The best outdoor spots to take family photos

You don’t need to wait until sweater weather to take that family photo for your holiday card. We all want to be captured at our best, so why not take that family photo now? If you have an average-sized family, chances are you can’t squeeze everyone into a photo in your New York apartment, so grab your spouse and the kids and head on over to these picturesque city backdrops.

Bowery St. and Houston St. mural

Bowery Houston Wall
The mural on Houston and Bowery changes every one to three months.
Credit: EV Grieve

Even if you’re a native New Yorker you might not recognize the wall on Houston and Bowery because it periodically gets a makeover. Every one to three months or so, a new artist leaves their mark on the concrete slab in the Lower East Side, so you can take photos in the same spot for years without them getting repetitive. The art itself is usually in such a style where it provides the perfect background for any portrait without stealing the spotlight from the piece’s main focus: you!

Governors’ Island

The view from Governors Island is great as a background for family photos. Credit: NYClovesNYC
The view from Governors Island is great as a background for family photos.
Credit: NYClovesNYC

Governors’ Island is a great place for a photo shoot because the tall, shiny skyscrapers of the Financial District evoke the city more subtly than tourists’ snapshots in front of the Empire State Building or Brooklyn Bridge. On a sunny day, the way the natural water and grass contrasts with the man-made buildings as the sun reflects off them is any photographer’s dream.

Metropolitan Museum of Art roof

Depending on what you'd rather have, you can angle your family photo to be of the city skyline or Central Park. Credit: Getty Images
Depending on what you prefer, you can angle your family photo to be of the city skyline or Central Park.
Credit: Getty Images

The roof of the Met is ideal for family portraits because, like the mural, its art changes every year. You’ll never forget when you took the photo because all you have to do is research the art piece behind you (or under you, as is often the case when the museum commissions a structure piece). Alternatively, you can angle the photo such that Central Park is your background.

On your stoop

Sometimes, the best family photo is taken right at home on your stoop. Credit: BradandHeather.w
Sometimes, the best family photo is taken right at home on your stoop.
Credit: BradandHeather

If you’re lucky enough to have a stoop, why go anywhere? Your steps provide a means of staggering family members on different levels so that no family member’s face is covered. For families that move a lot, a stoop photo is a good option because it’ll serve as a memento from the house without reminding you of the clutter inside. Best of all, taking a photo in front of your own building means you don’t even have to leave home!


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