A list of NYC best Instagrammable spots and photo locations! Some are seasonal and others are hidden gems – from Belvedere Castle to Brooklyn Botanical Gardens to Casa Magazine!
I’m so excited to share this Sunday Spotlight with you! It’s about one of my favorite topics coupled with one of my favorite cities. Photography and New York. I often get asked where the best photo-spots in the city are, and to be honest, there are just way too many locations I love!
Below are a few of my personal favorites. Beautiful and Instagrammable =) Some are seasonal like Sezane and the cherry blossoms at the Botanical Gardens, and others are hidden gems. Please keep in mind that the photography tips are for those who don’t necessarily want crowds or people in the shot. I’ve also listed styling suggestions at the end of each location. I hope this post is helpful and I’ll do another list of iconic places (Brooklyn Bridge, Top of the Rock, etc) as well as local favorites next. Part II coming to you soon!
:: 5 Best Instagrammable Spots in NYC ::
Location | Belvedere Castle :: If I told you that there was a castle in the middle of Central Park, would you believe me?? It sounds farfetched, but it’s 100% true! I discovered Belvedere Castle last year and instantly fell in love. It’s a welcoming view in the middle of Central Park, and truly feels like a fairytale come to life.
Photography Tip :: The castle has a lake (could I call it a moat?) surrounding it, though there is a short fence around the waters so I suggest taking photos waist up, or for a full body, you can stand on a rock (I tried it and it’s safe!) to capture your full outfit with the castle in the background! A quick note, the castle itself is closed for renovations so you can’t go inside, but you can still take photos from across the lake (see above). But really though, the atmosphere and view is quiet charming, so take a moment to yourself, have a picnic, sit and read, or all of the above!
Location | Brooklyn Botanical Gardens :: The Brooklyn Botanical Garden during the Spring is gloriously covered head to toe with cherry blossoms! Last year, I made several trips to the garden during late April and early May to see the flowers in full bloom. I’ve been actively checking online and it’s still early for the cherry blossoms, so I think they will bloom at a similar time to last year. It’s quite extraordinary visually and emotionally. The cherry blooms create such a vivid and beautiful setting, and the whole garden radiates an abundance amount of cheer and joy.
Photography Tip :: Taking photos in a high-traffic spot like the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, especially during Cherry Blossom season, just means an earlier arrival! I often get asked if I photoshop people out of my photos, but the truth is that my team and I arrive as early as possible to get the shot. And early, I mean a few minutes before it opens or right when it opens (the garden opens at 8 am). I also suggest bringing a wide-angle lens to capture the grandness of the rows and rows of cherry blossom trees.
Location | Casa Magazine :: One of my favorite places in NYC! In the West Village, there’s an independent magazine/newspaper store called Casa Magazine that I frequent. It’s an impressive storefront with stacks and stacks of every kind of magazine imaginable. Besides their massive selection, the store serves as a fantastic photo backdrop, both indoors and outdoors.
Photography Tip :: It’s a tight squeeze inside but not impossible to snap a quick photo. I always ask the storeowner first (he’s very kind!). Personally, I always compose the shots in my head first before pulling out the camera to help expedite the shooting time. I just hate to be a bother to storeowners or be disruptive to the natural flow of any place. Because inside is so tight and narrow, I recommend shooting with a wide-angle lens (we got the sitting shot with a 35mm). Outdoors with the window display of all the magazines are equally stunning!
Location | Sezane :: There’s a certain magic and charm to Paris, so of course when the Parisian boutique store Sezane opened in NYC, I knew it was going to be special! Their store in Nolita captures the true essence of a French girl’s apartment, the laissez-faire attitude that produces an effortlessly chic look… it’s every bit French in all the best ways. Occasionally they decorate their storefront, and just recently they covered their windows with flowers! They even have an adorable bike and bench out front!
Photography Tip :: Sezane is located in a narrow alley so sometimes capturing a straight on perspective can be difficult, especially if there are cars parked along the street. To navigate around this problem, you can take the photo at a diagonal angle. Just a warning… this particular location gets very crowded, but people are very polite and will take turns capturing photos here. To navigate around this problem (the crowd problem), I suggest visiting Sezane when it’s closed. Monday and Tuesdays. The only thing is… the bike and bench will not be out on those days.
Location | Roman & Williams Guild :: Colin and I have been exploring more of the city on our days off, and we recently came across Roman & Williams. It’s a café, furniture/design store, and flower shop all in one! Every last detail is intentional and artfully decorated, it’s basically a designer’s dream! Considering that the owners are behind the design of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s British Galleries, the Ace Hotel in New Orleans… to say this store is “beautiful” doesn’t truly capture how stunning it is!
Photography Tip :: Because it’s a restuarant/café/flower shop, I recommend going there at off-hours or on the weekdays, so that you’ll have more time to compose your shots. If you like this flower shop angle, I highly recommend shooting with a wider lens (we used our 35mm lens and it was perfect) or your iPhone. Take your time, have fun, and walk around! Enjoy!
I hope you enjoy this post. Please feel free to bookmark this page if you’re planning to visit NYC/live in NYC/shoot at these locations/drop by these areas! As always, thank you so much for reading! And oh… if you end up shooting at these locations, please tag me in the photos on IG so I can see them!Thank you so much for reading!