New York City is already a naturally picturesque place. But add in the winter holidays, the most picturesque time of the year, and you’re guaranteed some spectacular photos.
While locations like the ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center, the Empire State Building, and Radio City Music Hall are beautiful places to take holiday photos, they’re also a little overdone. If you’re looking for something slightly out of the ordinary for capturing the essence of the Christmas season, you’ll have to be up for getting a little creative and visiting some not-quite-as-popular (but still widely known and easy to find) locations.
New York City is practically synonymous with artificial; the skyscrapers and minimal trees don’t make the city the best place to snap photos for nature lovers. Fortunately, there’s a hidden gem in East Midtown that should appease any outdoor fanatic looking to add a little nature to their holiday photos.
Greenacre Park boasts a 25-foot waterfall that, even when frozen up during the winter, can be a perfect spot for some holiday photos. Set the scene by having your subject wear cozy sweaters and even some kitschy head gear if they’re up for it. Wrap some garland around your subjects, or lay it at their feet. You can turn any spot in New York into a perfect holiday photo location with the right attire and accessories.
Located on the Upper East Side, this quaint restaurant doesn’t mess around when it comes to decorating for Christmas. It already holds a cozy atmosphere, so naturally the string lights and garland gift it even more charm.
Whether you’re recently engaged, have been married for a long time, or just have a special someone you’d like to have more pictures with, Serendipity is the best location for some sweet, romantic photos. Share one of their famous hot chocolates with your significant other, have someone snap some photos, and prepare to make your friends and family slightly jealous of how adorable you guys are.
Chances are if you’ve been to the Radio City Music Hall during the holidays, you’ve seen the decorations on Sixth Avenue. If you haven’t, visiting this area is a must-do in order to get the perfect holiday pictures. The larger-than-life Christmas ornaments make for the perfect backdrop for family portraits.
Once you’ve snapped some photos around the giant decorations on Sixth Avenue, you might be compelled to pay a visit to the ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center. However, as any New Yorker knows, Rockefeller Center during the holidays can be a bit of a nightmare. Try heading about ten blocks south instead to shoot some photos at the less crowded Bryant Park ice skating rink.
If anyone knows how to do it big during the holidays, it’s the shop, restaurant, and home owners of the Little Italy district. Expect to see an abundance of windows and walls decked out with lights. Grab a bite to eat or a drink with your friend at the most festive restaurant you can find, take a seat outside, and have someone take some of what I like to call “purposefully candid” photos.
Obviously it’s best to take photos of Little Italy at night when everything is all lit up, so having equipment that will help support your camera, like a tripod, works best for this situation. Unfortunately, the streets of Little Italy can get quite crowded, especially during the holidays, so setting up a tripod might not be the best idea. This is when something like a monopod would come in handy. Monopods are relatively cheap, easy to use, and are much more portable than tripods.
When decorating for the holidays, most restaurants will throw up a little garland here and some string lights there, but Lillie’s Victorian Establishment in Times Square goes all out. At this eatery, you’ll find decorations galore, which, when mixed with their already eclectic decor, makes for perfect photo ops.
Just make sure you’re in the know of indoor photo-taking techniques so your shots don’t end up too dark and blurry. If you’re shooting pictures of people inside of Lillie’s, try placing them near an open window or door to allow natural light into the photo. If you find that your photos are still coming out blurry even when placing your subject near a window, shoot in “P” (Program) mode and try increasing your ISO setting.