Coney Island has it all. Rich textures, vibrant color, and interesting people dot the landscape of this famous boardwalk community in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Every type of conceivable photography can be accomplished in this one location, from showcasing the serenity of nature in this sunset shot, to freezing the adventures of childhood in time, to capturing the eerie calm of the boardwalk after all it’s inhabitants have gone to bed. There’s also some of the best people watching around, such as the “Lollipop Girls” enjoying the fun antics of youth, this couple falling in love over cotton candy, and locals devouring famous Coney Island hot dogs. And, just when you think you’d seen everything that Coney Island has to offer, you stumble upon a fairytale mermaid on the beach… or did you? Certainly your photos would never tell a lie.
The Brooklyn Bridge has become an international icon, having been featured in so many films and photographs. Whether photographing this extraordinary manmade structure from a distance, photographing the Manhattan skyline while standing on the Brooklyn Bridge, or photographing portrait subjects in the vicinity of the bridge, there’s a wealth of variety in considering just this one location. Take a look at the various photos our team has shot, and you’ll see why this famous suspension bridge has a face for all seasons.
Black & White
The Brooklyn Bridge looks so clean and pristine in black and white.
Note how “rough and tumble” the same view of the bridge looks when paired with teen attitude.
Blur of Activity
The Brooklyn Bridge is seen here as an important part of the transportation system – bringing people to and from their destinations, in a blur of activity.
Color & Sparkle
When not focused on being a main transportation artery, the Brooklyn Bridge is a model of color and sparkle that dons its most popular face in the evening.
This couple is literally taking a big step in cementing their nuptials.
Simon Pixelford often walked past Jake Neopolt, busking his heart out on the sidewalk, by the nearest subway stop. Jake’s well-worn guitar hinted at a passion that could not go unknown for long. His singing voice expelled rugged and catchy melodies that Simon and the other photographers would find themselves humming throughout the day. So when a local music producer contacted Pixelford Photography to shoot an album cover shoot for a recently discovered talent, the team was enthralled when Jake appeared on location on the day of the shoot. Humble yet funny, crass yet refined, with a willingness to do anything – Jake was a photographer’s dream. His only demand that day, asserted with a mischievous smile, was “do what you do – but make sure my gangly mug is blown out by the sun.” And that is exactly what the photographers set to work doing. The “Fire in the Sky” album cover features simple photos of Jake, blasted by the sun – hinting at a raw and burning talent. When asked what he thought about the images, Jake said “they tell the exact story I wanted them to tell – and you guys totally rock!” Jake’s career is flying high now, and we think there’s no one who deserves it more.
It probably doesn’t come as news to you that Central Park is the best place in New York City for photography shoots that require a nature vibe. What might come as a surprise, however, is the vast number of locations within Central Park that can serve as varied and inspiring backdrops. With a host of scenic bridges, serene pathways, statuesque trees, rocky waterfalls, autumn colors, spring flowers, and more, Central Park is a photographer’s dream. Here’s just a few:
You’ve, no doubt, seen the Bow Bridge in countless numbers of photographs, but, like most of Central Park, it always manages to look significantly different, depending on the angle and the season.
The stone-flanked Gapstow Bridge is straight out of a storybook, and is a decisively lovely place for wedding portraits.
Waterfalls, streams, and birds, amongst a tangle of moss and branches, gives The Ramble its rugged character, and is also the reason why this is such a picture-perfect location.
On the southern end of the Mall, a quadruple row of stately American Elms, is Literary Walk and its statues of poets long gone. You can almost hear the poets whisper “what a great spot for photos!”
Who can resist a fun game of spotting the five species of turtles in Turtle Pond? But then step back and see (or, in this case, shoot) the big picture – a beautiful pond surrounded by colorful aquatic plants and tall trees.
If the urbanite in you is still craving a glimpse of the city, the skyline is never far from view. Whether framed by trees ablaze with fall color, dotted with spring flowers, or nestled under a blanket of snow, it’s the perfect canopy for “painting” your picture.
Bo, a nutritionist for an independent wellness center, and Chao, a mid-level manager for a large grocery chain, were having a difficult year. They had both lost their jobs because of the economic downturn and each of them had lost a beloved parent. While job hunting for months, and going through their savings like water, they discovered Bo was pregnant. They decided that if they were ever to live their dream of owning their own business, it was now or never – and invested the rest of their savings into an eco-friendly, organic market in Chinatown. Despite well-intentioned warnings from friends and family, that they were choosing a bad time to start such a forward-thinking business, the Chen’s market became the talk of the town, building customer loyalty even from neighborhoods outside Chinatown. By the time their son was ready to come into the world, the Chen’s had replenished their savings, and put a new nest egg away. When their son was born, they named him Xiang, meaning “good luck”, for it was his conception that had turned their entire life around. Today, just five short years later, Chen Markets has four locations in New York City, and the family is proud to be part of the economic upturn – employing dozens of people in the local communities.
The Chen’s became friends with Simon Pixelford through their market in the East Village, where Simon would come to grab a lunchtime sandwich most days that he was working in the studio. Through that meeting, Pixelford Photography started shooting commercial projects for Chen Markets that resulted in advertising success and business growth. When the Chen’s wanted to have family portraits taken, Pixelford Photography was their natural choice for the job. They had worked with both Eleanor Chow and Jack Andersen, at different times, and knew that any of the Pixelford photographers would have the creative mindset and technical skill needed to get the job done to perfection. On the day of the shoot, they were pleasantly surprised to see their friend, Simon, come along to assist Eleanor, when her intern called in sick – and that furthered their respect for the studio. Not only were the photos everything they had wished for, but they also had positive lasting memories of that day. Chao recall’s Simon climbing into a tree to scatter fall leaves over the family as the “funniest and most down-to-earth gesture from a famed photographer who was used to photographing celebrities.” Simon’s response was that “families like the Chen’s are the real celebrities, and he’s fortunate to be part of their happy memories.”
Juliane and Hanz met in Moscow, when Juliane was an exchange student, studying languages, and Hanz was enrolled in engineering school. Juliane returned home to Manhattan at the end of the program, and three years later, Hanz found work as a civil engineer in Brooklyn. They had lost contact while apart, and after a serendipitous reunion at a coffee shop in Brooklyn, it was apparent that destiny had played a hand in getting the two together. They were a couple within days, started living together the next month, and were engaged before the year was out. When it came time to plan their wedding, they knew it just had to be in Moscow, near the university plaza where they first met.
They contacted Simon, at the referral of a mutual friend who had used Pixelford Photography for a wedding in upstate New York, but assumed he’d recommend calling someone in Moscow. After meeting Simon, and seeing the large body of awe-inspiring wedding photography shot by the Pixelford Photography team, Juliane and Hanz were determined to hire Pixelford. As luck would have it, Simon was shooting a commercial shoot in Europe later in the year, and after hearing the couple’s story, he was easily persuaded to book their wedding shoot. Juliane and Hanz couldn’t have been happier with the photos, shown here, and have called Simon their “White Knight Behind the Camera Lens.”
Ironically, in New York City, a hub of picturesque and vibrant photo settings, it can be very difficult to find a location for a portrait photography shoot. And if you’re planning a fashion shoot, with multiple clothing changes, a makeup artist and hair stylist, and a bit more hoopla, that problem can be compounded. There are various reasons for this. Depending on where you’re shooting, you may need a film permit. If you plan to “assert exclusive use of City property” and/or you’re using equipment or vehicles, instead of just handheld cameras and tripods, you’ll need to apply for a $300 film permit and have insurance. Also, in busy areas, you run the risk of individual and groups of photo “bombers” destroying your perfectly planned shot. And, if your subject is going to change clothing, or you’re shooting for a couple hours, you’ll need access to a bathroom.
But who says you need to be in the thick of things to get a great shot? In fact, in most cases, being away from the flow of activity, while having the picturesque scene is the desired, but not possible, option. Not possible? Think again! If you’re fortunate enough to have access, rooftop shooting is a great option. Not only can you frame your subject against multiple interesting backgrounds, but also there’s lots of light, relative privacy, and usually discrete areas, such as the stairwell or opposite side of the roof, for clothing changes. And, if you know someone who lives in the building, or there is public restroom, you’ve got bathroom breaks covered, too. If you choose this option, do remember to be safe and stay away from the building edges. And, always remember to be courteous to others who are enjoying the rooftop view. Good luck, and happy shooting!