Observe, observe, observe!
Look for things out of place
- Look for surprising juxtapositions, for example, a mix of old and traditional with new and modern. I have oftentimes come upon colorful, funky cars in the older neighborhoods of Paris (the 6th, the Marais) that make for photos that draw in the viewer immediately.
Photograph the unexpected
Look for patterns
- Look for patterns of shapes, lines or colors that convey the feeling of a place. You may need to zoom in or out!
Look up, down and all around for interesting patterns
Look for reflections
- It is worth repeating the ideas in Tip #3 here. Look for reflections in mirrors, glass windows, puddles and anything else that shines.
Look for people & anticipate their actions
- Although you should ask permission before photographing people as your subject, street and park scenes will necessarily capture people and their actions. Take a moment to survey the scene and anticipate people’s movements. Would it add to or detract from this scene if a person were to pass by on a bike as I am shooting? Would it be more interesting to shoot this market stall with customers in front? There is always a lot of action at markets (for example, Marché d’Aligre) and also around Montmartre (outside the Basilica of Sacré Coeur, near the carrousel at the bottom of the stairs that lead to the Basilica, along the many staircases, around the artists’ stalls of Place du Tertre).
You may have to be patient or take several shots to get it right!
- As I mentioned in Tip #4 on photographing people, do not just snap photos of the tourist sites, compose photos that tell a story. Use the famous Parisian landmarks as a backdrop, but think of a more creative story than “the Eiffel Tower is located here.”
Adding color and action in the foreground adds a unique perspective to a frequently photographed landmark
Below is a Quick Recap of My Favorite Locations for Capturing Paris on Film Pixels
- Parks: my favorites for photos are Jardin de Luxembourg and Jardin Marco Polo (Fontaine de l’Observatoire), Jardin du Palais Royal and Jardin des Tuileries
- The bridges of the Seine: in particular, Pont des Arts (on the bridge and also under the bridge on the quai ), Pont Alexandre III, Pont Neuf
- The shopping arcades or galeries: in particular Galerie Vivienne, Passage des Panoramas and Passage du Grand Cerf
- The markets: in particular the Marche d’Aligre and the market on Boulevard Raspail in the 6th
- Montmartre: the carrousel, Sacré Coeur, the artists’ stalls, staircases
- The Carré du Louvre: the courtyard with the glass pyramids
- Café Deli-cieux (the rooftop café at Le Printemps at 66 blvd Haussmann in the 9th) for Paris’s rooftops
- The Eiffel Tower from below and from Trocadero
- Nightime shots: Champs-Elysées, looking at the Arc de Triomphe in the background. Also the intersection of the Pont d’Arcole and the quai, with the Hôtel de Ville in the background
- Cute and bustling streets & shop windows: the pedestrian area around rue Montorgueil in the 2nd, the older and narrower streets in the 6th and in the Marais
- Your favorite restaurant: capture some of your best memories: the outside of the restaurant, the food, the wine, your family or friends in a natural setting
- Churches & cathedrals: in particular Sainte-Chapelle for the stained glass windows and Notre Dame for its unmistakable façade