I had a busy weekend with back-to-back family photo sessions, lunch with an #ARCouple whose wedding I’ll be shooting next year, and quality time with a friend who’s currently designing a website for her health coaching business (Check out some of the photos I did for her a few months ago HERE)! And somehow, between all of that, I managed to squeeze in some location scouting!
I ventured out this weekend to find some of the best places to shoot fall portrait sessions in NYC! We all know how amazingly beautiful fall foliage is, and I’d always wanted to nail down a few go-to photo session locations with fall foliage in NYC where I could take my clients for engagement and family photo sessions. I recently found out that the fall foliage peak in NYC is in late October (it can go as late as the second and third week of November!). But since the cold weather started much later this year, I figured there would still be plenty of signs of fall in the trees around the City. And I was totally right! Below is a list my top three favorite locations for NYC fall engagement photos or NYC fall family photos (all of which happen to be parks!). I also provide a few alternatives at the end, so stick around for that!
- Central Park– This is kind of an obvious one. With approximately 26,000 (!) trees, it’s impossible to miss the colors changing in Central Park during fall. I have Central Park listed as one location, but I really should’ve split it into multiple. The truth is, there are a great deal of amazing spots to shoot in within Central Park that’ll have incredible fall foliage, starting with The Pond, which is well-know, easily accessible, and frequently visited by tourists who visit the City. This next picture was taken by the Gapstow Bridge, which crosses The Pond and is a quick 5 minute walk from the Grand Army Plaza on the corner of 59th Street and 5th Avenue.
But if you’re up for venturing further uptown and don’t mind walking around the winding pathways of the Park, there are a number of different areas where you can find beautiful trees with INCREDIBLE fall leaves that’ll serve as backdrops for your next portrait session. You can check out places like The Mall and The Ramble (both mid-park), or go further uptown to areas like the Reservoir, the North Meadow, the Conservatory Garden, The Pool or the North Woods all the way up near Central Park North. This next photo was taken in one of the small pathways by The Ramble earlier this fall, right when the leaves started turning.
Quick side note: Last week, I found an AMAZING map created by the Central Park Conservancy, which points out what colors the leaves turn depending on the trees that you can find in different areas of the Park! Score! You can access it HERE if you’re curious. So if you’re looking for shades of yellow, orange or red to include in your pictures, there’s always a spot you can find in Central Park!
- Fort Tryon Park– A hidden gem in the uppermost part of Manhattan. Fort Tryon Park houses The Cloisters (a replica of a medieval monastery that houses a museum) and about 8 miles of pathways, multiple lawns and the City’s largest garden with unrestricted public access (the Heather Garden), all of which serves as a beautiful backdrop for fall portraits. Not only that, but there’s an amazing view of the Hudson River and the Hudson River Palisades, which are basically miles and miles of cliffs covered in trees full of orange and copper leaves. There really isn’t a better spot for point of interest portrait shots as the sun sets on the west. Here’s a picture I took this weekend overlooking the Hudson River Palisades!
- Prospect Park– The second largest public park in Brooklyn, Prospect Park provides numerous beautiful paths and grassy fields to explore. One of the most famous areas at the center of the park – the Ravine – is densely populated by trees and is perfect for a fall engagement or family photo session. The park is easily accessible from the City (just a quick 20-30 minute subway ride from Lower Manhattan).
The beauty about NYC is that, despite it being a concrete jungle, there’s actually nature everywhere. If you stop to really look for it, you’ll find it! There are TONS of small parks full of trees that change colors and beautiful tree-lined streets that provide for incredible backdrops for portraits during fall (and all year round!).
A few weeks ago, I went for a walk with my boyfriend past the West Side Highway to the area of the pier (this is our favorite spot to hang out, especially if it’s close to sunset!) and we realized that the beautiful trees in the Chelsea Waterside Park had transformed! We ended up snapping a few fall portraits of each other that I’ll share in a future blog post (stay tuned!). That park and the entire network of parks along the Hudson River waterfront are perfect for NYC engagement and family portrait sessions that incorporate fall foliage too!
Looking for other location options for your NYC fall portraits? Check out some of these other parks and gardens!
- Alley Pond Park – The second-largest public park in Queens
- Bloomingdale Park – A 138-acre park on the South Shore of Staten Island
- Van Cortlandt Park – A 1,146-acre park located in the Bronx
- New York Botanical Garden – A botanical garden (and National Historic Landmark!) located in the Bronx
Know any other good spots to take photos during the fall in NYC? Drop them in the comment below! And don’t forget to share this blog post with your family and friends!
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Looking for portraits that incorporate fall foliage around NYC? There’s still time to schedule a session before the trees lose all of their leaves! Feel free to contact me for availability by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org! If not, I’d be happy to schedule a session for you during winter when there’s beautiful snow on the ground!