I knew Paris would be photogenic before I got there. Everyone knows that Paris is a gorgeous city, right? It’s like saying that lemons are sour or Mt. Everest is “hilly”.
Like so many things, though, I didn’t realize just how photogenic it would be in real life. This is a city made for photographers, writers, and people who love history. It’s a place where the highlights live up to expectations and even small, unknown streets can capture your attention and take your breath away.
Okay, maybe that was a bit much, but you get the idea. The attention to detail is a part of what helps Paris to stand out; and the focus on maintaining the city’s architectural roots mean that it won’t be overrun by soulless glass skyscrapers anytime soon.
The one glass skyscraper they did try – Tour Montparnasse – is universally hated, and was referred to more than once by locals as “the shame of Paris” while we were there (tell us how you really feel!). After it was built a law was put in place that no buildings taller than seven stories were to be built in the city centre. They weren’t messing around – they really hate that thing. They say the best view in Paris is from the viewing deck on top of Tour Montparnasse because it’s the one place you can’t see Tour Montparnasse! I think they dislike it more than bad cheese or cheap American wine. But I digress.
Despite the “shame of Paris”, this is one of the world’s truly great cities, and you can feel the history wash over you as you walk down the street…so I was thrilled to be there twice in the last year and a half, both visits providing me plenty of opportunity to get out there and shoot. Here are some of the highlights (and don’t worry, none of them include Montparnasse):
The Eiffel Tower can be seen from locations all over the city. It makes it easy to use it as the dominant feature in a photo, or just as an accent / background element (as above).
One of my favourite parts of the city is Montmartre. With Sacre Coeur, the Moulin Rouge, and a generally funky vibe that I enjoy, this is a part of Paris I will always return to:
I also take pictures of my food when I travel. It’s a good way to add – ahem – flavour to your photos.
Strangely, I can never get my own crêpes to spread out this nicely – it’s likely because she’s a pro and I have no talent whatsoever.
Parks and gardens make Paris a mecca for those who love their outdoor space. This is a very green city, one that encourages people to get out of the house.
One of the best spots for wandering and shooting is along the Seine. You can shuffle along, use the bridges, and find a heap of good vantage points for capturing the city…
Churches and cathedrals provide great subjects when trying to capture the city. My advice would be to explore some of these buildings, take the expected / iconic shot, but then walk around, explore, and see if there’s an angle or detail that captures your imagination.
Another thing I love to do when exploring cities is try to capture small details, things that make a city unique. In Paris there are more than a few of these, from diners on a patio to gargoyles on a building and a million things in between. Here are a few that caught my eye – love locks on bridges over the Seine, and three from the Paris Metro.
A great spot to get some unique images and dig into some history is at one of the city’s massive graveyards where many of the world’s most famous writers, artists, and other dignitaries are buried. This image from Père Lachaise Cemetery still haunts me…
I could go on and on about all the amazing places to take photos in Paris, but this post is already longer than most on this blog! So I’ll leave you with a final flurry of pics from one of my favourite cities in the world…
There you have it! More pictures of Paris than you probably asked for. 🙂
Have you been to the City of Light? If so, what were your highlights when trying to capture this brilliant city with your phone / camera? Comment below – cheers!