The challenge with engagement sessions, particularly those in New Jersey, is finding a nice quiet spot that is both picturesque and not crawling with tourists or random weirdos. Parks are usually teeming with joggers, strollers and goose poop. Farms and orchards are kinda boring, and there’s just so many urban/graffiti-type shoots I can do in a year.

When Phil and Lindsey inquired about location suggestions, I offered up a place that I had heard of for years, but had never photographed—Kip’s Castle in Verona, NJ. When I was in high school, the place was a monastery, and kids would sneak up there and head home with a trespassing ticket. Turns out, the county of Essex purchased the castle and the surrounding gardens, a few years back, and turned it into a full-fledged county park.

The best part—no one knows about it. The next three blog entries are all going to be from Kip’s Castle. I challenged myself to shoot differently each time so that the photos aren’t repetitive. It wasn’t too hard; the light in that park is just sick at dusk, and the backdrop is stunning.

Here’s the first post featuring Lindsey and Phil. We spent a late summer afternoon meandering around Kip’s Castle and had a ton of fun. Here are a few of my favorite photos of the session. If you are ever in the area, try to swing by the castle. You won’t be disappointed.