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Taking photos in Paris


1-photo-jan-schinko-jr.jpgAlmost everyone who visits Paris wants to make nice pictures and take them home as a souvenir. This city is an ideal place for attractive photos, it offers so many different places that you can hardly find in other cities. Except the seaside and the mountain scenery you will find all the possible motives in Paris. Professional photographers have their own tricks how to obtain the best pictures. If you are not one of them, I am taking the liberty from the viewpoint of a common tourist to give you some advises how to give the best contents and energy to your pictures.

Before taking your first Parisian picture, make the necessary preparations for your trip. Think well what material you want to take. Whether you want to carry various lenses, tripod or the external flash. From my own experience I can tell you that besides the flash you do not have to carry anything else. The lens (objectives) take too much precious p2-photo-jan-schinko-jr.jpglace in your luggage and during your long walks you will not appreciate their weight. And usually not more than one third of your pictures are taken with the reserve objectives.  

Tripod is also difficult to handle. For a tourist who wants to get familiar with Paris, a tripod is not important. In case of necessary longer exposures you can put your camera on some safe place. Ideal time for an evening picture is relatively short, at dusk you have about half an hour to „chase“ the most beautiful pictures. That’s why it is good to prepare yourself in advance. It means to look for a place and think from which angle and what pictures you will take. However, if you want to enjoy the city more, do not even think about quality night pictures. Night photography means adapting all your program to one aim – and this will prevent you from observing and enjoying the experience that most tourists come to live in Paris.3-photo-jan-schinko-jr.jpg

If your trip to Paris lasts only couple of days, you have to cope with the fact that your pictures might not resemble the quality of the postcards. If you do not know good places for photos, it would be a big coincidence to be lucky enough to have the perfect light, moment of the day, weather and the contents of the picture.

On the other hand, big chances for a photography success are offered by the everyday life in the streets of Paris. Ideal motive for pictures is the common life of Parisians, still life in the streets and parks and various architectural details. Be attentive to the life in the city and search for great photo occasions. In the streets of Paris there are stories lived every day that deserve a piece of your photographic attention. If you have the feeling, „good eye“ and a little of luck, you will get your wonderful pictures as your Parisian souvenir.4-photo-jan-schinko-jr.jpg

However, sometimes it is good to help the contents uniqueness of the picture. A good picture has to have a little of your personality in it. You will not witness the life of Parisians under the Arch of Triumph or in the crowds of tourists and pigeons in front of the Notre-Dame Cathedral. If you discover Paris in a group with a guide, your chances to get good pictures are almost zero. On the other hand, the most authentic situations will appear in front of your objective, if you are not afraid to walk (the best way is to walk alone) to more hidden and less known parts of the city, small streets and locations which are not mentioned in the touristic brochures. Be hungry for finding interesting moments of the life. In that way you will give your pictures real added value. Together with your pictures you will experience moments as precious as your pictures. Always remember being polite and humble. Parisians do not like impolite people5-photo-jan-schinko-jr.jpg, especially when taking pictures you have to show your empathy and politeness.

In the result atmosphere of the picture there is also your ability of natural communication and capacity to get mixed with the crowd and not attract uselessly attention. These abilities will be needed when taking pictures of the mood of the evening bar and also during a quiet moment in the church. Parisians notice very fast that you are a tourist. However, if you try to be pleasant, polite and speak in French, you do not provoke or insult with your clothes and you make efforts to adapt to the current situation, you are on a good way. And this way you will overcome the imaginary border between you and photographed people. And this is the most important thing for an authentic and good picture.

If you live the charm and beauty of Paris with all your heart, you respect its inhabitants; you will take the best possible step for obtaining nice photographs. Unique situations and moments will find you. Good luck and a good Parisian light!

Jan Schinko, Paristep