New York City is by far, one of our most favorite locations for engagement sessions and wedding day portraits. The entire landscape is rich and vibrant; from food, to architecture, to colors and…did I mention food? Whether you’re looking for something timeless and classic, or something fun & whimsical, New York City’s got you covered. If you’re planning your engagement session or wedding day portraits and you have no clue where to start, we’ve compiled a shortlist of 3 of the most popular photo locations in and around New York City, including key landmarks, our favorite routes, and best times to visit. So what are you waiting for? Let’s dive right in!
Favorite route: Bethesda Arcade >> Bethesda Fountain >> Bow Bridge >> The Mall
Why we love it: Central Park is as quintessential as you can get, when it comes to photo locations in NYC. We normally start our Central Park engagement sessions under the arches of the Bethesda Arcade, as we work our way to the Bethesda Fountain and the Bow Bridge. All of the key landmarks are a 5-10 walk from one another. Central Park is perfect for couples looking for a timeless and classic backdrop to their images, as well as the convenience of having everything closeby.
Tips & Tricks: Start your engagement session at 8am (or earlier), because the tourists and tour buses will arrive by 9am. If you can shoot on a weekday morning, that would be even better (because selfie sticks in your photos are no fun!). For those lovebirds who are feeling a little bit extra romantic, you could also rent a rowboat nearby at the Loeb Boathouse for about $15/hour. When photographing your wedding photos here, keep in mind that most of the key landmarks are at least a 15 minutes walk from any of the main streets that surround the park – so plan accordingly!
How to get there: Whether you’re coming from 5th Ave or Central Park West, the 72nd Street entrances will get you the closest to where you’ll want to be. Street parking is usually pretty easy to find on the West Side, on any of the side streets between Columbus Ave and Central Park West (especially early in the morning). Parking garages are plentiful on either side of the park. Early bird rates will usually apply (another reason to start your engagement session early in the morning!).
Favorite route: Brooklyn Bridge Park >> Jane’s Carousel >> York Street
Why we love it: As a Brooklyn native myself, I might be a tad bit partial to Brooklyn (pizzas and cheesecakes notwithstanding). But nevertheless, nothing is more iconic than the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges against the backdrop of the NYC skyline – and many of our clients would agree. DUMBO is perfect for couples looking for some iconic NYC imagery, filled with romance, a splash of color and sounds of cobblestones under your feet. The shooting locations here will be slightly more spread out, but everything is still very walkable overall. Just remember to bring your comfy shoes!
Tips & Tricks: Like Central Park, you’ll want to start shooting here at 8am or earlier, to avoid the crowds along the waterfront. Sunset over the Manhattan skyline is also pretty gorgeous, but you’ll have to contend with scores of other folks who may also be getting in your shot (especially during the warmer months). We generally start our session near the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory and work our way along the waterfront towards the Statue of Liberty. There are some photo opportunities once you get to the end, near the Granite Prospect, as well as the Harbor View Lawn. If you work your way towards the opposite direction (towards theManhattan Bridge), be sure not to miss The Max Family garden on New Dock Street and Jane’s Carousel along the waterfront (Pro Tip: at the time of this writing, they will allow you to photograph there without a permit, but no heels allowed!) Other popular spots in this area include the intersection of Washington and Water Streets, as well as Plymouth Street (between Washington & Main). If you have time, you’ll find some bright, colorful wall murals along York Street, between Washington and Jay Streets.
How to get there: Street parking is generally pretty plentiful along York Street. There is also a parking garage on Park & Main (across the street from the Starbucks – in case you guys need to change outfits).
The High Line & Meatpacking District
Favorite route: The High Line Park >> Meatpacking >> Chelsea >> West Village
Why we love it: It’s all about the clean lines and colors you’ll find here in Chelsea, along with a mix of brownstone stoops and cobblestone streets thrown in for good measure. You’ll find cafes, eateries, and trendy restaurants abound, with pleasant surprises lurking around every corner. For folks looking for something a little bit different from your popular fare, The High Line Park (and it’s surrounding neighborhoods) may be a perfect fit for you.
Tips & Tricks: Before heading to the High Line, check out the facade of the Whitney Museum, on the corner of Gansevoort St. & West St. We usually start our sessions on the corner of Gansevoort St. & Washington St., right at the entrance of the High Line. Once on the High Line, work your way to 18th Street, which will allow you to hit all the key spots along this route. Be sure you don’t miss the High Line Observation Deck, as well as the funky wooden benches on train wheels. As you work your way through Meatpacking towards West Village, you’ll find no shortage of colorful storefronts and cobblestone streets. Once in West Village, get yourself lost in any one of the side streets, particularly Perry Lane and Bank Street. If you have time, be sure to enjoy some quiet time at St. Luke In the Fields Garden and The Cherry Lane Theatre.
How to get there: Street parking is notoriously difficult past 9am, so we generally aim to start by 8am here as well. There are some parking lots nearby, but they’re also egregiously expensive. I would recommend either taking an Uber, cabbing it, or taking the subway to the 14th Street Station.