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New York City is one of the most photographic cities in the world. You’ve got the obvious: Times Square, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building. But what about those lesser-known areas? New York City is a big place, containing countless neighborhoods and boroughs with great photo potential.

Whether you’re planning a trip to the Big Apple anytime soon or you live there and are just looking for new places to photograph, break out of the box and explore some of NYC’s other gems.

Prospect Park

prospect park nycCentral Park is nice, but if you’re looking for something a little more off the beaten path, cross the Brooklyn Bridge and discover Prospect Park. Depending on where you go within the park, you can snap shots of a variety of different things— drum circles, kids on a carousel, concerts, even a scenic lake. The best time to go? During autumn. Any park is made ten times lovelier by changing leaves. Find one of the many bridges in Prospect Park, and get to shooting.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Williamsburg BrooklynFor those who don’t actually live in New York, Brooklyn can seem like an entirely different universe. When visiting the big city for the first – or even second – time, it’s hard to squeeze in all the sights, so most people like to just hit up the tourist spots. If this sounds like you, let me clue you in on something wonderful: Williamsburg is teeming with brilliant art just begging to have its picture taken.

Williamsburg is one of Brooklyn’s many neighborhoods and is recognized as a sort of indie hub, so it’s no surprise that beautiful graffiti can be found around every corner. Use this hidden gem destination to take some portraits. Perhaps have your subject position themselves a few feet in front of the art and set your f/stop to the lowest setting to create a shallow depth of field. This will blur out the art in the background, resulting in a colorful, yet crisp portrait.

The High Line

The High Line in New York CityA few feet above the ground, The High Line is a 1.45-mile pathway made up of a disused railroad track, situated between the Meatpacking District and the West Side Yard on 34th Street. This trail offers a different view of the city and the Hudson River that other locations just can’t, so if you’re planning on visiting, definitely bring along your camera. If there was a storm earlier in the day, chances are you might be graced with a pretty spectacular sunset, which is always worth capturing a shot of. Find out what time the sunset is happening, and head to The High Line.

Little Italy/Chinatown

Dragon in Chinatown NYC for Lunar New YearLittle Italy and Chinatown might not qualify as hidden gems, but they’re too photogenic not to include on this list. Nestled in Manhattan, these two neighborhoods are teeming with culture and crowded streets. If you need a reason to visit these two places, see it as an excuse to practice some long exposure. Position your camera on a tripod and use a timer to ensure your camera is completely still, and capture the movement of the crowd with the stationary city behind them.

The entire city

Really, when it comes to photography in NYC, the whole city is a hidden gem if you keep your eyes open. Something as simple as an alleyway or a set of dilapidated stairs can turn into a photographic masterpiece if you frame it right.

AlleyWay New York City by Henri Cartier Bresson
Henri Cartier-Bresson

Famous photographer and father of photojournalism Henri Cartier-Bresson was the king of framing a photo. With the aid of an alleyway, a simple, straight on shot of a man sitting down becomes instantly intriguing and aesthetically pleasing.

While these hidden gems are perfect destinations for a photoshoot, we’re not writing off the tourist spots. Times Square and the Statue of Liberty really can elicit some beautiful photos. Just don’t forget to give some lesser-known places a chance.

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