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WHITE AUGUST | Travel | A photographer in Paris

Travel serves as a source of magical inspiration, a means to broaden our horizons as creatives, and a wonderful opportunity to escape the ordinary.

Beyond the excitement of meeting new people, discovering other cultures and beautiful destinations, travel has a definite impact on our creativity.

Traveling to France as a photographer is no different and can be an exciting and fulfilling experience!

Louvre, Glass pyramid, Paris

Known for its charming chateaus, beautiful architecture and rich culture, France is a dream destination for any creative! You’ll be blown away by the grandeur, beautiful landscapes and everything pretty!

However, shooting in France, my dear friend, it’s not always chandeliers and champagne!

I recently had the opportunity to do two beautiful editorials with a talented group of French service providers at two beautiful chateaus on the outskirts of Paris. I’m sharing with you some challenges and practical tips.

First off, international travel with camera gear might be a bit of a challenge if you are usually not a light traveler. International airlines are quite strict with regards to hand luggage weight restrictions which means you might need to leave some of your favourite gear home. Consider versatility of the gear you pack – as an example - a 24-70mm lens might not be your favourite, but might be a more versatile choice than your 85mm prime lens. If you are collaborating with some creatives from your destination country for an editorial like I’ve done, it is also a good idea to ask them to bring things like styling boards and styling items to lessen your luggage load.

Architectural detail around the Louvre, Paris

Another challenge when traveling to France as a working photographer is language barriers. While English is commonly spoken in tourist areas, it may be challenging to communicate with other vendors if they predominantly speak French. ‘Merci beaucoup’ will only take you that far. Of course, that little bit of Duolingo you’ve done before the trip will also make things easier, but adopting a lighthearted approach towards this little problem also helps a lot. Google Translate will be your friend!

For shooting editorials, a clear vision board to ensure all vendors, despite any language barriers are creatively aligned, is of tremendous help to ensure the creative vision for a session is not lost in translation.

Architectural detail around the Louvre, Paris

Now, let's talk logistics. Traveling by public transport in France can be convenient and cost-effective and you’ll also have the benefit of not spending hours in traffic. However, if you make use of public transport, familiarize yourself with the local transport system and schedules and plan your routes accordingly. Websites and apps like SCNF and RATP provide up to date information and a Navigo pass will take you far. Also ensure you travel as light as possible – the Paris metro for instance, is extremely busy and not all of the stations have escalators or lifts, so traveling light will just make things easier for you. The long-distance trains to places like Provence also have limited space for luggage. Always have a backup plan in place, like an app for a trustworthy taxi service, when you do, like me, get onto the wrong train. Getting lost is part of the fun, right?

Speaking of logistics, weather might be unpredictable, and a downpour is not strange. Always pack an umbrella and a positive attitude. Rain or shine, you'll be there!

Parisian door in Le Marais

Palais Royale

The Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

Parisian Door, Parisian Street Photography

Also keep in mind that although wi-fi connection is often possible, it is also a good idea to invest in international roaming or to buy an esim in your destination country to ensure you are always connected and able to use apps like Google Maps. Your banking app might require international roaming for receiving sms’s for OTP’s when doing transactions.

Whilst traveling it’s also crucial to have a reliable backup system in place for storing and protecting the beautiful images you have captured. I invested in a lightweight SSD hard drive to copy images to, and also uploaded images to the cloud as far as possible.

Architectural detail around the Palace of Versailles

Architectural detail around the Palace of Versailles

Hall of mirrors Palace of Versailles

Some last tips - do homework on French wedding photography trends, styles, and preferences to align your work with local expectations. Secondly, network and collaborate with local vendors, such as wedding planners, florists, or makeup artists, to build a professional network that can enhance your portfolio and referrals. Finally, don't forget to immerse yourself in the French lifestyle. Take time to explore the local cuisine, visit museums, and indulge in the cultural experiences France has to offer. This firsthand understanding of the country's beauty and traditions will be visible in your work.

Hotel Caron de Beaumarchais, True French Hotel in Le Marais

Parisian balcony, Croissaint, French Breakfast

Although photographing weddings or editorials in France may present a few challenges, with a little preparation, an open mind and sense of humor, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience.

So, pack your camera gear, embrace the adventure, and treasure the memories you make as you create beautiful images in magical France.

Laduree, Paris, Macaroon


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