For those who speak French and would like to see Paris from a different perspective (while honing their photography skills), why not sign up for a photography workshop during your stay? Je veux être photographe! offers 4-hour sessions for €85, which includes approximately one hour of background/instruction in a group of 4 to 10 students, two hours of shooting photos in the chosen location in Paris and one hour for critiques. The workshop is taught outdoors, giving you the opportunity to discover a new corner of Paris or to observe an already familiar neighborhood more intensely and in a new light. You must have a digital camera (and it would be a bit of a waste to take a course if you don’t have an SLR, i.e. a non-snap-and-shoot) because at the end of each session, you will go to a café, download your 5 to 10 best photos (or sometimes your worst photos) to discuss with the instructor and the other students what you did right and what could be improved.
In addition to the Paris courses, Je veux être photographe! now also offers courses in Toulouse, Nice, Cannes and Marseille.
I have taken six workshops in Paris through Je veux être photographe!
- Lumière et exposition (light and exposure)
- Paris “à la Doisneau” (an adventure in humanist photography, named after the most celebrated of the humanist photographers, Robert Doisneau, known best for his famous Le Baiser de l’Hôtel de Ville (Kiss by the Hôtel de Ville))
- Paris Nature – Macro (focusing on macro and nature shots)
- Paris la nuit (Paris at night)
- Portrait en extérieur (outdoor portraits)
- Photographie culinaire (food photography—this is a studio course (€160 instead of €85) held in the 6th arrondissement)
My only criticism is that some of the courses tend to be a bit repetitive, in particular if you end up with the same instructor more than once. But sometimes it takes some repetition to learn the techniques once and for all. The instructors all have impressive résumés—all are professional photographers with careers that stretch beyond teaching for this particular photography school—and are fantastic resources for helping you move to the next level.
If nothing else, a course with Je veux être photographe! is a great way to learn photo vocabulary in French!