the McLean House, or the Cleveland Tower. For those who like to capture art pieces, Princeton University is home to many sculpture pieces, including those from Picasso. Don’t miss out on the downtown, as the cute brick sidewalks and storefronts can make for a great location to shoot lifestyle photography.
Otherwise known as Allaire State Park, this New Jersey favorite is located in Monmouth County. As the park is run by the state’s very own Division of Parks and Forestry (as well as recognized as Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail route), you’ll never be out of a sight to see and a view to capturing on camera. Some of the best spots to venture to are: the bakery a 1835 village building which supply bread for the entire village. Second, the row houses (that were initially $1 or $2 in rent every month back in 1832 – talk about a great deal!). Lastly, the beautiful chapel developed in 1836.
Throwing in a little pop culture, Piper from the hit movie Coyote Ugly claims she’s from the small town of South Amboy, New Jersey before moving to the Big Apple. While the movie claims it’s a one road small town, it has way more to offer those who visit – in particular photographers. Capture the beautiful waterfronts of the city at Raritan Bay Waterfront Park or Perth Amboy’s Waterfront. In addition to the waterfront parks, South Amboy has more variety of NJ photography shots to capture throughout the city. Roosevelt Park and Cheesequake State Park are excellent spots to shoot nature photography.
Delaware Water Gap
The Delaware Water Gap shares its National Recreation area with two states, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. As the park is a part of the Appalachian Trail, you’re sure to shoot some incredible content of foliage (especially in the fall months), and mountains in addition to the water. No worries if you don’t have the waterproof equipment, as the park strictly prohibits swimming in the water gap. And while not being able to swim may be a disappointment to some, there’s more of the Water Gap to discover as the Middle Delaware National Scenic and Recreational River is over forty miles of forested mountains, valleys, and floodplains.
Mill Brook Village
Although the Mill Brook Village is a part of the mentioned Delaware Water Gap, this village gets its own special mention on our list. Perfect for those looking to capture nostalgia imagery. This village has recreated an 1800’s community filled with examples from pioneer life, and while it’s been renovated to reflect the olden times, many of the village’s buildings are actual restorations from the original buildings in the 19th century. For some of the most authentic imagery, try shooting at the Millbrook Mill or the Culver Lake and Stokes Forest. If those don’t suit your creative needs, there are over two hundred different sites on the grounds.
Taking over 100,000 acres of parks and historic sites along the Hudson River in northeastern New Jersey, the Palisades is the perfect place to capture NJ photography. Whether you enjoy hiking for your imagery or capturing by car as you drive across a scenic riverside road. There are many different outlets (and variety of settings and theme) to capture behind a lense. Make sure to not miss out on either the long path or shore trail on your trip over to the Palisades.
Fort Lee Historic Park
Two elements of Fort Lee that step it up a notch and earn it a spot on our list have to do with the fact that the park is not only cliffside but overlooks the Hudson river with an incredibly beautiful and scenic view for your next NJ photography shoot. With a 33 acre park located on a cliff top, you can’t beat the views. Along with the scenery, Fort Lee Historic Park is also home to a Revolutionary War encampment. They have many special events occurring every season.
Hacklebarney State Park
There’s nothing more beautiful (or tranquil) than a creek of running water jumping off rocks surrounded by native trees to New Jersey. Given the scenery, you should visit and shoot photos during the fall or spring months. Since the leaves are changing and growing, it’s best to think about when you want to shoot. Speaking of the creek, it shows as a black river due to the shallow waters and numerous rocks. Making it a unique landmark in the state. The Hacklebarney State Park, was also named as the location as one of the best places to hike in the state of New Jersey.
Ken Lockwood Gorge Wildlife Management Area
Home of New Jersey’s Columbia Trail, often known for its ability to offer tourist prime mountain biking trails and stream fishing. It also has many benefits and spots for photographers looking to shoot content onsite. Along with catching some of the region’s natural wildlife (including animals and flora), the park also allows you to bring along your furry friend, so if looking to capture some fantastic pet photography in some of the most beautiful sights in the state.
Imagine, rustic gates toppled with fields of accompanying wildflowers. That’s what visiting photographers will experience on their trip to the Willowwood Arboretum. Starting as property mixed with oat trees, chestnuts, peach orchards, and blackberries – the Arboretum continued to grow. As the family grew the farm, the crops grew, and their range in products expanded to apple orchards as well. Along with the growth there came beautiful flowers like: mock oranges, peonies, and roses. In addition to the natural landscapes, photographers shouldn’t miss the Tubb’s Residence. The structure was built in 1792 and house many old pieces of antiques throughout the house.
Many of those familiar with New Jersey or even New York City, know of the city of Hoboken. Located on the Hudson River, the city was once an industrial port for the state. It is now one of the trendiest spots in New Jersey. With beautiful parks (like Pier A) and Manhattan Skylines, there’s no wonder the city has gained so much popularity. Many photographers like to shoot content along the River Waterfront Walkway, as the city skyline in the background makes for incredible views. Images like wedding or engagement shots work best here. Even though the city is home to incredible views of NYC, that’s not the only vantage point in the city. Some of the best NJ photography can be shot alongside the cobblestone street in the city’s downtown area – this spot is excellent for lifestyle imagery.
Sayen Park Botanical Garden
Otherwise known as the Sayen House and Gardens, this park is located in Hamilton Township, New Jersey. While the Gardens are open to the public year-round during sunlight hours. Those who work on the property recommend visiting during the spring months as the leaves and flowers come into full bloom. Eespecially for those photographers who like to capture flora images. Some of the most beloved pieces on the property are the statues contrasting against nature scattered throughout the gardens. One statue replicates a boy and girl kissing underneath an umbrella as a fountain lightly drapes over them.
For those of you who think Ocean City is only a spot to visit in Maryland, you are mistaken. Ocean City, New Jersey is a great spot for tourist and photographers alike. With the areas busy boardwalk and clean white sand beaches, it’s a personal paradise. There are eight miles of beaches to venture and explore within Ocean City. Once you’ve captured your imagery alongside the beach, try heading into the town. The city is home to marina, cute shops, and an amusement park. In fact, the contrast of the Ferris wheel in the distance against the shore makes for a dynamic landscape shot.
Contrary to popular belief, with a name like Buttermilk, we’re not talking about a farm or eatery in any way. Buttermilk Falls are actually the name of a cascading waterfall located in the city of Layton, New Jersey. The waterfall replicates a winding sphere of water, which adds a unique element to the park. For a better picture of the falls, the property added a wooden staircase alongside it. This way, tourist can marvel, and creative photographers can capture their best content while also remaining safe. While in the area, don’t forget to visit Crater Lake and Hemlock Pond as well!
High Point State Park
Located in Sussex County in the northwestern region of New Jersey (close to the border of New York). The High Point State Park covers a lot of beautiful and picture-perfect worthy ground (15,413 acres to be exact). Home to the tallest mountain range in New Jersey, the Kittatinny Mountains have many vantages and lookout points to make for NJ photography portfolio pieces.
Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge
Created in 1960, the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge was home to the Glacial Lake Passaic. It was a staple landmark in the area over 11,000 to 15,000 years ago. You can see the great swamp in todays world. As the glacier melted during the Ice Age, we were left with the beautiful landscape we currently have. With the views and the notable history, the Great Swamp is a great location to capture NJ photography content as it’s truly a unique setting.