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Travel Tip: Photography in New York City

Some tips, do's and don'ts for taking photographs in New York City.


New York City is an especially photogenic city. There are so many different styles of architecture and landmarks that are visually attractive. Whether you want to take photos as a method of documenting your trip and sharing on social media or you are a photographer looking to create work for your portfolio, there are endless photographic opportunities in NYC.

Photography in general and street photography more specifically are legal in all public places in NYC so long as you are not obstructing traffic or sidewalks. My number one rule is be respectful. Remember that people live here. Don't block the sidewalks. Tripods are to be used with that in mind. Use them with caution. 

There are many popular attractions to photograph in the city. Those include Central Park, Times Square, the Brooklyn Bridge and Grand Central Terminal. To use a tripod in Grand Central Terminal you will need to obtain a permit from the stationmaster's office. No worry, it's free. But they are limited to off-peak hours. 

Some of the most common photos of NYC are taken from Dumbo, Brooklyn at sunset. You can also obtain beautiful sunset photos from other locations in Brooklyn, Queens and New Jersey as well. If you go to Brooklyn Bridge Park to take sunset photos, get there early as you won't be the only person there and be patient if you're looking for the dynamic colors. They happen a little later than most people wait for.

Most photographers agree that the best observation deck for photos is the Top of the Rock in Rockefeller Center. You can of course get a different view from the other observation decks. That said, you may want to go to one of the many rooftop bars in the city. Just do a Google search and you'll find many and most are open all year round. Also, you can get some great photos from the upper deck of the East River or Hudson River Ferry while also using an alternative method to get around the city.

My preference is to photograph in the neighborhoods off the beaten path. The neighborhoods have real character and are very different from midtown Manhattan. You can choose to do them on your own or you can choose to do a photo tour with someone that knows the neighborhoods and photography as well. You are likely to see and learn things that you wouldn't normally! That's what I do for a living! Happy shooting!