Settle in for a good read, this is your ultimate guide to DUMBO Brooklyn photo locations!
In this guide, we’ll explore some of the most iconic and beautiful locations in DUMBO for photo sessions, from classic spots to hidden gems. Whether you’re planning a wedding, engagement, or portrait session, there’s no shortage of picture-perfect places to capture your memories in DUMBO.
We will also talk about how to get to DUMBO, what to wear and how to prepare for your photo session, times of year for photos, times of day for photos and well…an awful lot more!
DUMBO, an acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, is a neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York City. Its history dates back to the 1800s when it was an industrial area with warehouses and factories. The neighborhood was a major hub for coffee roasters, brewers, and tobacco manufacturers, and the area was bustling with activity. However, after World War II, the industry began to decline, and by the 1970s, the area had become derelict and abandoned.
In the 1980s, artists began to move into the area, attracted by the large, affordable spaces, and the neighborhood began to transform into an artsy enclave. In the 1990s, developers began to take notice of the area’s potential and began to convert the old warehouses and factories into loft apartments and luxury condos. This led to a surge in real estate prices and the area’s gentrification.
Today, DUMBO is a thriving neighborhood with a mix of art galleries, boutique shops, trendy restaurants, and luxury residential buildings. Its industrial past is still visible in the cobblestone streets, old brick buildings, and the iconic archway under the Manhattan Bridge. The neighborhood has become a popular destination for tourists and is known for its stunning views of the Manhattan skyline, which can be seen from Brooklyn Bridge Park.
It’s also possibly my favorite location ever to take pictures. And that’s saying a lot!
The DUMBO neighborhood
The area is divided into several sub-areas including the Fulton Ferry Historic District, the DUMBO Historic District, and Vinegar Hill.
The Fulton Ferry Historic District is located at the northern end of DUMBO and is home to the Brooklyn Bridge Park and the famous Jane’s Carousel. It was once a hub of industrial activity, but now features residential buildings, restaurants, and art galleries.
The DUMBO Historic District, located in the central part of the neighborhood, is known for its cobblestone streets and converted industrial buildings. It’s home to many technology and creative companies, as well as art galleries, restaurants, and cafes.
Vinegar Hill, located at the southeastern edge of DUMBO, is a small residential neighborhood that has managed to retain its old-world charm. The area is characterized by its narrow streets, historic homes, and small businesses.
Types of photo sessions in DUMBO
DUMBO Brooklyn offers a variety of photo shoot options. Its unique blend of historic architecture, waterfront views, and urban atmosphere provides an excellent backdrop for engagement and wedding photos, which is what I spend most of my time in DUMBO documenting.
The streetscapes with their cobblestone roads and bridges make for great fashion and portrait photography locations – no wonder, since the most Instagrammed spot in Dumbo, Brooklyn is the intersection of Washington Street and Water Street!
The area is also popular for commercial and editorial shoots, as well as lifestyle and family photography. I’ve documented many families, maternity sessions, high school senior photoshoots, and even headshots on the streets and in the green areas of DUMBO.
Additionally, the neighborhood hosts several annual events and festivals, which create even more opportunities for capturing unique and dynamic street photography and photojournalistic images.
Top locations for photography in DUMBO Brooklyn
I’m often asked where my absolute all-time favorite locations to take pictures in DUMBO are. While that’s a truly unfair question since it’s gorgeous EVERYWHERE there, I’ve done my best to compile my many, many favorites into a short list.
Here is a list of 20 iconic areas in DUMBO for photo sessions:
- Brooklyn Bridge Park: This park offers beautiful waterfront views of Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge. We can capture amazing shots with the bridge in the background and the skyline in the distance.
- Washington Street: This street is famous for its view of the Manhattan Bridge. We can capture stunning photos with the bridge in the background and the street’s cobblestones adding a touch of vintage charm to your photos.
- Pebble Beach: This small beach area in Brooklyn Bridge Park has a beautiful view of the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan skyline. The area’s rocks and pebbles provide a unique texture for your photos.
- Jane’s Carousel: This vintage carousel provides a beautiful backdrop for photos. The carousel’s colorful horses and classic design create a fun and whimsical atmosphere. I also especially love the Manhattan skyline view from behind the Carousel.
- Main Street Park: This small park offers a unique view of the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan skyline. The park’s benches and trees provide a peaceful setting for your photos.
- Empire Fulton Ferry State Park: This park offers another beautiful view of the Manhattan skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge. The area’s grassy fields and walkways provide a great setting for outdoor photo shoots.
- Brooklyn Bridge: The bridge itself is a popular spot for photo shoots. You can capture amazing photos of the bridge’s architecture and the views of Manhattan and Brooklyn.
- St. Ann’s Warehouse: This iconic building provides a unique and industrial backdrop for photos. The building’s brick walls and metal accents create a cool and edgy atmosphere.
- Time Out Market: This food hall offers a variety of options for foodie photo shoots.
- Grimaldi’s Pizzeria: This famous pizzeria also provides a unique backdrop for foodie photo shoots. The restaurant’s classic red and white checkered tablecloths and brick walls create a cozy atmosphere.
- Front Street: This street has a classic, New York City vibe. You can capture shots of the historic buildings and the Manhattan skyline in the distance.
- Powerhouse Arena: This bookstore and event space has an industrial feel that provides a unique backdrop for photos. The space’s exposed brick and steel beams create a cool and edgy atmosphere.
- Manhattan Bridge Archway: This covered outdoor space provides a unique setting for photos. The archway’s lighting and architecture create a dramatic atmosphere.
- John Street Park: This small park offers a beautiful view of the Manhattan skyline and the East River. The area’s benches and trees provide a peaceful setting for your photos.
- Front Street Park: This park offers another great view of the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan skyline. The park’s benches and grassy fields provide a peaceful setting for your photos.
- Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory: This classic ice cream shop provides a fun and colorful backdrop for photos. You can capture shots of the various ice cream flavors and the shop’s vintage decor.
- Jacques Torres Chocolate: This chocolate shop provides a delicious backdrop for foodie photo shoots. The shop’s colorful chocolates and the chocolate-making process make for great photos.
- Fulton Ferry Landing: This landing offers a beautiful view of the Manhattan skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge. The area’s benches and walkways provide a great setting for outdoor photo shoots.
- Main Street: This street offers a variety of shops and restaurants, as well as a view of the Manhattan skyline. We can capture shots of the classic storefronts and the cityscape in the background.
- One Brooklyn Bridge Park: This luxury apartment building offers a unique setting for photos. The building’s architecture and the views of the Manhattan skyline create a luxurious atmosphere.
Tips for your DUMBO photo shoot
As your photographer, I want to help you make the most out of your DUMBO photo shoot. Whether you’re planning a wedding, engagement, or portrait session, there are a few things you should consider when planning your shoot.
Getting to DUMBO
Another tip to prep for your session is to allow for travel time to DUMBO!
There are several ways to get to DUMBO. One of the most popular ways is to take the subway. You can take the F train to York Street station or the A/C trains to High Street-Brooklyn Bridge station. Alternatively, you can take the East River Ferry to the DUMBO/Vinegar Hill stop.
If you’re driving, there are several parking lots and street parking available, but it can be challenging to find a spot on busy days.
Biking is also an option, and there are Citi Bike stations located throughout the neighborhood.
Additionally, DUMBO is easily accessible by foot from nearby neighborhoods such as Brooklyn Heights, Downtown Brooklyn, and Cobble Hill.
I like to meet clients at the West Elm store in Dumbo. It is located at 2 Main Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201. It is situated in the heart of Dumbo and can be easily found by walking along Main Street or Water Street. The store is located in a large brick building with big windows and a distinctive red sign on the front. You can also use Google Maps or other map applications to get directions to the store from your start location.
I also like to meet clients on the Brooklyn Bridge itself. To get onto the Brooklyn Bridge from the Brooklyn side, you can access the pedestrian walkway from the intersection of Tillary Street and Boerum Place. Alternatively, you can also access the pedestrian walkway from the entrance on Washington Street, between Front Street and York Street. Once you’re on the pedestrian walkway, follow the signs and painted markings to make your way onto the bridge.
Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get to your session!
When traveling anywhere in NYC, it’s always a good idea to give yourself way more extra time than you think you need. There are so many factors that can cause delays, like traffic, subway delays, and construction. You never know what might come up, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. When planning your trip, add at least 30 minutes to an hour (or more, depending on your start location) to your travel time to account for any unexpected delays. This way, you can avoid feeling rushed or stressed and enjoy your journey!
The best time of day for your Brooklyn photo session
Considering the time of day for your photo shoot is essential to achieve the desired look and feel of your images. The time of day can impact the quality and direction of the light, the colors, and even the mood of the photos.
For example, the golden hour, which is the time just before sunset or after sunrise, is my favorite time for outdoor photography because of its warm and soft light.
On the other hand, the midday sun can create harsh shadows and overly bright areas that can be less fun – hence me suggesting we avoid this time of day.
By being aware of the time of day and how it affects the light and surroundings, we can choose the ideal time for your photo shoot and create stunning, memorable images that capture the mood and emotion of the moment.
The benefits of a sunrise session
A sunrise session in DUMBO is a fantastic idea for those looking to capture some breathtaking images. I suggest we meet about 15 minutes after “sunrise” is scheduled to happen so that the light has time to get above the buildings and start illuminating the area.
The sun rises behind the Manhattan skyline, casting a warm, golden light on the buildings, bridges, and streets of DUMBO. This light is perfect for illuminating the cobblestone streets and highlighting the intricate architecture of the surrounding buildings.
You’ll have the added benefit of avoiding the crowds of people that often gather in the area during the day. Plus, the peace and quiet of the early morning will give you the space to take your time and capture stunning images without any distractions.
Some of the best locations to shoot during a sunrise session include the Brooklyn Bridge, Jane’s Carousel, and Pebble Beach.
- The pros of a sunrise session: Morning light is gorgeous, you’ll be more alone at this time of day, and by the time you’re done with your session you still have a whole day of exploring DUMBO ahead of you!
- The cons of a sunrise session: Your session will be early in the morning. And for some people, that’s a hard pass!
The benefits of a golden hour or sunset session
A golden hour photo session in DUMBO is a perfect idea as the area offers stunning sunset views.
As the sun begins to set, it casts a warm, golden light on the buildings and streets, creating a dreamy and romantic atmosphere for your photos. The best areas to capture this beautiful light include the waterfront, where the sun sets behind the Manhattan skyline, and the surrounding cobblestone streets, which are lined with charming brick buildings.
The golden hour light also creates an opportunity to capture unique shadows and silhouettes against the backdrop of the Brooklyn Bridge.
With this lighting, your photos will have a warm and intimate feel, and it’s a lovely way to end a busy NYC day!
If you want to catch all of the golden hour, I recommend starting your session 60-90 minutes before sunset. If you’d like to get some of the nighttime lights of the Manhattan skyline, we can start later and keep photographing until the sun is gone entirely.
- The pros of a sunset session: The sunsets are often truly remarkable, it’s a wonderful way to end the day, and the city skyline lighting up at night is breathtaking.
- The cons of a sunset session: DUMBO is often more crowded at night, especially during great sunset days.
What time of year should I schedule my DUMBO session?
This part of Brooklyn is a beautiful destination for photoshoots in all seasons.
In the spring, the cherry blossom trees that line the streets bloom and create a picturesque background for your photos.
In the summer, the park areas and waterfront views are ideal for capturing those classic summer moments.
During the fall, the leaves turn to brilliant shades of red, orange, and yellow, providing a warm and cozy atmosphere.
And in the winter, the holiday lights that adorn the streets and buildings provide a magical backdrop for your photos.
No matter what time of year, DUMBO is always stunning and provides the perfect setting for any type of photo session.
That said, we still have to pick a season! Here is more information about each one:
DUMBO in the spring
DUMBO has a variety of flowers that bloom in the spring, including cherry blossoms, tulips, daffodils, magnolias, and dogwoods. These colorful and fragrant flowers can be found in various parks and gardens throughout the neighborhood, such as Brooklyn Bridge Park and Main Street Park.
In the spring, Brooklyn starts to warm up after the chilly winter months. Temperatures typically range from the mid-50s to mid-60s Fahrenheit (12-18 degrees Celsius) during the day, with cooler temperatures in the early morning and evening. It’s always a good idea to bring layers when visiting Dumbo during the spring as the weather can be unpredictable.
The time of sunrise in Brooklyn during the spring varies depending on the exact date. On the first day of spring, around March 20th, the sunrise is around 6:53 am. By the end of spring, around June 20th, the sunrise is around 5:30 am.
The time of sunset varies depending on the specific month and day. In March, sunset can range from around 5:50 pm to 6:55 pm. In April, it can range from around 7:00 pm to 7:40 pm. In May, it can range from around 7:45 pm to 8:15 pm. It’s important to check the specific date and time of sunset for the day of your photo shoot to ensure that we capture the best lighting.
DUMBO in the summer
In the summer, Dumbo is filled with beautiful greenery and vibrant flowers. The most common flowers and foliage that bloom in the area during this time include hydrangeas, roses, lilies, daisies, and various types of greenery such as ferns and ivy. These plants and flowers can be found throughout the parks, gardens, and streets of Dumbo.
The temperature in Brooklyn during the summer months can vary widely. On average, temperatures range from the mid-70s to the mid-80s Fahrenheit (about 23-30 degrees Celsius), with occasional heat waves that can bring temperatures up into the 90s Fahrenheit (32+ degrees Celsius). Humidity can also be high, making it feel even hotter. It’s important to stay hydrated and wear light, breathable clothing during the summer months in Brooklyn.
The time of sunrise in Brooklyn during the summer months varies depending on the specific date. However, on average, sunrise in Brooklyn during the summer occurs around 5:30-6:00am.
The time of sunset in Brooklyn varies depending on the month. In June, the sunset time can range from around 8:20 PM to 8:30 PM. In July, the sunset time can range from around 8:20 PM to 8:10 PM. In August, the sunset time can range from around 8:05 PM to 7:35 PM. (Note: it’s still always best to check a current sunset calendar for accurate timing.)
DUMBO in the fall
In the fall, DUMBO is filled with beautiful foliage and a mix of warm colors. You can find goldenrods, purple asters, and black-eyed susans blooming throughout the neighborhood. The leaves on the trees also change into beautiful shades of yellow, orange, and red. The Brooklyn Bridge Park has a variety of trees and shrubs that showcase a stunning display of fall foliage. Another location to check out is the St. Ann’s Warehouse, which has a beautiful courtyard surrounded by trees that turn into a beautiful mix of warm colors.
During the fall season, Brooklyn experiences cooler temperatures with average highs ranging from the mid-50s to the low 70s Fahrenheit. The start of the season is generally mild, but temperatures gradually decrease as it progresses towards winter. The weather is usually pleasant, with clear blue skies and comfortable temperatures, making it an ideal time to explore outdoor attractions and go on nature walks. However, it’s essential to pack accordingly for the cooler temperatures and occasional rainy days that come with the season.
Generally, in early fall (September), the sunrise is around 6:30-6:45 AM. In mid-fall (October), the sunrise is around 7:00-7:15 AM. In late fall (November), the sunrise is around 6:45-7:00 AM.
In the fall, sunset in Brooklyn typically occurs between 6:00 PM and 7:00 PM, depending on the month and specific date. The time of sunrise can vary depending on the specific date.
DUMBO in the winter
As winter in Dumbo is often quite cold and harsh, there is not much foliage or flowers that bloom during this time. However, there are still some evergreen trees and shrubs that stay green throughout the winter and can provide a beautiful backdrop for photos. Additionally, the barren trees and structures can create a stark and moody atmosphere that can be very striking in photos. It’s also possible to incorporate winter elements like snow and ice into the photoshoot for a unique and wintery vibe.
Winter in Brooklyn can be quite chilly, with temperatures ranging om the mid-20s to the mid-40s Fahrenheit. In January, the average temperature is around 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and it can drop to below 20 degrees at night. Snow and sleet are also common in the winter months, so it’s important to dress warmly and be prepared for icy conditions on the streets and sidewalks. However, the colder temperatures and occasional snowfall can also make for some beautiful winter scenery in Brooklyn.
The time of sunrise in Brooklyn varies depending on the specific date. However, on average, the sun rises between 7:00 AM and 7:30 AM in December and January.
In the winter, the sunset time in Brooklyn varies depending on the month. In December, the sunset can be as early as 4:30 pm, while in February, it can be as late as 5:45 pm. It’s crucial, as with all seasons, that we check the sunset and sunrise times on your session day.
Places to eat and hang out in DUMBO
If you’d like to spend some time in this remarkable neighborhood before or after your session, here are my favorite restaurants and places to hang out!
- Cecconi’s Dumbo – Italian restaurant with outdoor seating and views of the Manhattan skyline, located on Water St.
- Time Out Market – Food hall featuring a variety of vendors with cuisines ranging from Japanese to pizza, located on Water St. (I especially love Jacob’s Pickles!)
- Atrium Dumbo – American restaurant with farm-to-table cuisine and a cozy atmosphere, located on Adams St.
- Celestine – Mediterranean restaurant with waterfront views and outdoor seating, located on John St.
- Juliana’s – Classic pizzeria with thin-crust pizza and an old-school vibe, located on Old Fulton St.
- Gran Electrica – Mexican restaurant with colorful decor and a creative cocktail menu, located on Front St. I adore it here, even if a good friend did nearly burn the restaurant down by accidentally putting her jacket on an open candle flame!
- AlMar – Italian seafood restaurant with a cozy atmosphere and outdoor seating, located on Front St.
- Vinegar Hill House – American restaurant with a rustic feel and seasonal menu, located on Hudson Ave.
- Grimaldi’s – Iconic pizzeria with coal-fired brick oven pizza, located on Old Fulton St.
- Melt Bakery – Dessert shop
- Superfine – This restaurant has a laid-back, industrial vibe and serves American comfort food with a focus on seasonal ingredients. It is located on Front Street, near the Manhattan Bridge.
- The River Café – This fine dining restaurant is located right on the East River, with stunning views of the Manhattan skyline. The menu features classic American dishes made with seasonal ingredients, and a variety of seafood dishes. It is located on Water Street.
Places to stay in DUMBO
Whether you’re visiting for a weekend, overnight, or a week-long trip, there are plenty of places to stay in Dumbo and nearby that offer easy access to all the neighborhood has to offer.
Hands down the best place to stay in Dumbo is the 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge. This eco-luxury hotel is situated right on the waterfront, offering stunning views of the East River and Manhattan skyline. Its sleek, modern design and commitment to sustainability make it a favorite among travelers. Guests can also take advantage of the hotel’s on-site restaurants, rooftop bar, and fitness center. I’ve photographed many weddings here before as well as stayed here as a guest, and the 1 Hotel is one of my favorite places ever ever.
Lots of clients opt for nearby hotels in downtown Brooklyn. That neighborhood has a variety of hotels to choose from, ranging from budget-friendly options to more luxurious accommodations.
Some popular options include the Hilton Brooklyn New York, which is conveniently located near many shops, restaurants, and public transportation options.The Tillary Hotel is a stylish boutique hotel with a rooftop bar offering stunning views of the Manhattan skyline. The Brooklyn Marriott is a large hotel with over 600 rooms and is a good option for those attending events at the nearby Barclays Center.
Other notable hotels in the area include the Aloft New York Brooklyn, the Sheraton Brooklyn New York, and the Even Hotel Brooklyn.
Overall, there are many options for travelers looking to stay in downtown Brooklyn, with a range of amenities and price points to choose from.
DUMBO, with its scenic views and iconic landmarks, has played a role in various movies, TV shows, and other pop culture references over the years. One of the most famous references is in the 1955 film “On the Waterfront,” which features a scene where Marlon Brando’s character walks with Eva Marie Saint’s character through DUMBO’s cobblestone streets. Another famous movie that was filmed in DUMBO is the 2010 movie “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” which features a scene where Nicolas Cage and Jay Baruchel race down Washington Street on a magical flying eagle.
The neighborhood has also been featured in TV shows such as “Girls,” “Law and Order,” and “The Blacklist.” Additionally, DUMBO has served as a location for various music videos, including Beyoncé’s “No Angel” and Taylor Swift’s “End Game.”
In recent years, DUMBO has become a popular backdrop for Instagram and social media influencers. Its cobblestone streets, historic architecture, and stunning views of the Manhattan skyline have made it a go-to spot for photoshoots and engagement sessions.
As a photographer, I love capturing the essence of DUMBO and its iconic landmarks in my work.
I hope this DUMBO photo location guide was helpful in planning your upcoming shoot. With so many iconic locations to choose from, it can be overwhelming to plan your shoot, but I hope this guide has provided you with inspiration and insight to make the most of your time in DUMBO.
As always, feel free to reach out with any questions or to schedule your photo shoot in this beautiful Brooklyn neighborhood.