Known as “The Big Apple,” New York, NY is home to some of the greatest landmarks and sites to photograph. From a prominent skyline to beautiful streets and alleyways, there is no shortage of scenes that are sure to make for the best shot. And with five boroughs, there are many beautiful places to see and explore. Whether you’re a local renting an apartment in Chelsea or a tourist visiting the city for a week, there are many places that you need to check out. To help you get started, we reached out to experts to highlight their favorite New York City photo spots to visit in and around the city. Read below to see what they had to say.
Manhattan is the most densely populated of the five boroughs and is considered a financial and commercial epicenter of the world. It is surrounded by the Hudson River to the west and the East River to the right. There are many distinct neighborhoods in Manhattan including SoHo, Gramercy Park, West Village, Upper East Side, Financial District, and Chelsea. It’s also home to famous sites like Central Park, the Empire State Building, the High Line, One World Trade Center, and Little Island.
Bethesda Fountain and Terrace
Located on the Southshore of Central Park, Bethesda Fountain is one of the largest fountains in New York City. The fountain lies in Bethesda Terrace, a large, iconic plaza with two levels that offer sweeping views of the park. Here you’ll find people relaxing, admiring the beautiful architecture, or looking at the surrounding scenery.
Our favorite New York City photo spot is right in the heart of Central Park at the Bethesda Fountain and Terrace. This area is Central Park at its best with blossoms at different parts of the year, beautiful architecture, and stonework that make for amazing lighting and composition. The other benefit is how close it is to The Mall, another iconic area of the park, and the opportunity to see the skyline of New York City in the background – it truly allows for a variety of quintessential NYC views all within a short walk. – Alex + Jess Photography
Central Dr. & West 59th St.
Located near Columbus Circle and Pulitzer Fountain, Central Dr. and West 59th St. serve as an entryway in Central Park with views of large residential skyscraper buildings and beautiful trees surrounding the park’s perimeter.
My favorite New York City photo spot is just inside central park entering Center Dr. from W. 59th St. If you walk up about a quarter-mile on your left there is a small outcropping of rocks that sit a little higher than the rest of the landscape. When the sun is setting you get some really amazing colors reflecting on the skyscrapers along Seventh Ave and since you are up higher you avoid the crowds in the background of the imagery. – Theo Milo Photography
Doyers St. in Chinatown
A popular street in the Chinatown neighborhood of Lower Manhattan, Doyers St. is filled with beautiful, colorful murals that blanket the road. The street is also known for being a block with sharp angles.
There are too many good photo spots in NYC, but one of my favorites is Doyers St. in Chinatown. It is a very short walking street so you won’t be dodging cars, just tourists and locals walking through. I love how it shows off NYC in one compact setting. – Isabelle Selby Photography
SoHo (South of Houston Street) is a neighborhood in Manhattan known for its shopping, art galleries, and luxury boutiques. There are also many delicious restaurants such as Pepe Rosso, King, and Fanelli’s Cafe.
Looking to take photos surrounded by European-style architectural wonders and get that New York City high-class or fashion vibe in your photos? Be sure to check out SoHo. One of my favorite streets is the cross streets of Greene St. & Broome St. – Suess Moments
When I hit the streets of New York City for a day of street photography, I immediately find myself in SoHo. The streets are alive with culture and movement. If I’m looking for the flavor of NYC, I’ll photograph Washington Square Park and everyone in it. You’re always going to find interesting subjects there. – Joe D’Agostino Photography
The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library is the second-largest public library system in the United States. There are over 92 locations to choose from. However, The Stephen A. Schwartzman Building is the flagship building located in Bryant Park.
I love photographing outside the New York Public Library because it is an iconic New York landmark and features incredible old-world architecture. The stone used in the space is perfect for portraits because it’s a relatively bright, neutral tone which is ideal for lighting. It’s a big enough space to move around in, although it is always important to keep in mind that this is in a public space and working library. – Julia Luckett
Fort Tyron Park
Home to Manhattan’s largest dog run, Fort Tyron Park is filled with unique architecture, beautiful trees, and water views. The park also has igneous intrusions and glacial striation from the last ice age.
Fort Tyron Park was designed in 1935 for Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. and offers the perfect mix of architecture, nature, and views that makes this place the perfect shooting spot. In Fort Tyron, you can find the most excellent green areas, with giant trees that give you the feeling of being lost in the woods, The Cloisters, which European style gives you a background that you can not find easily in NYC, and views of the Hudson River. If you’re looking for a cool, engaging, and different place in the city, look no further and make a quick trip to Fort Tyron Park. – Celeste Hernandez
Separated from Manhattan by the East River, Brooklyn is a beautiful borough known for its coffee shops, bars, restaurants, and beautiful art galleries. Prominent neighborhoods include Williamsburg, Bushwick, Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Park Slope, Bedford-Stuyvesant, and Dumbo. There are many places to check out for a photo opportunity including Domino Park, The Brooklyn Botanical Garden, and Coney Island.
Red Hook is a seaside neighborhood in Brooklyn filled with bars, art galleries, and sweeping views of the New York harbor.
We love Red Hook in Brooklyn as a location for family photography because it mixes several great looks. You have a waterfront, the old industrial remnants of cobble-stoned streets and brick warehouses, and the funky backdrops provided by Red Hook’s artistic community. Red Hook features a rich set of textures and backgrounds that define a strong ambiance for the picture. – Stylish & Hip Kids Photography
Located between the Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Flatbush, Windsor Terrace, and Prospect Lefferts Gardens neighborhoods, Prospect Park is an urban park that provides goers many activities from barbecuing to sports to boating.
As a Brooklyn child portrait photographer, a favorite place of mine for outdoor portrait sessions is Prospect Park. I love that there are so many places you can use in that one park for beautiful portraits. Children can run wild and explore and you can still get beautiful portraits of them. Prospect Park Lake is a great place as it’s a huge scenic area where you can get beautiful sunset children’s photos. Finding all the different old arches in Prospect Park is a wonderful way to explore the park. Some of these arches are as old as the park. – Andria Lancaster Photography
One of my favorite New York City photo spots is Prospect Park. It is the best park in the 5 boroughs. It’s wild, natural, and perfect. – Joe Curry Photography
Dumbo is a neighborhood in Brooklyn known for its views of the Manhattan skyline, beautiful waterfront, and cobblestone streets. It is situated next to the Brooklyn Bridge and gets its name (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) from The Manhattan Bridge which runs through the neighborhood.
The best photography spot in New York City is nothing other than Dumbo, Brooklyn. The most iconic backdrop for your family photos with amazing views of the Manhattan skyline, cobblestone streets, views of both Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, a 100-year-old Janes Carousel, and various graffiti murals. All of these beautiful and unique spots will make your photoshoot in New York so much more memorable. – A Lime Green Dream Photography
My favorite New York City photo spot is The Max Family Garden in the Dumbo neighborhood of Brooklyn. It’s a small partially enclosed park with greenery and nice old brick walls and other features. It’s a great place for portraits and lifestyle photos of individuals and families. I also love that it’s right by the Dumbo waterfront and close to many other options for shooting around the neighborhood. – Natural Studio NYC
The Brooklyn Bridge is a hybrid cable-stayed and suspension bridge designed by John A. Roebling, spanning the East River connecting Manhattan to Brooklyn.
My favorite place in NYC, to walk and photograph families, graduates, and couples in love at sunrise and sunset, is the Brooklyn Bridge. – Flash Me NY Photography
Coney Island is a neighborhood in Brooklyn that is known for its beach, boardwalk, and attractions. The neighborhood is home to an amusement area with over 45 rides and attractions and is the perfect day trip from New York City during the summer.
One of my favorite New York City photo spots is Coney Island in Brooklyn. It is a place full of color and surprises, elements which are key for getting nice street shots. – David Bacher
Queens is located next to Brooklyn and has the largest area of any of the five boroughs. This borough is also one of the most diverse and is home to neighborhoods such as Astoria, Long Island City, Flushing, and Forest Hills. Some sites you can check out in Queens include the MoMA PS1, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, and Citi Field.
Gantry Plaza Park
Gantry Plaza Park is a 12-acre riverside park with breathtaking views of Manhattan, especially the Empire State Building. There are many things to do at Gantry Plaza Park such as playing on the playgrounds, roaming the boardwalk, or playing sports.
We love to photograph clients at Gantry Plaza Park for modern boardwalks and epic views of the Manhattan skyline. The park has recently been extended with even more beautiful settings. This spot is a favorite for clients visiting from out of town, and also Manhattanites who want to feature the unique backdrops of NYC. – Michael Kormos Photography
Staten Island is the southernmost borough and is connected to Lower Manhattan via the Staten Island Ferry or car. While a more suburban borough than its counterparts, there are many great things to check out in Staten Island such as the Staten Island Zoo, Staten Island Museum, and South Beach. Staten Island is home to a diverse group of neighborhoods like Todt Hill, Livingston, Oakwood Beach, and St. George.
High Rock Park
High Rock Park features beautiful water features like ponds and a swamp. There are many beautiful walking trails wherein you can take stunning photos of animals like ducks, herons, frogs, and turtles. High Rock Park is considered a designated National Environmental Education Landmark.
Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden
Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden boast beautiful wetlands, a botanical garden, and a cultural center, all situated on 83-acres. There are many interesting buildings with unique architecture that features styles such as Greek Revival, Renaissance Revival, and Italianate style.
Filled with a rich history, the Bronx is the third most densely populated borough and is separated from Manhattan by the Harlem River. The Bronx holds neighborhoods like Riverdale, Pelham Bay, and Fordham and sites such as the Bronx Zoo, Yankee Stadium, and New York Botanical Garden.
New York Botanical Garden
Located on 250 acres, the New York Botanical Garden is home to over 1 million flowers and plants ranging from Daffodils to Azaleas to Magnolias. This is the perfect place to take pictures if you want to get some color in your photos. The Garden was established in 1891 and is situated in Bronx Park.
Wave Hill Public Garden & Cultural Center
Another garden filled with beautiful flowers and breathtaking views, Wave Hill Public Garden & Cultural Center is a 28-acre estate that overlooks the Hudson River and the New Jersey Palisade. What makes this place great is the beautiful trails filled with lush greenery set amongst a neo-Georgian stone mansion.
Around New York City
The NYC Ferry
The New York City Ferry offers 6 routes and 2 seasonal routes taking riders to places like Rockaway, St. George, Astoria, and South Brooklyn.
One of my favorite New York City photo spots is not in just one location – The NYC Ferry. Whether you’re taking it from DUMBO to Wall Street Pier 11 or Pier 6 Brooklyn Bridge Park over to Governors Island, there’s always going to be an incredible view. Plus they have bathrooms, outlets, air conditioning, and they serve snacks & alcohol, a combo that is a NYC photographer’s dream. I’ve brought my couples on the Ferry a bunch of times and it’s always a hit. Who wouldn’t want a ride for just $2.75? – Leandra Creative Co. Photography
Experts Share Their Favorite New York City Photo Spots is written by Ryan Castillo for www.redfin.com