Some say the best things in life are free. And if you’re looking for a beautiful public park in New York City to have a small wedding ceremony then consider Central Park (by the Glen Span Arch to be exact).
When it comes to shooting weddings, I make it my duty to do a recon mission to pre-visualize photos, get inspired and most importantly come up with a game plan.
I’d say 70% of the time my plan goes out the window due to time constraints and in Gabriela and Jeremy’s wedding this was the case – but that’s a story for the next blog post.
They initially were going have their nuptials by the Dene Summerhouse. But there was a small problem – and that was the New York City Marathon.
But the good news was they found an even better location and in this post I’ll share with you photos from our recon mission and a few photos of what it looked like on their wedding day.
On an unseasonably warm Sunday afternoon (November 2, 2019) I met with Gabby’s grandparents and Jeremy in Central Park.
Once we made our way to Glen Span Arch my juices were already flowing when I saw Harlem Meer Lake.
In my mind I knew this would be a great spot for them to walk after the ceremony. Whenever possible I like to have the bride and groom take a private walk so they can regroup and soak in the moment.
That’s when I slap on my telephoto lens and snap some candid images. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to do this with Gabriela and Jeremy as we ran out of time and sunlight.
But no matter what was going to happen I knew I wanted to take a photo with the entire bridal party by the rim of the lake.
Even though I was running out of sunlight that wasn’t a problem as I always have lights with me!
The photos looked even more amazing when it got darker as the sky was even more dramatic!
To the right of this spot you’ll find a weeping willow tree.
Although I wasn’t able to get the entire tree – it did add a little something to the background of these photos…
Once start walking on the path (by staying on the west side of the park) you’ll pass a hockey rink, go down a flight of stairs and eventually you’ll see Glen Span Arch.
I considered taking photos under the arch, but I knew I’d be pressed for time and there’d be better options.
But the entrance did look amazing as grandpa was walking her down the proverbial isle…
Now once we made it to the waterfall – my heart sank a bit as it was super packed.
And I was worried it was going to be like this the next day.
But thankfully we were blessed as it wasn’t too crazy and we practically had the are to ourselves. I don’t know if the marathon deterred people from going to Central Park but either way I was elated when I didn’t see a million people!
And if you see people having a wedding – regardless if it’s in a public park, don’t be this guy!
Now if you continue up the trail you’ll find a clearing.
This makes for a great location for larger group shots.
NYC AUTUMN WEDDING PHOTOS
I don’t know if you noticed the foliage in some of the previous photos. But having a wedding in the fall / autumn season is a great time as the foliage looked incredible!
Normally I’d photoshop the floor to clean things up – but the leaves added a little something extra to the photos.
Plus if you don’t like humid NYC weather, consider having your wedding in mid October to early November. Plus if you’re lucky the trees will look like this!
And speaking of weather, it was perfect as it was overcast. Check out the harsh sunlight in this photo…
As compared to this photo…
Now back to the recon mission – if you keep walking you’ll find a bridge.
I didn’t get a chance to take many photos here and “work it” as we were pressed for time and it was getting dark. But I was able to take advantage and capture a few photos.
By using external lights I can shoot anywhere and anytime!
And if you’re a photographer there is no excuse as you need to use external lights as it gives you way more creative freedom and your images will pop!
Here’s an image where my light was recycling and you can see how flat things look…
Here are some more images where my light was (and wasn’t) recycling so you can see what I’m talking about…
If you keep walking, you’ll see several other photo opportunities. I didn’t use them, but it’s good to have a plan A, B and C!
And speaking of walking, you can take some candid shots while your bide and groom are following you to the next destination…
Just be sure to have the bridal party either way behind them or in front of you or it’ll look crazy…
If your wedding party is under 20 people the good news is you don’t need a permit. If it’s over 20 people there’s a permit fee is $400 and another $100 fee for photography (amongst other fees). You can click here for updated information.
Consider having your wedding ceremony near the Glen Span Arch as your photos will surely look amazing. It’ll even look like you were somewhere exotic!
Once Gabby & Jeremy get back from their honeymoon I’ll be sure to share with you the story behind the photos. Stay tuned and thanks for reading this post!
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