Congratulations on your upcoming trip to Paris, and of course your decision to hire a professional Paris photographer to capture your memories.
Now, first, note that Parisian photographers are not created equal … and so it’s important that you invest a little time into finding the right artist for you.
After all, you’ll be asked to display affection, playfulness, and chemistry in front of the lens of a relative stranger.
In this guide, we’ve broken down—in 6 simple steps—everything you need to know to book an amazing photographer in Paris … and if you happen to be pressed for time, then use the drop-down menu to initially focus on points 2) and 4):
- identify a handful of talented Paris photographers whose work and style instantly speak to you;
- evaluate their reputation, responsiveness, communication, packages, and fit for your requirements;
- lock in your photographer contractually;
- prepare for your Paris photoshoot like a seasoned pro;
- ace your photo session with abundant fun, natural flow, and awe-inspiring pictures;
- get your photos back fast and in the format you desire.
What’s a Paris photographer anyway?
Before we get specific about how to identify a fabulous Paris photographer—presumably from thousands of miles away—let’s quickly review what a Parisian photographer should be … and, importantly, how she may be different from, say, your local photographer.
When an artist brands herself as a “Paris Photographer” or “Paris Engagement Photographer,” she typically targets an international audience with various Paris-based portrait and event photography services, such as:
- couple photoshoots, including Paris engagement photos, honeymoon, anniversary, pre-wedding photos, and gender reveal;
- Paris proposals;
- elopements and intimate weddings;
- Paris wedding photography;
- le boudoir, fine art nude, or burlesque;
- families and large groups;
- corporate and other non-wedding events;
- individual portraits, including stylized photoshoots for influencers as well as maternity photos.
The best Paris photographers communicate well in English and French and are often even fluent in additional languages, such as Portuguese, Spanish, Mandarin, and German.
They’re intimately familiar with how the City of Paris works, love meeting new people, are reliable and well-organized, and confidently direct relative strangers in a loud city.
How to identify the best Paris photographer
So you smartly decided to hire a professional Paris photographer and, like with any meaningful investment, you should make an informed decision based on thorough research.
Simply enter “Paris photographer” or “Photographer in Paris” into your browser and feel free to skip over the sponsored results.
Google automatically lists Parisian photographers based on popularity … and the truth is you can’t really go wrong with any studio that makes Google’s first page.
And keep in mind the English adage that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Google allows you to sort your search results by “Images” or “Videos.”
And, hey, if you happen to stumble upon photos you love, go ahead and already save them to a Pinterest inspiration board that can later be shared with your photographer.
Zezhou & Lishuo
Photographer in Paris
Lishuo is so impressed that she cried when she saw our pictures.
She was really touched … and said the photos are so beautiful because of the way you guided us around Paris … and we might want you to be part of our wedding in China!
Speaking of Pinterest … it’s the perfect platform to discover and collect ideas for your Paris photoshoot—anything from creative props, flattering poses, the prettiest places in Paris, time of the day, seasonality, and much more.
Now, you may be asking yourself how creating a Pinterest board helps you identify a Paris photographer. Well, here’s the deal: when photographers create a Pin, they usually add a so-called “destination link” to the pinned image.
All you need to do is click on the photo twice: your first click enlarges the photo and allows you to save it to your Pinterest board. When you click on the image again, you’re usually directed straight to its creator (photographer) or a blog that displays the photographer’s website.
A word of caution is in order: don't fall into the trap of equating a fabulous photograph with a great Paris photographer.
It’s tempting at times to fall in love with a photograph and somehow equate it with the quality of its photographer.
Nothing could be more misleading than a single picture, which could have resulted from sheer luck or been captured during a stylized photoshoot (where the artist had the luxury of do-overs and/or worked with models).
Likewise, do not confuse a beautiful couple with a pretty photo.
Instead, when you evaluate potential Parisian photographers, it’s recommended that you examine representative galleries.
That means photos from comparable shoots to what you’re considering (i.e. similar time of the day, hours of coverage, seasonality, type of shoot, etc.).
In other words, it’s not fair to commission a 30-minute mini photo session in the afternoon and somehow expect your photographer to reproduce photos from her site that were captured at sunrise during a multi-hour Paris photoshoot.
Open your Instagram app and click on the magnifying glass icon. Next tap the search bar at the top of your screen to search by “Tags.”
Here are some hashtags you may want to use to kick off your search:
Or if you already have a specific type of Paris photo session in mind, such as a marriage proposal, an elopement or a wedding, try out shoot-specific hashtags, such as:
When you stumble upon a fabulous photo, click on the Instagram username associated with the image to examine the entire grid of the photographer.
If you love the grid’s consistency and presentation (and the photographer is based in Paris), then send a personal message to inquire about her packages and availability (more on that shortly).
What other ways are there to identify amazing Paris photographers?
- If you’re still on Facebook, then enter “Paris photographer” into the search bar and sort by “Pages,” “People,” “Photos,” and “Groups;”
- YouTube works particularly well when your search intent relates more to an event, such as a surprise proposal or wedding;
- word-of-mouth is an exquisite way to identify your photographer since someone you trust has presumably used the photographer and can give you a first-hand account of what to expect.
Gather information, assess, and choose your Parisian photographer
Before you can make an informed decision on a suitable Parisian photographer, you first need to clearly define (for yourself) what’s important about your overall photography experience and then collect relevant information.
For some, it may be as simple as finding an available photographer at an attractive price to snap a few pretty pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower.
Others may prioritize personality and strong communication and—all else equal—will go with an English-speaking Paris photographer who also happens to be a happy companion … and can double as a de facto tour guide to show you around the City.
And again others may want it all—awesome talent and reputation, effective communication, meticulous preparation, a delightful experience, and of course swoon-worthy memories.
What do other customers have to say about your Parisian photographer?
Before you start filling out the contact forms of your target photographers or hop onto a live chat, it’s highly recommended that you first check their online reputation via independent review sites, such as Google, Yelp, or Trustpilot.
Laura & Dhar
Surprise Proposal - Shangri-La Paris
Cengiz, you’re so on top of things … it’s beyond amazing!
I was listening to (the audio in) the video footage that the videographer recorded while I was out picking-up Laura … and thank Godness you were there to direct everyone!
OMG, you saved our marriage proposal—I can’t believe the crew was going to bring down the overhang.
Seriously, what would we have done without you!
Now that you’ve identified a handful of reputable artists whose work and style speak to you, it’s time to reach out to them directly.
Chances are high that if a photographer in Paris is good enough for you, then he’s also presumably good enough for other couples … and is sure to book out quickly.
Photographers, like all of us, are human and like to feel valued … where they are an integral part of your overall photography experience.
People like to work with people they like as opposed to merely being a commoditized instrument hired to take some snapsh0ts.
So when you inquire about Paris photography packages, tell the prospective photographers about …
- you and where you’re coming to Paris from;
- your preferred date(s) and starting time(s);
- hours of photography coverage (if you already know);
- the special occasion that brings you to the City of Love;
- any initial couple photoshoot ideas and locations;
- whether you’d like vendor, hotel, restaurant, or props recommendations, and
- importantly, what you love about their photography.
Above all, be mindful to not make your inquiry purely about the price per se. Sure, money talks, Paris is admittedly expensive, and you’ve already invested a lot into your trip.
But that’s just all the more reason to protect your investment and take the photography decision seriously.
Keep in mind that hiring a photographer in Paris is about value and not the lowest price … and that there’s an important difference between bargaining (one unhappy party) and negotiating (win-win for all).
Imagine traveling thousands of miles to propose to your girlfriend … you’ve invested time and resources into her diamond engagement ring, the hotel + travel, a marriage proposal planner, musicians, and … you end up saving, say, Euro 50-100 on photography … just to realize that your proposal photographer missed the moment or otherwise adversely affected your experience.
You’d only have yourself to blame; you’ve been cautioned.
Here’s an example of a recent inquiry that checks all the boxes and is sure to get a passionate response fast:
Now, let’s be more specific.
When you contact a shortlist of qualified Paris photographers for their availability and photography packages, go ahead and already request 2-3 representative galleries.
A “best-of” gallery or stylized photoshoot (with models and the opportunity for “do-overs”) will likely set you up for disappointment.
Ask for galleries that correspond well to your own Paris shoot in terms of hours of photography coverage, starting time, type of event, and even seasonality.
Now scan the photos for consistency, variety, creativity and other criteria that may be essential to you.
This is incidentally an excellent opportunity to already assess potential photographers’ responsiveness, effort, and ability to communicate in English.
- how fast does she get back to you?
- is it a canned response or does her email touch specifically on you and answer your questions?
- does she go beyond the proverbial call of duty by making helpful recommendations and anticipating your concerns or hesitations?
What services should be included in my Paris photography package?
The term Paris photography package refers to a collection of photography-related services and products and typically varies depending on your specific portrait or event type.
For example, a wedding collection might be priced higher (on a per hour basis) than, say, an engagement-style session considering that the former entails higher risk, time-intensive planning, insurance certificates, and more effort on post-production (culling and editing).
That said, most non-wedding Paris photo packages would include the following:
- a reference to the contractually guaranteed Paris photographer you’ll be working with;
- the date and start time(s);
- hours of photography coverage;
- the number of edited high-resolution (print-ready) photos you should expect;
- the process and turnaround time for your photos.
In addition, many photo studios will specify …
- a minimum number of photo locations;
- whether an associate is included to help with lighting and manage crowds/theft;
- how much you’ll have to pay for additional high-resolution edited photos beyond those that come standard with your collection;
- the price to acquire all of the photos from your Paris shoot;
- black & white edits;
- albums and other printing solutions.
How much does a Paris photographer cost?
While prices vary considerably depending on the …
- quality, reputation, and experience of your photographer;
- type of event, and
- photo package you commission …
… you’ll typically pay about Euro 250-500 per hour.
Ask your favorite studios for any promotions and/or additional value when you book a more substantial package.
Book a photographer in Paris with confidence
Let’s keep this short and sweet: exercise common sense when you book a Paris photoshoot—typically from thousands of miles away and in a foreign currency.
- only go with well-established, reputable Parisian photographers;
- pay your retainer with a quality credit card to earn travel miles while also giving you the possibility to dispute charges in case you happen to be dissatisfied;