Steph & Shawn Engagement Session Hartshorne Woods Park NJ

Engagement Session Hartshorne Woods Park

Steph and Shawn’s Engagement Session Hartshorne Woods Park in Atlantic Highlands, NJ, was nothing less than spectacular. These two were a load of fun and I cannot wait to share all these images with you!

I met Steph and Shawn just a few months ago when a friend of mine referred them to me. I reached out to Steph and we hit it off instantly. They told me that they wanted something unique and different for their engagement session. We talked about a few locations as a possibility for their session but in the end, they decided on Hartshorne Woods Park. Engagement Session Hartshorne Woods Park

This place is huge, so big, that you have to drive 10 minutes to get to the other entrance which is closest to the Navesink River. Steph and Shawn had gone there a few days prior and scouted out the place. I am so grateful that they did because although there was a lot to do there, this was the prime location to shoot. The session lasted about 2 hours and it probably could have lasted longer. Engagement Session Hartshorne Woods Park

We got there and the sun was still pretty high, so it made it a little difficult to shoot, but as it started to dip behind the trees, it was the best golden hour lighting that I have had since the beginning of the summer. It is finally feeling like fall sessions and it makes me super excited. The leaves are starting to change and we are getting cooler weather for weddings and engagement sessions. However, for the first day of fall, it was really warm.

I had to get my bearings once we got there, since I was unfamiliar with the place, I wanted to make sure I was starting in the right spot. We started off really simple and eased into the more fun and intimate poses later on. We couldn’t use the dock right away, so we worked the brush on the one side first. Engagement Session Hartshorne Woods Park

Engagement Session Hartshorne Woods Park

I was trying to find the shade to shoot under for the first 30 minutes was like finding a needle in a haystack. Almost near to impossible, but the shade that I was able to find work well. I always try to use the sun to my advantage. I use it as a backlight, sidelight, or front light. However, sometimes it is so direct that it creates harsh shadows, and the images don’t look right. But, as professionals, we make it work and make it look excellent. Engagement Session Hartshorne Woods Park

We even had a little bit of a daredevil moment and walked out on a fallen tree over the side of the hill. It was a bit unsteady but well worth every minute for the cool shots I could get for them. Ugh, they were incredible.

As soon as the sun went down, the images were one word, dreamy! It was in a straw field to the right, a dock straight in front of us, and a beach to the left of us! This location had everything. I highly recommend anyone looking for a one-stop-shop site. Hartshorne Woods Park is the place to go. Engagement Session Hartshorne Woods Park


Steph and Shawn met eachother in the office at work. He is an architect, and she is an interior designer. His office was being re-modeled when he first started, so he sat in the cubicle next to Steph. “I was assigned to show him the standards of the office; little did I know he was planning on stealing my heart over coffee.”

“Every morning, Shawn would always bring us a cup of coffee before we started the day. On my coffee cup, there would always be a sweet note on the bottom- “You make me smile, sweet girl” to eventually “Marry me someday.” There were even the “I love you” messages and some secret code words in between.” If you are wondering why the Rook Coffee cups are significant to their relationship, this is why. So, of course, we had to include the coffee cups and little sayings in the session.

Shawn took Steph to Laurita Winery and then to the movies in June 2016, and the rest is history. They have been inseparable ever since. Steph told me that “When I think back to our journey, we had so many first dates of getting to know each other. Shawn and I started as friends, and we had such a strong friendship that it grew into loving each other completely.” Engagement Session Hartshorne Woods Park

“One date that sticks out to me the most is the day that we spent at Laurita winery drinking wine, watching the sunset, and falling in love. That night he took me to see a movie, and I chose Finding Dory in 3-D. We love all Disney movies, and we laughed all night of how we looked in those 3-D glasses” Finding Dory is one of my favorite Disney Pixar movies, and that scene when Dori finds her parents hit my heart every time. Engagement Session Hartshorne Woods Park

Shawn proposed in Ocean City, New Jersey, in June 2020. This is where they spent weeks in the summer, falling in love. “We had a beautiful day on the beach, boardwalk fun and arcade games, and collecting seashells.”

It was a beautiful evening to walk the beach and collect seashells. We didn’t have a bucket handy, so we were putting them in our pockets. He then stopped and said that he saw shells to pick up. And that’s when he decided to get down on one knee.”

Shawn then said that he had a present for Steph that he had made and that he would have to go and grab it from the car. He returned with this wooden shadowbox he made that had a collage of their coffee cups he had saved from their journey of falling in love. “The college even had the bottom of the cup that said, “Marry me.” He had kept all the bottoms to the coffee cups of our love journey.” Engagement Session Hartshorne Woods Park

They are most excited about sharing their wedding day with all the people they love the most in the world and starting a family and building the house of their dreams. They will be getting married in June 2021 at Brandywine Manor House.


“Love by Coffee”


“Friendship, Supportive, Passionate, Values, and Selfless”


Lulus & Macy’s – Clothing

Etsy – Wedding Date Sign

Amazon – Blanket, Basket

Rook Coffee – Coffee Cups

If you’re engaged or if you know anyone who is engaged and is looking for an Engagement Photographer Atlantic Highlands, NJ, or a Wedding Photographer, please CONTACT ME.