Digital SLR Photography

Expert Guide to Photographing the 5 Best Views in New York City

By Lee Frost . Posted

The Big Apple has been immortalised in movies for decades. It's one of the world's most vibrant and exciting cities and its landmark locations are so familiar that you feel like you know the place before you even arrive. There literally is nowhere else quite like it, and the photo opportunities will blow your mind – especially after reading our in-depth guide to shooting NYC in the latest issue of Digital SLR Photography, out now!

To give you a taste of what's in store for you this issue, professional travel photographer Lee Frost gives you the insider track on what he considers to be the five best views and buildings to photograph in NYC!

There are cities and then there’s New York City. If a place could have a chip on its shoulder, NYC’s would be huge. It’s big, brash, noisy, crowded and expensive. But it’s also an amazing place just to be, to lose yourself in, to be consumed by. If you’re into urban photography there are few places – if any – to beat it. You’ll lose count of its iconic buildings and views and if you fail to return home with great images, you might as well sell your camera gear. But if you've very limited time in the city, these are five frames you won't want to miss out on!

1. From the 'Top of the Rock'

This stunning view towards the Empire State Building and downtown Manhattan is from the 70th floor of 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Book your tickets at and choose a slot 30 minutes before the ‘sunset’ tickets start so you have plenty of time to get a decent position.

Lee Frost Top of the Rock

2. Manhattan from Exchange Place

Head over the Hudson River for a spectacular view back towards Manhattan. It’s best late afternoon into twilight as the sun sets behind you and the colours in the sky are reflected in the towering architecture. If you only get a chance to visit this location, make it at sunset. You won't be disappointed!

Lee Frost 2

3. The Guggenheim Museum

This iconic Frank Lloyd Wright building is located on the edge of Central Park. The best shots are from the ground floor where entry is free. Use your widest lens, lean back and capture the fantastic black & white swirls of the staircase.


4. Grand Central Terminal

If you want to use a tripod to capture classic slow shutter images you’ll need to apply for a permit in advance from the stationmaster’s office. Or just rest your camera on a pillar. The best views are from either end up the stairs.

Grand Central Terminal

5. From The Empire State Building

Book tickets online ( then use them whenever you like. Get there a good hour before sunset and head to the 86th floor. The views are incredible, looking down on Manhattan and all around. Stay until blue hour when the city lights up and the view in front of you is transformed.

Lee Frost

Lee started running photo workshops almost 20 years ago and has since organised and led more than 200 to places such as Iceland, Morocco, Cuba, Namibia, Greece, Myanmar, Bhutan, the USA and Italy, as well as throughout the UK.

If you want to join Lee on one of his trips, you need to act fast. He has a large database of dedicated photographers so places tend to sell out within a day or two of a trip being announced. If you want to be in with a shout, your best bet is to email Lee at [email protected] and ask to be added to his mailing list, so that you’ll receive trip alerts. At the time of writing, most of his trips currently planned are sold out, but he does have a few places on a Cuba photo tour in February 2020 and a New York City workshop in March 2020. More trips for September 2020 onwards will be announced soon, and a new website is under construction.