Central New York has always been bustling with hundreds upon hundreds of people. This reality made the world-renowned city almost synonymous with incredible street photographs that capture people from all walks of life juxtaposed with the stately buildings that the city has. This encouraged a lively photography scene that led to many photography galleries, as well as groups that cater to all kinds of photographers with varied specialities.
Central New York is world-famous, bustling, and energetic, with a unique blend of life and architecture. Its sights are known across the globe, but every day they’re presented as part of a new day with different contexts and environments, and that makes the city perfect for a photographer.
If you are one of those photographers flying into the city who want to make the most out of this, here are some of the points you might want to take note of:
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The tools you’ll need
A photographer is nothing without the right camera, and for those shooting in New York, it is best to invest in the right equipment. You might fancy using your advanced smartphone these days, and that’s almost acceptable – they can be extremely powerful and packed with features. However, there’s a variety of photography tools and equipment that are ideal for capturing landscapes, and if you want to do New York justice, then you should have a bag packed with equipment.
Most photographers feel DSLR cameras and mirrorless models are preferable to old-school film cameras. Models such as the Canon EOS R6 have a 24-megapixel resolution and a full-frame sensor for capturing every nuance of the landscape. Nikon models, such as the Z5 mirrorless camera, are just as flexible, with much the same spec as Canon. Those two are the most popular, but Sony, Leica, and Hasselblad all offer a good range of options, flexibility in terms of lenses, and the capability to catch everything good about NYC – and there’s a lot to capture!
Any of these cameras will give you a different photography experience, so it’s important to recognize your own skill level. They can all be paired with different lenses as well, from fixed 50mm Prime lenses to powerful zoom lenses that will allow you to pick out carvings on buildings and some of the sights you can’t see from street level with the naked eye.
Sadly, in terms of budget, the more you want, the higher the cost, and some lenses alone run into tens of thousands of dollars. A good choice for an amateur is a standard 18mm-55mm kit lens, plus perhaps something like a 70mm-300mm zoom lens. Try to find them with image stabilization for crisper photos, and don’t be afraid to explore the secondhand market, where nice pieces of glass often pop up cheaper than you’d expect.
Aside from getting tools that are fit for your skills, it would also be a good idea to have some of the basics that will ensure a successful photography tour.
Some of these tools include spare camera batteries, chargers, memory cards, an SD memory card case that can keep them safe, a battery pack, some rain sleeves, a universal adapter, and a collapsible tripod. A tripod is essential if you want to capture the sights at night, as you’ll need longer exposure and, therefore, camera stability.
Check out products manufactured by Manfrotto – they tend to be among the most solid, entry-level tripods on the market. Also, remember you’ll be traveling the subway and pounding the streets, so you’ll need something collapsible and easy to walk around with. If your budget will allow, you can also get a filter set that will dramatically improve your landscape photos.
Finally, and perhaps almost as important as the camera, you’ll need a good bag. Your camera bag will contain your equipment, lenses, filters, batteries, and everything. It needs to be robust, spacious but also easy to carry. Manfrotto makes bags also, which are very highly rated, whilst Tamrac are also very good and can be picked up for as little as $50 secondhand.
The sights you shouldn’t miss
Taking a photography tour in the Big Apple can easily turn out to be an extremely overwhelming endeavor – especially for beginners – and it’s easy to see why.
The city is peppered with all sorts of sights, each one begging to be photographed. From museums, popular streets, and parks to historical establishments and jaw-dropping architecture, you can never run out of things to take a picture of. Here are some of the sights that you shouldn’t miss.
There is nothing more quintessentially New York than the NYC skyline, so make sure to dedicate at least half a day to capturing it from various viewpoints.
One of these viewpoints could be the Top of the Rock observation deck. Go there as early as you can and save the earliest slot for the day. If you want to take a picture of the skyline with the famous Brooklyn Bridge, head to Water Street. You can also visit the Empire State Building at night and take a picture of all the illuminated buildings that light up the sky.
The Grand Central Station
This century-old infrastructure, which played a crucial role in the making of the city’s history, offers plenty of opportunities for photography, such as slice-of-life moments and street photography.
Of course, before you go through all that, make sure to take a wide-establishing photo of the station. This can be taken at a vantage point over the station’s main hall.
The Times Square
If you are an avid fan of street photography, Times Square would be the perfect place for you. Although it may not be as bustling and crowded as it used to be, the never-ending street of billboards and ads will surely make any photograph lively and interesting. If you want to make the most of this place, try to visit at different times of the day, get wide-angle shots, and slow your shutter speed.
For both budding and professional photographers alike, there is something truly special about New York. We hope this article will help you plan and carry out a successful photography tour.