Here are a few shots from a portrait photo shoot I did in downtown Manhattan recently. All photos are taken with Canon 5d Mark iii and 85mm f/1.8 USM lens. Do you need photos for your social media presence, modeling portfolio, business or engagement? You can send me an inquiry or book me for a photo shoot by clicking the “contact” tab under my website menu.
The MTA’s Holiday Season Nostalgia Trains run on the Sixth Avenue line between Queens Plaza and Second Avenue stations on four consecutive Sundays, November 30th-December 28th between 10am and 5pm. (Technically, it’s the M line but since that train doesn’t run in Manhattan on weekends, you’ll actually be catching a special shuttle.) For your regular fare, you can enjoy a classic ride on vintage R1 to R9 subway trains that date from the 1930s through the 1970s. Old-school advertisements, from quaint to downright funny, and overhead displays have all been maintained and refurbished by the New York Transit Museum. Some commuters like to showcase their vintage fashion while dancing to the music of the several swing and jazz ensembles in the train and on the 2nd Avenue F train station. You can also check my video from the train on Juha Photography Youtube channel.
The vintage trains will hit all of the stops along the M line every 90 minutes or so. 34th Street/Herald Square, 42nd Street/Bryant Park and 47-50th Streets/Rockefeller Center are all on the route, so you can take an old-fashioned ride to some old-fashioned seasonal fun, like Macy’s Santaland, ice-skating rink at Bryant Park and all of the department store holiday windows on 5th Avenue.
I did another couple portrait shoot in DUMBO, Brooklyn in early November. It turned out to be a gorgeous day out after rescheduling the shoot a few times due to weather and scheduling issues. DUMBO is such a great location for getting that classy NY look to your portraits. Wether you are on Washington Street at the famous scene of Once Upon A Time In America, a movie starring Robert De Niro, or on Plymouth Street with the view of the impressive Brooklyn Bridge in the background, there is no doubt that DUMBO is one of the most spectacular locations for NYC portraits. On the day of our photo shoot there was a considerable amount of construction work going on in various streets, but by carefully framing the photos and using shallow depth of field to our advantage we were still able to get satisfying results. This is why I love my Canon telephoto zoom lens; it allows me quickly to zoom in and out to crop the shots to my liking without running back and forth. It also allows me to shoot from a comfortable distance relative to my clients, which encourages them to interact more freely by keeping my lens out of their personal space. There are moments though when I find the wide angle lens irreplaceable; like when I want to include that stunning Manhattan landscape in the shot with my clients. This kind of a shot really gives a sense of location and space. After all, if you only want to have stunning shots of your clients, you might as well be shooting in the studio. Wide angle lens gives you both, a sort of cityscape-portrait. But you do need to use extra caution when shooting portraits with the wide angle lens due to the fact that it distort the proportions at the edges of the lens. Ladies love it when a wide angle lens makes their feet look longer than they actually are, but not so much when the lens stretches their shoulders or face out of proportion. But when correctly handled, wide angle is a great gadget in a photographers box of tricks. In addition I used two off-camera Canon Speedlites, which my lighting assistant held in a extendable boom arm with an shoot-through umbrella, to give a little extra punch to the photos in the shady streets of DUMBO.
After about two hours of shooting in DUMBO we walked up to the Brooklyn Bridge and did another session up there. On any given day the Bridge can get crowded by tourists as well as local bicyclists who don’t look favorably on pedestrians wondering on the biker lane, so take extra precautions when walking and working in that environment. But if you and your clients can weather it, you will be rewarded with some stunning and uniquely NY portraits. In addition to the regular hassle, we got literally swarmed by about a hundred school students this time. At first it seemed it was a bit too crowded to get any decent shots but thanks to my Canon telephoto zoom lens I was able to frame the shots tightly so as not to have any unwanted distractions in them. Also my clients ended up loving the few shots that had some Jewish school students in them:) Shooting outdoors in NYC is always unpredictable and in my opinion the best strategy is to go with the flow and try to use any random distractions to your advantage. After all, its all a part of living in this wonderfully crazy city. Its like Taylor Swift sings in Welcome To New York, “Like any great love, it keeps you guessing. Like any real love, it’s ever changing. Like any true love, it drives you crazy. But you know you wouldn’t change anything, anything, anything… Welcome to New York.” And this is why we all love (and sometimes hate) this city so passionately.
Today was supposed to be the big Manhattanhenge. Lots of people anticipated the bi-annual phenomenon by hitting the streets of Manhattan with their cameras and phones. However it turned out tonight was big dissapointment, especially for those who missed last night (see my previous post), the reason being that the clouds completely blocked the sun when it was perfectly aligned with the street grid of the city. Only 30 minutes before there was a gorgeous sunset which I was able to capture a little bit at the Meatpacking District were the hight of the buildings is not an obstacle to seeing the sunset. I think they came out alright although they might not officially make it to the Manhattanhenge archives of the world.
Here is my second attempt at capturing the Manhattanhenge tonight at 42nd Street in Manhattan. Twice a year the setting sun aligns with the east–west streets of the main street grid in the borough of Manhattan in New York City. The neologism is derived from Stonehenge, where the sun aligns with the stones on the solstices with a similarly dramatic effect. The sun peaked for only a couple of minutes between the skyscrapers but it was stunning. Lots of people flooded the streets taking pictures of this unique phenomenon, much to the regret of the cab drivers. For a moment it felt almost as if this city that never sleeps came to a stand still as people stopped to take it all in. Much to the relief of the cab drivers it was all over in a couple of minutes.
Not all New Yorkers agreed when Chancellor Carmen Farina of New York City said that, “It’s absolutely a beautiful day out there.” The Chancellor made the comment in defiance sharp criticism over her and Mayor De Blasio’s decision to keep NYC Public Schools open during a snow storm which covered the city under a blanket of white snow today. In Borough Park, Brooklyn students and their parents struggled to make their way to Public School 160. Their brightly colored umbrellas and rain coats stood out against otherwise snow covered streets.
One of the things things I love about doing a photo shoot in New York City is the great variety of elements that you can incorporate into your work. You can combine some of the most iconic urban backdrops with some great Fall foliage within a single photo shoot. When you match an aesthetic, vibrant backdrop with a great looking couple that radiates with love for each other, you have all the elements for an outstanding photo shoot. Then it remains up to you to bring it all together for a final product that will be worthy of the uniqueness of a moment such as an engagement. My most recent engagement photo shoot seemed to bring all of these elements together. We started the photo shoot on Washington Street in DUMBO, Brooklyn. This scenic location is famous for example from the movie, Once Upon A Time In America, starring actor Robert De Niro. The Manhattan Bridge peaks perfectly from between the old brownstone buildings at the end of the Street. This gives the set that unique, old time Brooklyn feel. A couple of the streets in DUMBO are covered with old cobble stones and tram tracks, which is another element that adds a great vintage feel to a photo. Along the streets of DUMBO there are also some great looking graffitis which again add to that authentic Brooklyn flavor. A walking distance from Washington Street is a small beach by the Hudson River which has some of the greatest views of the Manhattan Skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge (Yes, there is a beach by the Hudson River! Wouldn’t recommend swimming though!). As if this wasn’t enough we continued our photo shoot by making a 10-15 minute drive to Prospect Park. This is were we were able to get some fantastic Fall foliage photos. The great thing about Prospect Park is that it is not quite as crowded as Central Park in Manhattan which makes it easier to find a quiet spot for the photo shoot. Also there are lots of fallen leaves on the ground which make for fantastic photo props. In Central Park the leaves are often trashed away quickly which is great… unless you are a photographer:)