8 Tips to Take the Best Brooklyn Bridge Pictures
Whether you’re planning wedding photo locations or just need the perfect pic for Instagram, if you’re in New York City, you’re likely planning on touring the most iconic places in the city — the Brooklyn Bridge included. But what’s the best time of day to take Brooklyn Bridge pictures? What are the best Brooklyn Bridge photo spots? Here’s 10 tips on how to take the best Brooklyn Bridge photos, from a photographer who’s lived here 15+ years and has shot the bridge too many times to count.
8 Tips for Taking the Best Brooklyn Bridge Pictures
1. Stand near the pylons to fill the frame.
In order to get the classic Brooklyn Bridge photo with the pylons filling the frame, you’ll need to get quite close to the center pylons. Whether you’re entering from the Manhattan or Brooklyn side, walk past the benches and around where the pylon cables connect to the bridge and start arching upwards. It will be about a 15 minute walk from the pedestrian entrance to where you want to stand.
2. Consider the time of day
How the sun is positioned will greatly influence the look of your photos. The sun will rise on the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge, and will set behind the Manhattan skyline. Sunrise will yield a cleaner, neutral light, and fewer tourists. Sunset, in contrast, will give you a warm glow, but you’ll be competing with crowds.
If you want to get that iconic shot on an empty Brooklyn Bridge, set your alarm clock. As can be expected, the bridge is a popular attraction, with over 10,000 pedestrians and 4,000 cyclists crossing the bridge every day, according to the NYC Department of Transportation. To get an empty bridge shot, you really only have one option: sunrise. At sunrise you’ll see the occasional jogger, cyclist or other photographer, but you won’t get the crowds that start piling up as the day goes on.
3. Shoot towards Manhattan to get the skyline
If you’re looking for the most iconic Brooklyn Bridge pictures, you’ll want to not only get the bridge, but also the Manhattan skyline. Position yourself on the Brooklyn side of the pylons so you are shooting towards the city, and you’ll get views of the Freedom Tower and South Seaport. (If shooting from the Manhattan side, you’ll still get beautiful shots of the bridge, but the buildings in the backgrounds will be more squat, nondescript buildings rather than recognizable skyscrapers.)
4. Pebble Beach is a prime spot to get bridge and city views
Done shooting on the bridge? Head to Brooklyn Bridge Park (about a 10 minute walk from the pedestrian exit), where you’ll get a different view. Pebble Beach is one of the most popular spots to get that iconic shot with both skyline and bridge spanning across the East River. The beach is covered in small pebbles, with driftwood off to one side. If you’re not into standing on a rocky beach (hello, high heels), there’s also wide concrete steps that give you the same vantage point with a more stable base.
5. Head to the rooftop of Time Out Market
If Pebble Beach is too crowded, head to Time Out Market, a food and drink destination nestled along the waterfront in DUMBO. In addition to being a prime spot to grab artisanal ice cream and wood-fired pizza, it also boasts a year-round rooftop terrace with exceptional views of the Brooklyn Bridge. At peak hours, the terrace is understandably swamped. But if you visit during the weekday while the masses are at work, you’ll be rewarded with a spectacular place to lounge and soak in the view.
6. Visit nearby rooftop bars
The 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge in particular has a seasonal rooftop bar called Harriet’s Rooftop Bar & Lounge, which has unparalleled views of the bridges and city skyline. Yes, the drinks can be pricey, and yes, it can get scene-y and crowded. Also, note that hotel guests are granted access to the rooftop gratis, whereas non-guests need to pay a $20 per person cover charge. But if you’re looking to stick near the water for a place to put your feet up and grab a cocktail, put on your sunnies and head on over.
7. Tour the waterfront
Long benches line the waterfront between the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge, making it a perfect spot to take a breather. Grab a snack from the market behind, have a seat, and enjoy the people-watching.
8. Don’t forget the Manhattan Bridge
Ah yes, the famously Instagrammed Manhattan Bridge. While the Brooklyn Bridge typically holds more fame, there is one shot in DUMBO of the Manhattan Bridge where, on a clear, haze-free day, you can see the Empire State building through the eye of the steel arch. If you position yourself on Washington Street in between Plymouth and Water Streets, you’ll get that perfect view. However, you’ll likely be competing with tons of selfie-happy tourists, so try to get there early.