How To Pose at the Charging Bull: 9 Tips for the Best Photo
By James Foytlin
April 18, 2022
If you ask almost anyone, most people would probably recognize Wall Street’s Charging Bull statue. This one-of-a-kind sculpture designed and constructed by Arturo Di Modica has quite the story to tell and is often the highlight of a visit to Lower Manhattan.
Symbolizing Wall Street and the Financial District, the Charging Bull is sometimes referred to as the Bull of Wall Street.
Where to find the Charging Bull
This bronze sculpture stands on Broadway just north of Bowling Green in the Financial District.
It sits in Evacuation Day Plaza, which commemorates the end of the brutal seven-year occupation of Manhattan by British troops during the Revolutionary War. As the British boarded ships back to England, General George Washington triumphantly led the Continental Army through Manhattan to Bowling Green. Legend has it that a former British prisoner of war named John Van Arsdale managed to climb the greased flagpole, where the departing British had nailed a Union Jack, and replace it with the Stars and Stripes.
A photo in front of the Charging Bull is often a highlight for a trip to New York City. The problem is that Evacuation Day Plaza is nothing more than a triangle-shaped cobblestone street divider. And with large crowds looking to catch photos near the landmark Charging Bull, it can be very difficult to take a satisfying photo.
Everyone wants a photo with the Bull of Wall Street
The sculpture is a popular tourist destination that draws thousands of people a day. The Charging Bull has become one of New York City’s most photographed works of public art, and it often is used to host events and promotions.
Its popularity also has international appeal, drawing in visitors from around the globe. All that fame can mean you’ll be waiting in line, even if you just want a quick photo with the bull.
The most important thing to realize is that with the crowds, the window of opportunity for a crowd-free shot is limited. Timing is everything, so it’s best to come to the Charging Bull prepared.
But capturing a great memory always takes a little work, right? Here are some tips for getting the best photo with the Charging Bull
1. Plan ahead for the perfect photo
As a Wall Street tour guide for many years, I have developed a few strategies for getting a proper photo after running tour groups past the Charging Bull.
Here are some things to consider as you plan ahead for your photo op:
- Arrive early. Get to the Charging Bull before 9:30 a.m. if you can. The crowds are far smaller.
- Don’t worry about a few tourists in your shot. There is always a crowd around, so don’t worry about other people getting into the background of your photo. Crowds are part of the backdrop of New York.
- Find the right angle. There are many good potential shots at the head, rear, either side and some diagonals. I’ll cover some of these below.
- Try a new perspective. Across the street, behind the fencing or farther back from the plaza all offer different viewpoints that can be interesting in your photo.
- Rehearse your pose. You have limited time so be prepared and ready to take the shot.
- Be kind. Be patient if you have to wait in line for shots at the head or the rear of the Charging Bull, which are two of the most popular photo spots.
- Be quick. Remember other people are looking to get their shot with the Charging Bull, so snap quickly and move on.
And finally, take a deep breath and enjoy the moment — it’s only a photo.
How should you pose with this Wall Street icon? Keep reading for suggestions if you’re short on ideas.
2. Strike a pose
Preferably, your signature pose. What’s that? It’s a look or stance you assume when someone grabs a camera. We often associate a signature pose with celebrities on the red carpet, but NYC tourists can borrow the same idea.
Your signature pose should say something about you and what’s important to you — your family all squeezing in together, a kiss from your sweetheart, maybe you looking thoughtfully into the middle distance as the cultured traveler you are.
3. Ham it up
If you are at a loss for a signature pose, add a dash of humor. This is the time to raise your hands in the air, throw on a goofy grin, or maybe pull out your wallet and flash a couple George Washingtons.
Go ahead and put some New York bravado into your pose. No one will mind. Everyone’s a little silly when we’re taking photos at famous landmarks. You won’t be the only one.
4. Try crouching by the Charging Bull
It can be a great way to make the bull look even bigger. You squat down beside it and smile for the camera. Then your photographer crouches down low to shoot upward so the bull appears larger.
The lower they can take the photo, the more imposing the bull will seem. It’s all about perspective.
This can also help you fit more people in the frame as shown above.
5. Choose an end (or side)
There is often a line for a head shot with the bull,so many tourists are opting for a shot at the rear. It’s also said that placing your hand and rudding the appropriate part of the bull’s anatomy brings good luck and financial fortune, but that could just be a New York legend…
Larger groups often opt for side shots of the Charging Bull or use distance to place the bull in the background. I’ve shot from both sides and ends when doing tour group photos, and they’re all unique.
6. Fill the frame with bull beauty
Make sure you fill the frame, but it is also important that from the photo everyone knows you are in New York City. The Charging Bull weighs over 7,000 pounds, stands 11 feet tall and measures 16 feet long. It fills the background easily.
Closeup shots can be great. Consider aiming for a three-quarter view since trying to get the whole bull in a shot without lots of other tourists can be challenging.
7. Take a Charging Bull selfie
One benefit of going with a tour is that you have someone to take your photo, but if you’re going solo or want to be in the shot with your fellow traveler(s), you can always opt for a selfie.
If you are doing a selfie, you won’t get as much of the bull in the frame (see my comment above about its 7,000-pound girth), but you can still hold your phone high and shoot down to show part of the bull and give a sense of place. It’s also a visually intriguing perspective that puts the emphasis on you rather than the bull — as it should be, right?
8. Go the distance
Closer isn’t always better. You can use distance in interesting ways, especially if you want to put yourself in the foreground and the bull as more of a backdrop.
This can also be a way to avoid the line if there is one. Frame your photo and then snap when other selfie stars are rotating out.
9. Relax — you look great
Your photo will come out better if you feel natural. Don’t be stiff or tense. Remember you are on vacation or a day off enjoying all the city has to offer.
Give your hands a place to rest: holding your arm, in your pockets, or even leaning against the bull.
The perfect Charging Bull selfie
Tours of Lower Manhattan will often stop near the Charging Bull and give you an opportunity to get a photo — our Wall Street tours always do. One benefit of going with a tour is that you have someone to take your photo!
If you’re doing a selfie, you won’t get as much of the bull in the frame (see my comment above about its 7,000-pound girth), but you can still hold your phone high and shoot down to show part of the bull and give a sense of place.
Over the years, given the right set of circumstances, visitors have managed to catch some very interesting — some would say weird — photos. Depending on the weather conditions, time of the year, holiday or promotional events, and more, there is almost always something to make your visit to the Charging Bull different. That’s part of why this famous sculpture is such a great photo op for your visit to Lower Manhattan.
The bull is not only a symbol of prosperity that played a unique role in Wall Street history. It’s a must see for any future Wall Street warrior and an essential photo on NYC travel bucket list.