Photographing New York: The Best Photography Events

Best Photography Events in New York

(This guide is part of The New York Photographer’s Travel Book, which is available as a free digital download.)

PDN Photo Expo: The PhotoPlus International Photography Conference and Expo is one of the premiere photography shows in the world and attended by over 20,000 people each year. Located in the Javits Convention Center in late October, the event holds over 100 seminars, photo walks, master classes, keynotes, and over 150 speakers. There is also a gigantic main floor with hundreds of photography vendors.

Mermaid Parade: The Mermaid Parade is a yearly June event in Coney Island and a favorite of photographers. Each year, thousands of unique New Yorkers dress in the most unimaginable mermaid costumes, often including a little (or a lot of) nudity. As you know, mermaids and mermen are not exactly known for wearing a lot of clothing.

Loisaida Festival: Each year in May, on Avenue C in the East Village, the neighborhood comes out for one of the best street fairs of the year. Loisaida (or Avenue C) is named for the way that the residents of the neighborhood pronounce Lower East Side. This festival brings out a selection of true New Yorkers and makes for some fantastic people watching.

Chinese New Year: Each year in early February or late January, Chinatown comes alive, even more than it already is. The parade goes from Mott Street to Canal Street and includes dragons, dancers, costumes, and dumplings. It is wonderful for people watching and street photography.

San Gennaro Festival: The Feast of San Gennaro was originally a one-day religious ceremony taken from Naples to the block of Mulberry Street in Little Italy. Each year in September, the vendors come out for an 11-day street fair, including games, parades, and performances.

Fashion Week: Each year in early September and early February, the fashion world erupts in delight with a weeklong string of fashion shows. Just as excited are a group of fashion photographers and bloggers who stalk the shows to photograph the most fashionable attendants. If you are into fashion and photography, these events are for you.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon blow-up: Forget the Thanksgiving Day Parade itself, the balloon blowing up the night before is the best part. Get close to the floats without as large of a crowd, and walk Central Park West at night illuminated by the work lights.

Rockefeller Center Tree and 5th Avenue Holiday Window Displays: Every year at the end of November, the giant Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is lit. New Yorkers and tourists from all over the world flock to it. This can be fantastic for street photography as there is always a crushing crowd no matter when you visit. Head to 5th Avenue and do some street photography at its busiest time of year, and see all the intricate holiday window displays and hoards of people photographing them.

(This guide is part of The New York Photographer’s Travel Book, which is available as a free digital download.)

Scroll to Top

Download The New York Photographer's Travel Guide

The New York Photographer's Travel Guide

Sign up and you will also receive the twice-a-month Glass City Photo Column, which includes:

  • Commentary on Photography, Creativity, and Urbanism
  • Photographer and History Features
  • Photo Book and Project Write-ups
  • Fun photo insights and inspirations