photography tips for the holidays

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.
Photo taken by Andrew, age 13, from Project002: New York City

Photo taken by Andrew, age 13, from Project002: New York City

And 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 ask us locals. So if you, like us, live in New York (or are visiting soon) and are looking for something slightly out of the ordinary for capturing the essence of the Christmas season, get a little creative and check these out! 

Greenacre Park

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.

Serendipity 3

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. 

Sixth Avenue

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.

Little Italy

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 we like to call “purposefully candid” photos.

Lillies NYC

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.

We hope you enjoy these holiday seasonal photo tips in the Big Apple, and we hope to see some of your images on social or perhaps even printed for your memory books. 

Ps, if you're ever photo-taking around west Chelsea, give us a ring as we would love to say hi!