Top of the Rock Engagement Photos + Tips for an Epic & Elegant Session

September 8, 2019

Top of the Rock engagement photos are some of the most epic couples portraits you can take in NYC. Set on the rooftop observation deck of a 70-story skyscraper at New York City’s Rockefeller Center, it’s the perfect setting to capture your love for each other and this amazing city.

The Top of the Rock Observation Deck offers spectacular 360-degree views of Central Park, Midtown, Lower Manhattan, and so much more. A trip to its pinnacle on the 70th floor will give you the thrill of seeing New York City from 850 feet above the ground.

Are you comfortable with heights and you want to commemorate your love in absolutely epic fashion? Then Top of the Rock should definitely be on your shortlist when figuring out where to take NYC engagement photos.

To help you decide if Top of the Rock engagement photos are right for you, we created this resource with information about the venue, along with tips, advice, and original images from Top of the Rock photo sessions we’ve done with our photography clients. We hope that what you see inspires you!

Table of Contents

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When to schedule engagement photos at Top of the Rock

Top of the Rock is one of the most romantic engagement photo locations in NYC. Yet, surprisingly, it’s also one of the most convenient. It’s open 7 days a week, 365 days a year. So, you can schedule your engagement photo session any time that’s meaningful to you.

We recommend choosing a time of year with a comfortable temperature. As much as we love snow, the outdoor roof decks can get closed off when there’s inclement weather. Plus, it’s never ideal to be freezing in your photos!

Spring, summer, and fall make great times to take engagement photos at Top of the Rock, especially when you can catch it on a day with some clouds to shield you from the sun, while still having enough natural light for us to do our thing as photographers.

On a day with the right conditions, arriving about an hour before sunset will ensure you have enough light to capture the scene from every angle. Plus, you can get those extra epic shots during the “golden hour” when the sun fades beyond the horizon.

It’s important to know that Top of the Rock is an incredibly busy tourist destination in New York City. That means there will typically be a large audience around when your photos are being taken.

It may not look like there are any other people around the couples we photographed for this article. But what’s amazing is hundreds of visitors were around during all the Top of the Rock engagement photos we’ve taken.

Getting Top of the Rock engagement photos where it looks like you’re all alone requires serious patience. Waiting for the right moment is crucial, and having a partner with a long wingspan certainly helps!

Planning your Top of the Rock engagement photo session

So you’ve decided that Top of the Rock engagement photos are for you. Now it’s time to book a photographer for a set date and get tickets to Top of the Rock.

It’s worth noting that entry into a venue as awe-inspiring as Top of the Rock doesn’t come cheap. For one adult, standard admission costs $39.20 as of December 2018.

Visiting during sunset will cost an additional $10 per ticket, coming out to $50.08 for one adult admission after tax.

Top of the Rock sells tickets by time slot, which can help you avoid lines, depending on when you go. When you’re ready to buy tickets, the Top of the Rock website will tell you “sunset hours” for each day.

This is super helpful since the sun sets at a different time every day, with winter sunset hours starting as early as 2:50 p.m. and summer sunset hours starting as late as 6:50 p.m. for Top of the Rock.

A blonde woman in a red dress reaching her arm back to take hold of her fiance's hand during their engagement photos at Top of the Rock NYC, image by You Look Lovely Photography

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Make a day or night out of your Top of the Rock photo shoot

There’s plenty to see, eat, and do after engagement photos at Top of the Rock. So, consider making a day (or night) out of it.

If you’re from another city, all the better, as you’ll be right in the center of New York City action. Central Park, Columbus Circle, and the legendary shops along 5th Avenue are all just a short stroll away.

Start by exploring Rockefeller Center. There, you’ll find the iconic Christmas tree and ice skating rink in fall and winter, and great shopping year round. After, take a walk past NBC Studios and Radio City Music Hall to check those landmarks off your list.

If you want a meal to remember, make a reservation to dine downstairs on the 65th floor at Rainbow Room. A New York City institution, it’s known for glamour, outstanding cuisine, and stunning views from a rotating dance floor.

You can also grab cocktails at Bar SixtyFive, also on the 65th floor, and find another nearby restaurant that suits your taste. Afterward, consider taking in a Broadway show, or just enjoy each other’s company as you take in the sights and sounds of the city.

Related Article: The Most Important Questions to Ask Wedding Photographers

Getting to your Top of the Rock engagement photo session

Located at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, or 30 Rock, the entrance to Top of the Rock is on West 50th Street between 5th Avenue and 6th Avenue.

Being in such a popular spot in Midtown Manhattan means there are lots of subway trains that stop nearby. Unfortunately, street parking is nearly impossible and parking in a private lot is incredibly expensive. That means your best bet is to take a taxi, Uber, or Lyft if you’d prefer to avoid the subway and the cost of a premium parking garage.

If you decide to take the subway, fare is only $2.75, and you can take the B, D, E, or F trains to the Rockefeller Center Station at 47th – 50th Streets and walk about five minutes to the main entrance.

>>> Prefer epic + elegant images showcasing the city streets? <<<
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featuring two lovely Texas musicians.

What to expect when you arrive at Top of the Rock

Upon arrival, you’ll be enchanted by a three-story Swarovski chandelier designed by crystal artist Michael Hammers in the Grand Atrium Lobby.

Head downstairs to the ticket kiosks at the Top of the Rock box office on the Concourse Level if you don’t have your ticket already printed. Once you have your tickets in hand, head to the elevators to begin your journey up.

Before you get to the action on the rooftop observation decks between floors 68 and 70, you’ll take a short walk through the mezzanine level for some Top of the Rock and Rockefeller Center history and stories before entering another elevator that will finally take you all the way up to start your session.

Indoor engagement photos at Top of the Rock in NYC

While you’ll surely select this skyscraper for outdoor photos of the urban landscape of NYC, Top of the Rock also makes an elegant indoor engagement photo location to add diversity to your session.

The large windows are perfect for posing in front of and framing you with the city skyline in the distance. There’s one window we particularly love to take photos in front of, where it perfectly captures the Empire State Building in the background.

Outdoor engagement photos at Top of the Rock NYC

Outdoor engagement photos showcasing the city skyline are why you should really choose Top of the Rock as your NYC engagement photo venue. With those 360-degree views, you’ll be able to get a mix of backdrops that cast different NYC landmarks as backdrops for your timeless love.

To the south, you’ll see NYC’s most noteworthy skyscrapers, including the Empire State Building in Midtown and the Freedom Tower in the distance in Lower Manhattan. On a clear day, you can also see the Verrazano Bridge connecting Brooklyn to Staten Island beyond the Freedom Tower, along with the Statue of Liberty shining bright.

To the north, you’ll find Central Park down below, which is particularly stunning in the autumn months during peak foliage. Just image a massive rectangle of trees in vibrant reds, oranges, yellows, greens, and everything in between. Talk about one of the best spots in NYC for fall engagement photos!

You’ll find coin-operated binoculars across the three levels of the Top of the Rock Observation Deck. While they make lovely details for your engagement photos, they’re also awesome to peek through. Try to carry some change with you to your session so you and your significant other can take turns getting an up-close look at NYC from either direction.

If you’re still not sure whether engagement photos at Top of the Rock are right for you, or if you just want a little inspiration for your session, take a look at some of our favorite images from Top of the Rock engagement sessions we’ve photographed below.

photography by You Look Lovely

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