John DeMato - NYC Branded Lifestyle Portrait Photographer

NYC Branded Lifestyle Photographer - Blog

NYC Branded Lifestyle Portrait Photography Blog | Hi, I'm John DeMato, and I collaborate with thought leaders to create powerful, purposeful and authentic images. This is my blog where I talk all about the magic behind the portraits we create.

“Where are the best locations to shoot creative portraits in NYC?”


“Where are the best locations to shoot creative portraits in NYC?”



My answer? “Where can you NOT find a location to shoot creative portraits in NYC!!!

During my pre-session strategy call with clients, one of the most popular topics that we discuss in depth revolves around choosing locations for their branded portrait sessions.

Locations play an important role in a branded lifestyle portrait session because the more diverse and interesting the location, with unique lil nooks and crannies, the more diverse your high-volume, image library will look.

It helps you avoid posting photos where it looks like they were all taken the same day in the same place, which eventually, will start to tune people out of your work because it’s visually boring the hell out of them.

On many occasions, the client already has a dedicated work space in which they would like to be photographed, and that’s great - it keeps in tune with how they create and serve others.

But, what if they work from anywhere? Or, what if they’d like to capture some images that are outside of their work space?

In those instances, that’s when we have to put our thinking caps on to brainstorm some cool locations to capture some, creative portraits in NYC.

And fortunately, NYC is not short on cool options.

Over the course of my time behind a camera, I have conducted sessions in a variety of places, but, I do have some favorites - I have my favorite interior locations as well as outside ones to provide solutions for my thought leader clients.

Below are some of my magical locations for creative portraits in NYC:

Magical Locations for Creative Portraits In NYC #1 - WeWork Spaces

I get so excited when I know a client has access to a WeWork space because all of them are awesome.

They feel so modern, sleek, conducive to creativity, and just badass!

What makes these spaces so amazing is the fact that if I turn my camera one way or the other, it looks like we’re in a different location altogether, and when you combine the added element of changing outfits, that will immensely add to the visual versatility of your high-volume, image library.

The best part? The few that I’ve shot in are so big that I can always find a way to avoid capturing other people in my photos, which is key for branded lifestyle portraits.

NYC branded lifestyle portrait speaker Chinwe Esimai

Magical Locations for Creative Portraits In NYC #2 - Breather Spaces

One of my other amazing, go-to suggestions to clients wanting their portraits taken in NYC is for them to rent a Breather space.

Similar to a WeWork space, these are office-based locations with options all over the city that serve well for branded lifestyle portrait sessions

They come fully loaded with cool, funky furniture and other furnishings that allow for some cool portrait images.

The key difference between WeWork and Breather is that Breather rooms are rented out as private spaces by the hour, which means there is no need for me to run around and figure out how to frame other people out of the shots.

Needless to say, that makes our lives during the session much easier.

Magical Locations for Creative Portraits In NYC #3 - Bryant Park

I bet you thought I was gonna say Central Park, didn’t you?

Well, I’m not! That is the one and only mention of Central Park since every photographer I know who shoots creative portraits in NYC conducts sessions in Central Park.

Yes, I do enjoy that park, but, as for shooting branded lifestyle portraits, I rather enjoy me some Bryant Park.


Two words - awesome bathrooms!

Although that may sound like a ridiculous reason, the reality is that when even a portion of the session is conducted outside, an outfit changing station is often a very real challenge to tackle.

Fortunately, Bryant park is not tremendously huge, and the bathrooms they have were renovated not too long ago (quite classy last I saw!), and it serves as a great place to swap outfits.

Aside from that, the sightlines afforded by this park just off 6th Avenue are also pretty and interesting.

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Magical Locations for Creative Portraits In NYC #4 - Ft. Tryon Park

Now, if you’re interested in a less city-scape, more park-looking backdrop full of greenery and stone structures everywhere, then Ft Tryon Park is your spot of choice.

I’m not going to lie, it’s a trek to get to depending on where you’re commuting from (it’s on 192nd street in the nosebleed section of uptown Manhattan), but, it's totally worth it.

First of all, just walking around that park was an awesome experience - wait until you stumble on the amazing mini-botanical garden they have in there!

The vistas are quite beautiful everywhere you turn, with interesting rock formations, including bridges, that give a really compelling look to your branded, lifestyle portraits.  The view of the southern tip of Manhattan as well as New Jersey is also quite inspiring.

Magical Locations for Creative Portraits In NYC #5 - Da’ Stoop

What can I say, I am a New Yorker to the core, and I absolutely love stoops.

I used to hang out on them as a kid, especially when my mom wanted to keep an eye on me from inside the house.

That love of them as a child has stayed with me and become a staple in my work because if you truly want to capture an authentic NYC vibe in your branded lifestyle portraits, get yourself on a stoop and the mission is accomplished!

I don’t have a specific location for this because I have photographed clients on stoops throughout Manhattan and the outer boros, including my home boro of Queens.

What’s so amazing about stoops is that they each have their own character and vibe, which creates such variety and this allows for me to choose a stoop that best serves my client and his/her brand.  

Where is your favorite location to shoot creative portraits in NYC?

Please share your comments here.


PS - For those of you who aren’t in the know, I mail out these blogs 3x a week, and lemme tell you, they’re a real party, so, if you’d like to get in on this, sign up for it here and I’ll throw in a free gift for you...because I care, :)