Without doubt one of the most photographed cities in the world is New York City. Endless skyscrapers offer the perfect opportunity for the camera enthusiast to capture those breathtaking cityscape photographs, whilst the unique chaotic nature of day-to-day life amongst the Big Apple’s streets makes for a fantastic street photography location. Add to the mix what seems like endless amounts of bridges offering up great vantage points over the city, colourful parks providing you with a dash of greenery and a city that never sleeps leaving you with all the ingredients for the perfect photography location.
No doubt you will have seen many iconic photographs from around the city, but where should you go for the perfect photograph opportunities?
Whilst I’m not stating that these are the best locations they are some of my favourites due to the variety and diversity of photos that you can capture. If you are looking to add variety to your photography for your visit to NYC then these locations could be what you are looking for. So without further ado here in no particular order are 6 of my favourite NYC photography locations.
The Manhattan Bridge- now I know I said that this was in no particular order but this is probably my favourite location in New York. I could stand up on the bridge for hours watching the world go by below me. I love the old ramshackle feel and street look of the bridge with the way that it vibrates when the trains career behind you, making for those perfect urban street photographs. The bridge also offers up great views of the Brooklyn Bridge and Lower Manhattan.
Times Square- now admittedly Times Square is a tourist trap and a place that locals try to avoid no end, but that doesn’t mean that you should avoid going there with your camera. It is still a pretty impressive place and, due to its hectic nature, endless amounts of neon lights and the vastness of this part of the city, it makes for an excellent place to walk round and take photos. Try to get there early in the morning before the sun has come up and you can enjoy this place mostly to yourself, with the exception of a few people walking through making for the perfect subjects to capture in your photographs set against that epic backdrop. If you time it when there is rain then you can have great fun shooting and chasing reflections.
China Town- a simply unique and intriguing place to visit. A city within a city, so vibrant and full of colour, the streets make for fantastic street photography. With something happening on every corner, the hustle of China town can provide you with endless hours of fun shooting with your camera.
Gantry Plaza State park and Long Island City Piers (Queens)- all the best views of the Manhattan skyline are enjoyed from across the other side of the East River and these two locations provide the perfect place for you to capture some great cityscapes of Manhattan. Especially impressive early in the morning or late in the evening when the sun is rising or setting, as it allows you to capture an array of colours lighting up the sky over the city’s skyscrapers. The great thing about these two locations is that they never get overly busy, leaving you with plenty of room to set up a tripod if you so wish and shoot away until your heart is content.
Radio City Music Hall- the streets and roads in and around this area are a melting pot of activity; add into the mix the large neon sign from the music hall and you have a great backdrop for photographs. I find this location especially fun when it is raining as the umbrellas start to come out and the Radio City sign reflects off the road as the yellow taxis and people scamper by.
Central Park- although a rather obvious choice, it is no doubt somewhere you should look to explore with your camera. Full of life, this vast piece of greenery in an otherwise concrete jungle is especially beautiful in the fall where the colours really come out to play and provide your photographs with that colourful pop that only leaf peeping season provides.
The best times to shoot in NYC- I love shooting NYC in the rain and at night. The colours and reflections are so rich in these conditions whilst you can really utilise the city’s chaotic nature and catch some great candid shots. You really get that moody Gotham City look that just adds another element to the photos allowing you to really utilise those cooler colour tones. Early morning is another favourite time of mine to shoot as there is less traffic and more freedom to manoeuvre and set up where you want.
The best time to visit New York- this is a difficult one as it really depends on individual preference. New York is a city that can be enjoyed in any season but, having been multiple times, I would plump for either autumn or winter. Whilst autumn is a no-brainier as the colours and mild conditions make for a perfect time to visit, winter might have raised a few eyebrows but allow me to explain. Yes, winter can be extremely cold and you can get some pretty extreme weather, but it is also the least busy time of year regarding tourists. Indeed, if you can time your visit when there is snow, then you are going to get some pretty spectacular photos that not only capture those beautiful white snow flakes, but will also enhance them with an empty look that is normally missing from a city of 8 million inhabitants along with the countless tourists which make it one of the most popular tourist destinations on the planet. This is after all a guide for photography so we shall keep that as our main reasoning for our visit. You will also find that, during January and February, accommodation and flights are at their lowest, allowing you to pick up some real bargains to an otherwise expensive destination.
So that is six of my favourite photo locations in NYC. What do you think? leave a comment if you have a favourite NYC photo location that you like to shoot. Next time you venture to New York why not take your camera and try these locations out and see what you can create?
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