There are SO many stunning engagement session locations to choose from in Ithaca, and a lot of couples have asked me, as a photographer, what my favorites are. After the last time I was asked, I knew there were probably a lot of other couples out there wondering the same thing. So, I've compiled a list of engagement photo locations near Ithaca NY so you don't have to stress about where to take your photos. In my opinion, these are the 9 best engagement photo locations in Ithaca for beautiful scenery and unique backdrops:
1. Taughannock Falls State Park
Taughhannock Falls State Park is one of the first locations that people think of when they think of Ithaca, and for a good reason. The falls here are beautiful, and if you want photos by the lake, we can do that too, all in one place. I like to start my sessions across the street by the lake and then move across the street to the park entrance. The lower falls near the entrance are beautiful, and if you have time, you can even stop by the Falls Overlook for a breathtaking view of the Upper Falls.
2. Cornell Botanic Gardens
Most people think of waterfalls and gorges when they think of Ithaca, but the Cornell Botanic Gardens are another dazzling reason to visit Ithaca. There are lots of cute little pathways, benches, and tons of greenery. Honestly, for this engagement session, I even took a few in the parking lot and even those were beautiful. This session was in the early spring, but it gets even more lush and beautiful as the season goes on.
3. Cornell University
Cornell University is a great place for your engagement session if one of you attended Cornell, or even if neither of you did 😅. The old stone buildings and architecture around campus make you feel like you've been transported to another location entirely.
4. Buttermilk Falls
Buttermilk Falls is a beautiful spot for engagement photos in Ithaca. The main falls at the beginning of the trail make for a stunning backdrop. If you want to keep going up the trails, just know that there are definitely a lot of stairs (so if you choose this location make sure you're ready for the hike!).
5. Robert H. Treman State Park
When I first created this blog post, I hadn't technically photographed an engagement session here yet, but I had photographed a Robert H. Treman State Park wedding and couldn't wait to go back. I'm leaving the wedding photos I originally posted here and adding some engagement photos too, because I think it's really nice to see what the park looks like in different seasons (the wedding photos were taken in the summer and the engagement photos were taken in late fall). The trail at the North Entrance is the perfect place for some woodsy engagement photo magic before taking a long walk through the gorge itself (called Enfield Glen).
6. Cascadilla Gorge Trail
Out of all of the locations listed here, I would say the Cascadilla Gorge Trail is probably the least well-known if you're not from Ithaca. You'll want to start at Treman Triangle Park and explore from there (just a heads up, there are a lot of stairs here too).
Okay, this one is pretty general, but only because there are SO many amazing wineries in the Finger Lakes. The winery pictured here is Bet the Farm Winery in Trumansburg, NY, but any winery in or around Ithaca would make for beautiful photos. You'll need to contact the winery/vineyard first for permission, but it's SO worth it (how cute is their toast?)
8. Ithaca Falls
When one of my couples first asked me about starting their session at Ithaca Falls, my immediate thought was "okay sure, but which one?". There are SO many waterfalls in Ithaca, but I had no idea that there was one called "Ithaca Falls". The park around Ithaca Falls isn't very big, but it's centrally located, so this is a great location if you want a few waterfall photos (I mean, it is Ithaca after all) and then you can head out to a different location for the rest of your session.
9. Ithaca City Cemetery
Taking your engagement photos at Ithaca City Cemetery definitely isn't for everyone, but I was super excited when Stefanie and Matthew asked if I would be up for it. They're getting married a few days before Halloween and since they're incorporating Halloween into their wedding, they wanted to do the same for their engagement photos. We wandered around for a bit and broke out the candles as it started to get dark. If spooky season is your vibe, this is a great non-traditional option for your engagement photos (or a couple's session). If you'd like to see more, check out their session here.
Are you interested in having me photograph your engagement session in Ithaca? Let's chat!