Hunterdon County, where my tiny home base of Califon, NJ is located, is full of beautiful opportunities for unique portrait session locations that have a natural, woodsy feel. When my couples come to visit me for their Connection sessions or Family photo sessions I make sure that I give them the best of the best that Hunterdon County has to offer. Since many of you might not be familiar with the variety of photo session locations in the area, I’ve compiled a list for you to show you a few possibilities.
- Christy Hoffman Farm Park – this is normally my go-to location for portraits. It’s a beautiful natural park spanning miles and there are never too many people around. The locations within the park can range from open field, to tall grasses, to woods with streams. There’s even a barn with a silo that I sometimes like to take my clients to pose in front of also. This is a really beautiful option and usually my first choice!
- Natirar – another top one on my list (this one is actually in Somerset county in Gladstone, NJ) Many people know of Natirar for its wedding venue at the top of the mountain (and for you history buffs, the ex-residence of the Prince of Morocco). The park has a circular loop that spans 2 miles around for those who like to run, but for pictures we normally take a stroll through the open fields, the barn, or the more woodsy areas. For those coming in from out of town, I also highly suggest you make a reservation for after your session at the restaurant at the top of the park called 90 Acres – makes for a fancy night out after your session 😉
Arboretums and Flowers
- Willlowood Arboretum – located in Chester, NJ, right next door to Hunterdon County, Willowood is a beautiful park with lots of amazing varietals of trees and flowers to explore. Note, that they may ask for a permit to photograph here, so it’s prudent to check their website first.
- Cross Estate Gardens – located in Bernardsville, NJ – a small estate and garden open to the public with a more manicured look for portrait sessions.
- Spruce Run and Round Valley Reservoir – these are 2 separate reservoirs located near each other but are separate locations. Because of how large they are, we generally pick a location within the park to stick with, but you’ll have the scope of options from woods, to a playground for the kids, to a rocky beach area that I love to explore when we want to bring a little bit of the Jersey shore to us.
- Lake Solitude – if you’re up for a little bit of a hike first, Hunterdon county has one of the nicest and most well known hiking trails in NJ called the Columbia Trail. At the end of one of the trails in a town called High Bridge, is a beautiful waterfall where many people like to go and enjoy nature. Makes for a great background in photos also!
- Clinton Downtown: I love a little bit of an urban feel in my photos – so many textures and architecture to incorporate into photos. But out in Hunterdon county, urban means a little something different than urban might mean to a New Yorker. Downtown Clinton has the beautiful Red Mill Museum off in the distance behind a waterfall, and a cute small downtown feeling. I often like to explore the little alleyways where most people don’t walk, getting a more urban feeling on the more unkempt streets and side alleys, or underneath of bridges. We might even go into one of the nearby coffee shops and warm up with a coffee while I photograph you guys cozying up together!
- High Bridge: Another small town which might not look like much from afar, but all it takes is a couple of cool-looking rugged areas for us to photograph in. There is a tunnel for us to explore, and a small train station, a cute coffee shop to go into afterwards for some coffee and pictures, and we can even venture off and explore a few nearby un-inhabited/unfinished buildings from the outside.
- Peapack-Gladstone Train station stop – one of my favorite train stations because there is barely anyone there, and it has a very small town urban feel. I know a few secret spots around, and if you’re ok with a little trespassing you might find we’ll get a few great surprises.
That’s it guys – my list of top portrait locations in Hunterdon county! I hope you enjoyed it. I am always looking to explore new spots, so if you know of any locations nearby or far away, I invite you to comment below and let me know about them! Nothing inspires me more than a new location to explore!