I'm an American expat, writer,Youtuber, photographer. and old-fashioned romantic in love with celebrating the simple joys of daily life. I appreciate timelessness, the natural world, and a slow life lived with simplicity and intention. When I'm not photographing families or  slowly traveling the world and writing about it in a little notebook, I'm happily grounding myself in nature and cozying up with my sweet husband.

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family photos at Gantry Plaza State Park Long Island NYC

Gantry Plaza State Park Family Photographer 

As an NYC family photographer, I absolutely love when my clients ask to do a family session at Gantry Plaza State Park! I’ve photographed 60+ families (including the V. family several times – you might have seen them way back in the blog archives!) at Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City. I know the park and all of it’s nooks and crannies well.

For families that live in Long Island City, it’s an easy and convenient commute AND it looks absolutely breathtaking with the manhattan skyline in the background.

For New Yorkers, family photos at Gantry are a must-do at some point!

But there are some things that you NEED to know before booking a family photographer in Long Island City’s Gantry Plaza State Park.

Here are my top must-have tips for planning a family photoshoot at Gantry Plaza State Park

NYC Gantry Plaza State Park family kids photographer Helena Woods

Pay Up for Those National Park Permits

Yep, that’s right: it’s actually illegal to photograph a paying client at Gantry Plaza State Park for the simple reason…that it’s a state park. 

It’s annoying, and I roll my eyes every time. And while I’ve photographed 60+ families at Gantry as an NYC family photographer and only ever been called out by a park ranger once (once!), it’s still risky and it’s just not worth stressing out about getting caught and having to end your family photos early if a ranger pulls you over during your portrait session. It’s also just embarrassing. So not worth it.

If you’re a fellow Long Island City family photographer, make sure you read up on the latest updates on the New York State Park permit website and pay those fees and apply for those permits well in advance of your photo session date. 

family photographer at Gantry Plaza State Park Long Island NYC

Zero Shade + Midday Sun = Bad Photos

I will only schedule my NYC family photoshoots at Gantry Plaza State Park under two conditions:

  1. that it is cloudy and overcast (even lighting, no harsh sun, flattering faces!)
  2. if the family session is at “golden hour” in the evening (one hour prior to sunset)

The reason is that there is very little shade at Gantry Plaza State Park. And when it comes to photography, flattering light is everything. As a family photographer, I can be the best at natural posing, gently guiding, planning, cracking jokes to the little ones, post-processing – not to mention the technical skill and art of composing a beautiful exposure – but that will affect very little if the lighting is awful. 

There are two or three beautiful willow trees at Gantry Park, but that’s about it in terms of shade coverage. And those willow trees allow very little light to pass through! (If you’re desiring a richly, filtered golden light family session like those you see in my portfolio, don’t have your session at Gantry).

Morning Light at Gantry Plaza State Park, Long Island City

Morning light can also be intense lighting-wise, with the morning sun shining directly on and completely overexposing the entire Manhattan skyline. And if you’re booking a family photographer at Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City, it’s probably because you wish to have that pretty skyline in your photos, am I right?!

 

family photos at Gantry Plaza State Park Long Island NYC

Very Light Autumn Leaf Foliage

If you’re planning on having your holiday family photos taken by an NYC family photographer in the Fall, chances are you may (or may not) want some rich, colorful Autumn leaf foliage in your images. 

If you desire portraits with those creamy Autumn colors all pretty and blurred together in the background, don’t have your family session at Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City.

There are only a select few trees that change colors in the Autumn months here at Gantry, and while you can get a tiny pop of color here or there, your gallery will be mostly green willows, along with the clean and spectacular Manhattan skyline, of course!

If you desire green willow trees and a more urban feel with the modern railings, pier and pristine skyscrapers in your photos this year, you’ll love Gantry Plaza State Park for your family session!

Make sure to communicate with your family photographer on what you desire and envision for your family photos

LIC NYC kids photographer with children smiling at Gantry Park LIC NYC kids photographer with children smiling at Gantry Park mother and child classic portrait photographer in NYC family photos at Gantry Plaza State Park Long Island NYC family photographer at Gantry Plaza State Park Long Island NYC

boy smiling at Gantry Park LIC by NYC family photographer girl dancing during her family photoshoot in Long Island City NYC mother and daughter photos at Gantry Park in Long Island City family photographer at Gantry Plaza State Park Long Island NYC  family photographer at Gantry Plaza State Park Long Island NYC family photos in NYC Long Island City

family photos at Gantry Plaza State Park in NYC LIC

Looking for a Family Photographer at Gantry Plaza Park in NYC?  

Are you expecting a baby and looking for a maternity, family photographer in Long Island City? I travel all over New York City, Connecticut and France for my clients. I recently returned from New York and Washington D.C. and will next be photographing families in Paris and Strasbourg, France! Please inquire for session details, travel dates and more information on booking. I look forward to hearing from you!

Be the first to know about any upcoming session openings in New York!

If you’d like to join the HW client list and be the first to get on our family, baby and lifestyle newborn session calendar and get my yearly travel dates in advance, click here.  We only share these coveted dates to those on the email list and will share on social media only if there are super last minute available slots. 

 I always give email list subscribers first pick of any session openings, so it’s the place to be if you’re looking to book a session or mini-session!

Helena Woods photographer on the beach at sunset

What You Must Know Before Having Your Family Photos Taken at Gantry Plaza State Park | NYC Family Photographer

October 27, 2019

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I'm Helena! As a creative storyteller, I document magical, emotionally honest family and children's portraiture. A lover of childhood, fairytales and natural light, I photograph families across the world. I'm the ultimate Disney nerd, and I'm obsessed with cats and expressing my love for the simple joys of slow, daily life.

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Helena Woods is a destination newborn and family photographer based in France and New England and travels worldwide. She is known for her natural light, modern classic, and emotive photography style.

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