*A Note About Permits!
Any location owned and maintained by Monmouth County requires a permit that I have to procure in advance of our session.
The cost of a permit is $40 per hour. I know it’s steep, but the pricing is effective as of December 2014 and if you don’t have a permit and are accosted by a park staffer you can be asked to leave and end the photo session. If I hear any updates on the permit situation I’ll be shouting from the rooftops!
7 Presidents Beach, Long Branch
7 Presidents is a special beach, isolated from street traffic, calm and safe parking and walking for babies and kids alike, a fantastic new playground, clean showers and bathrooms and the included vistas:
- Evergreen trees surrounding a lush green lawn that’s hopping with bunnies in warm weather
- Big and Giant Rockscapes
- Dune Grass
- Decking and pathways
- Simple sandy beach
- Stone faced buildings to use as additional fun backdrops
There is a $25 travel fee plus the cost of my beach pass and parking for the day ($14). If we get to the beach off season or after 4 pm during the beach season the pass and parking are waived and the light is even better! Beach sessions are best in the earliest am or the far end of the day.
If you prefer your beach shoot to be at a different shoreline destination, we’ll negotiate a different travel and pass fee.
We LOVE LOVE LOVE our beach and garden shots!!!!! Thank you again so much!! love love love!!!! — Jessica Patel
Deep Cut Gardens, Middletown
This public park was once the grand estate of an Italian immigrant who created a place to remind him of his home country.
A horticultural masterwork; Deep Cut features EVERY gardening style you can imagine: stone walls, giant pergola, a massive rose garden maze, endless lush lawns, secret paths, flowering and perennial shrubs, benches, a natural pond and a large koi pond. The gardeners at Deep Cut have maintained every cultural style of garden from Japanese to English and a Bonsai Collection.
Deep Cut also features a teaching garden with herbs, veggies, hidden gnomes, scarecrows, strawberries and special wildflowers. Its large greenhouse is usually open and features annuals and tropicals that can’t come outside until the right time of year. Deep Cut is so beloved that brides from all over New Jersey make it their stop for wedding photos.
For family shoots, Deep Cut is a favorite not just for the variety of photographic backdrops, but because of its ultra-clean bathrooms, small and calm parking lot and indoor water fountain.
Across the street from Deep Cut Gardens is Tatum Park. Pets on a leash are allowed here if you wanted to entertain pet photos. Tatum also features a playground, recreation center and bathrooms.
Both parks feature free admission!
Holmdel Park/Longstreet Farm, Holmdel
Holmdel Park was carved out of historic farmland. It’s sprawling with old growth trees, woodsy paths, two giant playgrounds, and public bathrooms. Dogs are allowed on a leash and it’s a favorite of athletic events so care should be taken to check Holmdel Park’s schedule before planning a shoot there!
Historic Longstreet Farm, is Holmdel’s momma: a 9-acre working 1890s historic farm, which is free to visit and includes a giant pond, endless paths, old growth trees, a large gated arboretum featuring giant boulders, fencing and porches galore. It is not free to shoot pictures at Longstreet, however- a small permit of $14 is required to use the historic bldgs and farmland for your shoot but it is well worth it on a sunny or firey fall day. Kids love to spy on and visit the fat happy farm animals during and after a photo-session here. On weekends period-garbed docents tend the farm and teach visitors about the place, which includes the founders beautifully preserved historic home.
It’s perfect year-round for your family photo shoots, from fall foliage shots to spring shots with baby farm animals in the background.
Free Admission and Parking!
Bayonet Farms, Holmdel
Bayonet Farms is another historic farm set aside as public parkland and community happenings! It’s choc full o’ red barn, blue-gray barn, long winding paths, tractors, fences, pastures, fields and old brickwork. No bathrooms but there’s nothing else like it in the area. In open space, no one can hear your kids scream!
Thompson Park, Lincroft
Monmouth County is thankfully home to so many donated estates and Thompson Park is among the jewels in the crown. A large stately main home features two grand porches which are free to use for your photo session . The surrounding barns and farmhand buildings, gravel roads and riding paths, a gazebo and pond are also available for your session! For a $75 permit fee, the main home’s small but elegant sunroom is available for portraits as well. You can visit Thompson Park a dozen times and still not discover all the beautiful timeless spots it has to offer.
Free admission, $75 permit for sunroom only.
Huber Woods, Holmdel
Another donated estate, Huber Woods is a nature preserve and learning center where it’s common to find great parks and recreation department classes, hayrides, hikes and research ongoing. It also is home to a reptile house, barns, a gorgeous main estate, inexhaustible farm and natural habitats and walking paths; not to forget the waterfront view in this most beatific region of Monmouth County.
Free Admission, shooting on exterior of estate only.
New York City
New York is the Paris of The U.S.A. EVERYwhere you go in the city is ultra cool, grand or beautiful.
I will meet you in New York City for a special session fee of $500 + cab fare from and to the Port Authority (my landing spot) to your chosen starting point a for a 2 hour session.