The Best Instagram Spots in New York (And How To Find Them)

When travelling, I’m not only going to see the city but I’m also going to shoot some content. Two birds with one stone. In a big city like New York, it’s so difficult to know where to begin, and with so many different guides out there how are you to know where to find them, the best time to go AND the angles you want to get. I’ve got you covered and picked my top 5 spots from my last trip (plus some of my all-time favourites), how I found them and all the good stuff to make sure you get the perfect shot.

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Bethesda Terrace  

Located in Central Park, Bethesda Terrace is and will always be one of my favourite places in New York City. Not only is it in a world of its own it is just stunning.

It’s a popular spot in the park, so to get the perfect no person shot you are going to want to get there as early as you possibly can in the morning. Not only will the sun position be optimal for ensuring you aren’t entirely washed out, but you will have the place to yourself.

The key to shotting here is to make sure that neither you nor your background is overexposed. Shot yourself in the foreground a bit underexposed, because that’s MUCH easier to fix in post.

Experiment with your position underneath the arches and play around with your f stop. No matter what, you can’t take a bad picture here.

 

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Jane’s Carousel

Located on the river in DUMBO, Brooklyn. Jane’s Carousel is a winter gem. When we went, the place was almost deserted, making this stunning carousel a dream to shoot. The inside is heated and seems to be a lesser-known gem of DUMBO in the winter, with no one walking past the waterfront on the particularly frigid days there aren’t too many people casually dropping in.

The best time to go is an hour or two before sunset, the sun is streaming through the glass walls and creates the most amazing soft glow.

If you are shooting portrait style photos or fashion photos, the carousel makes the perfect diffused background. Set your f stop low so the subject is in focus and the background is a wonderful blur of lights and colours.

Shot from all sides and play with the lighting available to you.

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The MET

This location is ICONIC, especially to those of us who grew up watching/reading Gossip Girl (I’m a little obsessed bahaha). A New York trip isn’t complete without a cheeky steps of the MET shot and a nod Gossip Girl herself in the caption.

Your best strategy to get a clear shot is to go on a weekday and try to go supppeeerrrr early OR go on a day when the weather is freezing. It’s really tricky to get a shot when the museum is open due to all the foot traffic going in and out of the museum.

This photo is going to be an up angle no matter what (you are going to be shot with the photographer below you) OR you are going to finagle some sort of side shot. My advice is to keep your head tilted slightly down to ensure you are not giving the camera a full view up your nose. Also, keep your legs arrange in such a way that you look like you have legs for days without having baby giraffe syndrome (all leg). It takes a few attempts of shooting, running down to check and then running back up to adjust. But it’s so worth it.

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SoHo

Everyone shoots in SoHo. It’s iconic New York City, with streets of varying colours. My favourite street is Greene Street where the Dior is because of all the white.

You can shoot in SoHo at any time of day. If you want no cars, you are really going to have to get up at the crack of dawn before the shops open. The best thing though is that the streets are one way so to get the true street style shots (literally the middle of the street), you just need to check traffic and walk on out.

I don’t have a trick for the best angle here, however, I’d recommend finding a section of sidewalk that is marked off as the fire hydrant zone. You’ll have no cars in the immediate area behind and next to you, a major perk in a neighbourhood that has SOO much street parking.

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Washington Street

One of the most difficult finds while we were exploring DUMBO (despite me knowing that I wanted to go here). This street offers you the most gorgeous and well-framed views of the Manhattan bridge.

The best time to shoot at the Manhattan bridge is right at high noon, where both you and the bridge are lit up by the sun. If you find yourself in a situation where you are choosing either you or the bridge in proper exposure. I’d honestly say to overexpose the bridge. In my own personal editing, I found it a real challenge to bring up the shadows on myself and keep my colour tone.

As for angles, get your designated Insta husband to stand right in the middle of the street and shot from as far away as possible without making you so small. It’s easy to crop the photo after the fact and avoid cars and such.

Other Places To Shoot: 

You can literally shoot anywhere in New York City and not go wrong. Some of my other favourite places are as follows:

The Brooklyn Bridge

The Mall – Central Park

Park Ave – Upper East Side

Lincoln Center

Brookfield Place

Battery Park

The High Line

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How to Find Places to Shoot:

I like to use Mapify and Pinterest mostly. However, I’m constantly saving posts from other content creators from NYC and people I know who travel there.

Mapify is great to use because it’s full of photographers who spend their time walking around scouting out locations. It’s the best way to pre-scout any location you want and find new locations. Don’t forget to follow me there my handle is stephmumford.

I use Pinterest to gain a more overall inspiration. More of a tone/vibe I want from my pictures. Pinterest also has links to blogs and YouTube videos all about people’s experiences and recommendations which makes it a great resource when looking for reviews on things you want to do. My page is mumford_steph on Pinterest if you want to follow me on there. I use it as a giant mood board that I update almost daily.

These are my top 5 shoot locations in New York City as well as some tips and tricks on how to find places to shoot at!

xoxo Steph

 

 

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