Capturing Love: An Enchanting Engagement Shoot at Harkness Memorial Park

Harkness Memorial Park in Waterford, Connecticut, is a hidden gem for engagement shoots. Its sprawling 230-acre estate offers an enchanting backdrop that blends gardens, a historic mansion, expansive lawns, and pristine beaches. When Noelle and Travis, winners of one of my engagement shoot giveaways, chose this picturesque park for their engagement photos, I knew we were in for a memorable experience.

The Magic of Harkness Memorial Park

Harkness Memorial Park, located on the scenic shores of Long Island Sound, is a destination where history, nature, and romance converge. The park was once the summer estate of Edward and Mary Harkness, prominent philanthropists of the early 20th century. Today, it is a public space that welcomes visitors to explore its beautifully preserved grounds and structures.

The park's variety is one of its greatest assets. From the grandeur of Eolia, the Harkness mansion, to the tranquility of the manicured gardens, every corner of the park offers a unique setting for photography. The wide lawns provide open spaces perfect for playful and candid shots, while the shoreline offers stunning vistas, especially during sunset.

A Picnic to Start the Shoot

When Noelle and Travis arrived with a pizza for a pre-shoot picnic, it was clear this session would be as personal and relaxed as it was beautiful. Incorporating a picnic into the engagement shoot was a brilliant idea, reflecting the couple's love for casual, intimate moments. We found a cozy spot under the stunning golden hour light, where they spread out a blanket and opened their pizza box.

As they enjoyed their meal, I began capturing the candid moments that unfolded. Noelle's laughter as Travis tried to feed her a slice, the way they looked at each other with pure affection, and their playful interactions set a joyful tone for the rest of the shoot. These candid shots were perfect for highlighting their personalities and the genuine connection they share.

Exploring the Gardens

After the picnic, we moved to the gardens. Harkness Memorial Park is renowned for its diverse and meticulously maintained gardens. From the vibrant colors of the flowerbeds to the serene greens of the hedge mazes, the gardens offer a multitude of backdrops.

Noelle and Travis strolled hand in hand along the winding paths, stopping occasionally to admire the blooms. I captured shots of them walking, talking, and simply enjoying each other's company.

Sunset at the Beach

As the day drew to a close, we headed to the beach to catch the sunset. The beach at Harkness Memorial Park is a serene and picturesque location, perfect for capturing the golden hour's magical light. The gentle waves and soft sand created a peaceful atmosphere, allowing Noelle and Travis to relax and enjoy the moment.

They walked along the shoreline, the setting sun casting a warm glow on their faces. I captured them against the vibrant colors of the sky, creating dramatic and visually stunning images. The beach provided a perfect ending to the shoot, with the natural beauty of the surroundings enhancing the couple's love story.

Tips for a Perfect Shoot at Harkness Memorial Park

Harkness Memorial Park is a popular spot for photography, especially during weekends. To avoid crowds and ensure a more intimate experience, I recommend scheduling shoots during the week. Early mornings or an hour before sunset are ideal times to take advantage of the softer light and fewer visitors.

The park's variety means you can capture a wide range of shots without having to travel far. Plan your shoot to include different areas of the park, from the gardens and mansion to the lawns and beach, to make the most of the diverse settings.


Photographing Noelle and Travis's engagement shoot at Harkness Memorial Park was an unforgettable experience. The park's stunning landscapes and diverse backdrops provided endless opportunities for beautiful and unique photos. From their joyful picnic to the romantic sunset walk on the beach, every moment was a testament to their love and connection.

For couples looking for a location that offers both natural beauty and historical charm, Harkness Memorial Park is an excellent choice. Whether you're planning an engagement shoot, a wedding, or simply a day out, this park is sure to enchant and inspire.