As a photographer who has lived in New York City for close to 2 years, I’ve had plenty of time to discover many spots where you can capture an amazing photo. Every season gives a scene a different aesthetic, and every neighborhood has something new to offer.

If you’re planning a trip to New York and want to know where you should go to get drool-worthy images of the city, here are all the best photo locations in NYC plus tips on how you can get the perfect shot.


Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge may be one of the more touristy locations in New York, but the views are worth it. Start on the Brooklyn side (which is much less busy than the Manhattan side), and shoot up through the wires that lead to the pylons and/or looking back at the city skyline. Sunset provides perfect lighting for photographers, but the bridge can get crowded at that time. If you want the bridge mostly to yourself, go as early in the morning as possible. Golden hour after sunrise is perfect.


Manhattan Bridge

The Manhattan Bridge provides just as many photo opportunities. If you walk onto the bridge from the Manhattan side, you’ll get some really neat views such as the one above of FDR Drive (the highway that lines the East River) and the streets around Two Bridges. The Manhattan Bridge is somewhat shaky, since the trains that run over it create vibrations, so try taking photos when there’s still some light in the sky as a tripod may not be much help.


DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass)

My number one location for photos of the New York City skyline is DUMBO. The waterfront area of Brooklyn Bridge Park on the East River provides the best views of Manhattan, especially if you head over just before sunset on a clear day. On your way into DUMBO, walk down Washington Street and stand in between Front Street and Water Street, then look back towards the river. You'll catch an amazing shot of the Manhattan Bridge lined up between the buildings.


Central Park

Central Park has myriad locations. Bethesda Fountain and Terrace are probably the most popular spots for photos, but my favorite is Bow Bridge, which has a secret photo spot that not many people know about. If you're walking to Bow Bridge from Bethesda, take a little unmarked dirt path on your right just before you get to the bridge. This leads to a rock which you can stand on to get the above shot.


Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station narrowly escaped being demolished in the mid-1970s, so we are lucky to have this beautiful building still standing in Midtown Manhattan. There are numerous spots in the station to get excellent photos, but the Main Concourse stands out as the best. Head up the staircases at either end of the Main Concourse for the classic shot of this historic landmark.


Rockefeller Center

If you want to get photos of New York City from above, the observation deck at Rockefeller Center has arguably the best views. You can see the Empire State Building and One World Trade Center to the south, and Central Park to the north. Another bonus is that the large glass panels that surround the viewing area have gaps that are just wide enough to fit a camera lens through, so you won’t have anything obstructing your shot.


Flatiron Building

The Flatiron Building is one of my favorite buildings in New York. This narrow triangular-shaped building can be a challenge to photograph because of its size, but if you have a wide-angle lens and stand on Broadway or 5th Avenue near Madison Square Park, you should be able to get a great shot. Be sure to get a close up of the building as well, as the exterior has some wonderfully intricate designs.


Gantry Plaza State Park

Gantry Plaza State Park is a quiet park in Long Island City that provides some of the best views of Manhattan. Sunset is a great time to be in the park as you can watch the city light up as the sky gets darker.


Staten Island Ferry

The Staten Island Ferry provides great views of the south end of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. The ferry departs from Battery Park approximately every half hour and is 100% free. It can get very busy with tourists, especially in the summer, so try taking it early in the morning to avoid crowds. Stick to the right-hand side of the boat for the best views of the Statue of Liberty, or the back of the boat for some remarkable views of the Manhattan skyline.