Northern NJ is so beautiful isn’t it? I grew up in Sussex County and went to college at Montclair which allowed me the opportunity to experience the rich forests, mountains and parks available all over the northern portion of the state! I can understand how difficult it might be to decide on the perfect location for your outdoor family portraits with so many options available to you and all the factors to consider.

In an effort to help you out, I’ve made a list of my top 3 places in Northern NJ to shoot a family session. Here goes…

My favorite locations for family portraits:

  1. Waterloo Village
  2. Saddle River County Park
  3. Ringwood Botanical Garden


Why are these my favorite? Because within each of these parks there is:

  • a variety of beautiful backgrounds to shoot in for a more dynamic session,
  • they look great in every season,
  • they all have public restrooms (you might laugh, but this is super important! haha)
  • they allow you to bring your pets,
  • there are no bright shiny playgrounds in the distance to steal your children’s attention away from the portrait session.


Waterloo Village

Sussex County


This park is located in Byram, NJ conveniently off of rt. 80. It’s a gorgeous park packed with local history – I remember going on field trips here as a kid… anyone else? The first time I used this location for a family portrait session I was blown away by how gorgeous it was and the variety of backdrops available for family portraits! I love coming back here time and time again. There are old buildings, bridges, walkways, rock walls, fields and forests.





Saddle River County Park

Bergen County

Wow! What a big, big, big, amazing park! The part I like to photograph in the most is in Paramus and is filled with gorgeous trees, field, walkways, and water features. I’ve photographed in this park in every season and each time it’s just as gorgeous as before! Parking and restrooms are easy and accessible, and although the park is busy with visitors there’s always a nice place to tuck into to create beautiful family portraits!



Winter Maternity Photos in Woods



Ringwood NJ Botanical Garden

Passaic County


The New Jersey Botanical Garden at Skylands Manor is absolutely beautiful! This property is an estate in Ringwood State Park that has impeccably manicured gardens nestled under the mountains of the forest. No matter what time of year you go you can expect beautiful seasonal flowers and a wide variety of backgrounds such as rock buildings and walls, pathways, forests, and gardens. I’ve truly enjoyed creating family portraits here over the years.

*Note: This location requires a permit, which is an additional fee. (but well worth it!)

So there you have it – those are my three favorite Northern NJ spots. I hope this post was helpful to you in picking out a location!