There are few cities more picture-perfect than Paris. It is literally a photographers DREAM! Here are my top tips for getting the best Parisian snaps (and you’ll notice that none of them require a fancy pants camera! win!)
1. Look BEHIND you
I’m pretty sure that when I’m travelling, I’m often perceived as the ridiculously lost tourist because I’m constantly looking around. Sometimes, I am lost (Venice canals… amiright?). But most of the time, I’m actually trying to see the world through my lens. As you’re walking down a road you might not think it’s anything special, but when you look back in the opposite direction it could be a gem!
2. Get the classic shot, then look for a more interesting angle
Lets face it, it’s impossible to resist getting this classic shot of the Eiffel tower from the Trocadero:
But it’s BORING. Everyone’s seen it before. You don’t have to GO to Paris to see this, you can simply google it. Try moving around to put something more interesting into the foreground to give your photo context, like this:
3. Chase that beautiful golden light
Golden Hour is every photographers best friend. It’s the hour after sunrise / before sunset where everything is basking in a beautiful golden glow. It makes everything and everyone look like the best version of themselves. Play about with the angles of light. Front or side lighting makes for a whimiscal feel, whilst back lighting gives you a sassy silhouette.
For example, I took this photo when we were walking from Saint Germain to the Eiffel Tower to eat macarons while the sun went down (as you do). Suddenly, the tower just appeared above the buildings and it had the most beautiful fairytale-like glow. Knowing how quickly the light can change, I whipped my camera out and snapped it there and then.
As the sun sinks towards the horizon, things can get a little more dramatic. I deliberately framed the shot below so that the sun was JUST peeking through the trees. Because the sun was setting BEHIND the Eiffel Tower, everything was a little more underexposed, contrasty and sillhouette like.
As the sun goes down, the sky changes from golden, to firey, to dusky pink. Taking the same photo every few minutes can make the world of difference.
4. Beat the Rush
If you’re an early riser, sunrise can offer you light that is just as delicious as sunset. The other benefit of waking early is that it allows you to subtract most of the tourists and capture the real essence of Paris.
5. Don’t be afraid to look like… well…. a tit.
If you want that selfie, or classic tourist shot, just TAKE it. The chances are you aren’t going to see any of those people staring at you again anyway. Also, you DEFINITELY won’t be the only one.
The Louvre was a classic example of this. I wanted that pinch the pyramid photo. I did. Aled did a preeeetty good job of taking it. But I wanted to send a selfie to my family at home … so…
Also, if you’re travelling as a couple and want to get a picture together I’d really recommend buying a gorrilapod. They’re small and light, so super portable. We set up my camera and took the pic below remotely. Be warned though, theft is a BIG problem in Paris. We only did this when we felt it was absolutely safe.
6. Look for Lines
Symmetry and lines always make for a great photo. And lucky for us shutterbugs, Paris is full of both.
7. Capture the action
I think that a key part of telling a story through photography is being able to capture movement in a photograph. Now, this is something I’m still not great at. Sometimes I manage it. Sometimes it looks rubbish. Nevertheless, here’s an example. I could have just taken a picture of a croissant in a basket. But someone TAKING the croissant from the basket just makes it look more delicious, dontcha think? *misses croissants….adds croissants to shopping list….. crosses them out because they’ll just never be as nice*
8. Paris was MADE for black and white
Last, but not least, get ARTY. I hardly EVER actually shoot on black and white. Sometimes I change the saturation during my post processsing, but on the camera it usually just feels too risky. But Paris was the exception to my rule. Paris OWNS the monochrome.
I made a video diary of our time in this gorgeous city – bear with me – I’m used to taking photographs not videos (!) But I really wanted to start creating these video diaries to go alongside my blog posts for even more lovely memories, and everyone has to start somewhere, right!?
My Paris Post Series:
- Paris: Falling in Love with the City of Love
- Saint Germain de Pres: My favourite Parisian Neighbourhood
- Macaron Madness: My guide to sweet eats in Paris
- A Photographers guide to Paris