The 37-year-old "Avatar" actor was arrested on an assault charge following the incident at about 5:30 p.m. Sunday in Greenwich Village.
The Australian actor was released on a desk appearance ticket and is due back in court on Feb. 26. Police did not say what caused the scuffle.
The photographer, 37-year-old Sheng Li, was arrested on charges of reckless endangerment, assault and harassment. He's being held pending arraignment.
It wasn't immediately clear if both had lawyers.