8 TIPS FOR CHOOSING YOUR LOCATION
The location of your session is the setting of your story - it defines the mood.
When planning a photoshoot, a lot of the time, clients try and fit in too much in your session timeframe. Your custom Paris photoshoot should be a fun, relaxed, stress free highlight of your trip and it should be in a location that feels comfortable and unique to you. Keep in mind we should work around a single location for every hour of shooting time. This means less traveling, more creating and it allows for a varied set of images that are different and more personal. Choosing a location can be intimidating but I have a few tips to help find the location that says something about you.
Talking through big ideas and narrowing down locations together is one of my favorite parts of telling your story. As a photographer, I’m all for finding a location with clients, especially for those who are traveling and don’t know the area. However, I’ve been shown that my clients have the BEST ideas when it comes to location selection! If you’re still looking for a location that works the best for you, here is what I would suggest.
CHOOSING A LOCATION THAT SUITS YOU
Choose a location reflective of both of you. It doesn’t have to be an art project, but I find it helpful to choose something you’re drawn to. Consider hobbies or passions you want to incorporate. Make it personal instead of just selecting a favorite monument or landmark (although, it is nice to include them where we can). What inspires you or has sentimental meaning? What do you two love birds do most often the season and time of your session? If you both love going to the market, consider letting me follow you on a trip to your favorite one! If you love art, consider a museum! Coffee lovers? Consider outside or inside a café. Homebodies? Consider an in-home session showing you cooking a meal together. A shared love of boulangeries? Let’s stop at the nearest one to get your favorite parisian treat! If you love food, a favorite restaurant or picnic spot make wonderful settings for photos. Think about the color and style of these locations and how you can compliment them with your outfits. If you have a theme or concept in mind, we can work together on executing your ideas - I’m always up for location scouting! The best places are a bit unique and unusual.
Do you like tourists in your photos? Shoot in any park in the city in the afternoon! I promise I am NOT trying to make this complicated by scheduling your session at the crack of dawn. A packed outdoor market with tons of people can make for really interesting atmosphere in photos but I just don’t think a random person photo bombing is what you have in mind. It’s important to be mindful of areas that have heavy traffic on the weekends or later in the day. Our job as photographers is to assure you it’s normal, wait for the perfect moment, and time photos appropriately. There’s also a lot more chance of people stopping to watch! Just know it’s possible to schedule your session during a less busy time.
If you went to a location and were in awe Paris’s sky during sunrise, picking the same location and showing up with your photographer at 2PM isn’t going to do any justice. Beautiful sunrise photos happen at sunrise. I live in Paris and 90% of my sessions are at sunrise. If you went for a walk in the morning and saw a beautiful sunrise from the side of the Eiffel Tower, a sunset session (where the sun is on the opposite side) may not be right for that location in that exact spot. Also keep in mind if your session includes two or three locations that require travel between them, you may have to start a bit earlier and miss a chunk of it to commute between places.
CHERRY BLOSSOMS LITERALLY ONLY LAST 2 WEEKS
If you dream of photos in front of beautifully blossoming cherry trees, I am warning you to plan ahead! Select your day in the spring (these are limited!) and know it could be moved to a backdrop of wisteria or chestnut tree blossoms depending on if the season starts early or late.
DRESSING FOR YOUR LOCATION
Above all, consider your location and weather before selecting outfits. Aim for a location that may have a bit of wind, like Trocadero or along the Seine, if you want something romantic and warm and consider a flowing dress that allows for a lot of movement. If your goal is to have a blossoming spring session, there are several great locations in Paris to choose from! Maybe your first thought was that long summer dress but it’s fall - pair it with a fall jacket that compliments the look!
HAVE A BACKUP PLAN
If you’ve had to get a permit to shoot at your dream location, know if it can be moved to another day in case of bad weather. AND ask your photographer what their policy is so you can decide you feel comfortable with it. If your photographer sticks with the date regardless and you need an indoor back up plan, look up photo policies at local museums or find a coffee shop. Or if your photographer says “let’s grab some umbrellas” that could be perfect too, even if it means putting the dress and heels away and bringing out trenchcoats or boots with socks to make colors pop on an otherwise soft lit, cool toned day.
DOG FRIENDLY LOCATIONS
If you’d like to bring your dog, pick a location that isn’t heavy in dog traffic. We can venture into areas that may be a little busier for part of the shoot by having a friend or family member pick up your pet half way through the session.
Pinterest FOR INSPIRATION
Pinterest is a great source of inspiration for those planning events and sessions because it’s endless! You just have to search what you are looking for (example: Couple photo session in Paris). For others, it’s an overwhelming source of unrelatable photos that just adds to a never ending to-do list - Don’t add it if it doesn’t help you! If you just need someone to bounce ideas off of, I hope that is one of the reasons you hired me!
I hope you found this helpful! Planning for a portrait session can feel intimidating and wonderful at the same time. Thankfully, I’m here to help! Please reach out if you have any questions and in addition to this article, I’ve put together some other informative pages and examples to make planning for photos part of the fun! Head over to my exclusive tips page for more articles like this.