New York Photography Tips

New York is the worlds most iconic city. Full of famous landmarks and that unmistakable skyline, it is every photographers dream to capture it through the lens. Despite it’s countless photo opportunities it can be tricky to get past all it’s iconic sites to capture something more unique. New York, is after all so much more than just a skyline. If you want to take some extra special photos of New York a bit of thought and preparation is required, especially if you are short on time. My last trip to New York was quite brief as I only had a few days there, which isn’t long given the city’s size I still managed to take an obscene amount of photo’s.  With that in mind, here are my top New York Photography Tips.

New York Photography Tips

Remember your composition rules

It isn’t just about pointing your camera at the Empire State Building and hoping for the best. To make your photo’s look more than just your standard tourist shot you need to really think about composition. Where about you want the focal point of your image to be and what else you want to include in the shot. I often try and introduce things into the foreground and the background to make my photos more interesting. This can be done by taking advantage of objects and people that are in shot. In my photo of the Brooklyn Bridge I have included some branches in the foreground and the skyline adds interest to the background. In other shots I have there is a passing boat that provides interest. Just take advantage of what you can!


Get the big icons out of the way first

No trip to New York would be complete without photographing the likes of the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. They are icons for a reason and everyone should get a photo of them. However, these are the photo’s that everyone has and there are much more unique images to had elsewhere.  Therefore, I would suggest getting these out of the way first to give you time to explore the rest of what the city has to offer. Also, remember to try and think outside the box about when photographing these famous sites!


Explore all your options

An example of this would be the Brooklyn Bridge, there are so many ways you can capture this beautiful bridge. You can get a classic shot from on the bridge but think about different perspectives you can shoot from and tray and focus in on some of the details. You can also go for a walk round Brooklyn and see what other views you can photograph it from. Oh, and don’t forget the other bridges nearby, the Manhattan bridge is just as worthy of your time!

New York Photography Tips

Capture the architecture

I am not just talking about it’s most famous buildings. There is stunning architecture everywhere you go. Whether it be the fabulously Art Deco Chrysler building or something more modern, there are so many wonderful buildings asking to be photographed. Again, think about composition and how to make them look more interesting. An example of this is the above photo where I have photographed the shiny Chrysler Building but got part of the Grand Central Terminal building in the foreground, making a nice contrast and a more interesting image.

High Line New York

Focus on the details

As I have said before New York is not all about fancy buildings and famous statues. There are lot’s of other wonderful things that make this city so awesome. Take a walk and pick out some details, they can be large or small – the key is to just focus on one thing. It can be some street art, a shop window, or something as simple as these trains pictured above. There is always something interesting crying out to be photographed.


Get up early

New York is such a busy city so it pay’s to get up up early when it is much quieter. Not only will you get some photos of the streets without the crowds but, if you get up early enough you can catch a sunrise too. It is a win all round.

Staue of Liberty Sunset

Try and catch as many sunsets and sunrises as you can

The light during and just after the sunset has risen and set is unbeatable. Although you will have to get up early, it is worth it. Try getting up to Top of The Rock for a gorgeous sunset shot of the Empire State Building, or shooting the skyline during the sunset. The buildings look even better when there are glowing in the golden light.

New York Photography Tips

Don’t forget the people

New York city is full of fabulous and interesting people. From buskers to shoppers walking along the street, there is always someone interesting to photograph. Obviously you have to be discreet and in many cases it would be advisable to ask permission first, but on the whole New Yorkers are lovely folk, so don’t be scared.


Get some night shots

New York is famous for being the city that never sleeps and it definitely comes alive at night. As well as getting  your classic night shots of the skyline, I would suggest heading somewhere like Times Square which is full of nightlife. Just don’t forget to take you tripod! Why not checkout my post NYC at Night for more inspiration.


Try a different perspective

This can involve thinking outside the box a little. This could be shooting from a different angle such as from above or below, there are many ways to make your subject matter look more interesting. I was taking a bunch of photos in Central Park and I was a little uninspired by most of them so I started taking photo’s of the reflections in the lake. Not the most original idea I know, but it is a different way of capturing some of New York’s architecture and in the right context can have a great effect.

New York Photography Tips

Stay put for a while

I know I have been harping on about exploring as much as possible but sometimes it pays to stay in one place. Take a seat somewhere and just see what opportunities come your way. This is another great way to capture interesting shots of people. This is what I did with the black and white shot of the Music Hall. I just sat with a cup of coffee and waited for a while, taking a few photo’s here and there. This photo isn’t going to win any prizes but I still feel it captures a certain something about New York so I like it.

I hope you found these tips for photographing New York helpful and don’t forget to check out my other photography trips and New York posts. Let me know below if you have anymore tips for photographing New York!

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  1. Laura Torninoja 2nd December 2016 / 5:28 pm

    I can’t wait to go to New York again! I love that picture of the Empire State Building, so beautiful! Also the pictures of sunsets/sunrises are gooorgeous. x

    Laura // Middle of Adventure

  2. Amber Davey 3rd December 2016 / 9:17 am

    Oh I soooo want to go back to New York now! I was so busy enjoying it when I went I barely took any photos. Did you take that photo of the Empire State Building?! Where did you take it from? Obviously some high up building as well haha, wow! How did you manage a tripod in Times Square?! You have managed to get some really serene shots, not at all how I remember New York. If I go again I will deffo get up early one morning to see a sunrise and explore when its maybe a bit quieter, is New York ever quiet though?

    Amber Love Blog

  3. Stephie @ A Cup Of Creative 3rd December 2016 / 11:23 am

    I don’t have a trip to New York planned anytime soon, but I’m saving these tips for when I go to Lyon next week. Very different city but hopefully there’ll be just as many things to capture! Stephie xx

  4. Lynsey || One More Slice 3rd December 2016 / 2:58 pm

    While I don’t have a trip to New York planned anytime soon, it is a dream destination of mine so maybe one day (fingers crossed) I can use some of these tips. I think I have said it before, but the photo on the bridge is just amazing. The one thing I find about photographing in a city is the feeling of needing to rush – how do you deal with this? xx

  5. danniannie 4th December 2016 / 10:56 pm

    Love this post Sarah! Will definitely keep this in my for my trip next year… going to look at your NYC at night post now 🙂 xo

  6. Mike Still 5th December 2016 / 5:17 am

    I spent so much time in NYC before I fell in love with photography. Now I’ve gotta go back and get up early for some amazing shots rather than stay out all night at the bars!

  7. Jessica 5th December 2016 / 9:45 am

    That sunrise between the buildings is lovely. Did you use a filter to get that star effect?

  8. Lisa 5th December 2016 / 1:38 pm

    Great tips for really any city. I am definitely trying to up my game in the photography area on my blog. Like you, I love taking pictures of unique or older architecture. Your photos are great thanks for sharing!

  9. Anthony Jury 5th December 2016 / 1:50 pm

    If there is one area I have always tried to improve, it is photography. Thank you for this post, you tips are great, not only for New York but of course in general. I’ll be keeping these tips close by for a future guide. By the way, your work is fantastic.

  10. Gokul 6th December 2016 / 5:33 am

    Can it get any better. Best place for urban photography.

  11. SydneyFashionHunter 7th December 2016 / 8:50 am

    This takes me straight back to NYC. So many wonderful memories. Love the shot of Brooklyn Bridge.

  12. Louiela 9th December 2016 / 5:08 am

    I love your photos in NYC… I may not be in the place soon but your tips are really helpful and applicable wherever we are now. Thank you so much. More amazing photos to come…

  13. Agnes Aasmaa 10th December 2016 / 9:37 am

    Beautiful photos! As I am constantly trying to improve myself as a photographer, these tips are very useful to me. Also great to apply in other cities. I hope to visit NY one day so I can put this theory into practice 🙂

  14. Taiss Nowrouzi 10th December 2016 / 9:53 am

    Really helpful tips that can be applied anywhere! I think, for NYC, your suggestions about focusing on details and the people is pretty awesome since it’s so big and so many are already familiar with the famous icons…

  15. Editor-in-Style Good 10th December 2016 / 1:32 pm

    These tips are so helpful! I love New York City and it is important to me to capture the best way possible through the lens. thank you!

  16. Aleks&Boris 12th December 2016 / 8:34 pm

    Wow!!! Your photos are absolutely stunning! And the article compliments them perfectly. I love the tips you gave, especially as a a girl who grew up in the city and loves to take photos that they were spot on. The people are so important!! There are definitely some characters in NY for sure. And the Manhattan bridge is also something to consider. You can actually walk across both of them! Even though, Manhattan is slightly more terrifying. I will definitely be pinning this! Beautiful work!

  17. Camila @ AdventitiousViolet 20th December 2016 / 1:32 am

    Love love love! Beautiful photos and great tips! I’ll be saving this for later 🙂 xx

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