Congratulations on your upcoming trip to Paris, and of course, your decision to hire a professional Paris photographer to capture your memories.
There’s no shortage of available photographers in Paris. By and large, they shoot the same locations at similar times of the day with professional equipment.
The truth, however, is that the results could not be more different.
Do you ever wonder why some photos come across a tad uninspiring while others simply feel real?
Stand the test of time?
You see, Parisian photographers are not created equal.
And so it’s essential to invest a little time into finding the right artist for you.
Why? You may be thinking.
You’ll spend real money on your Paris holiday memories. Good or bad, cliché or not, there are no do-overs!
Plus, you’ll want a fun & friendly English-speaking local photographer to plan a stressfree shoot and responsively help you every step of the way.
Everyone knows this, you say.
But there’s more:
You and your loved one will be asked to display affection and playfulness in front of the lens of a relative stranger.
So look for someone you trust and feel comfortable around … and who’ll confidently guide you to dazzling photos and an unforgettable experience.
Important: if you happen to be pressed for time, then use the drop-down menu to jump straight to Chapter 4. It’s where I’ll show you exactly how to prepare for a ridiculously awesome experience, including some little-known, but surefire Paris photography tips you won’t find anywhere else.
In this guide, we’ve broken down—in 6 simple steps—everything you need to book a fantastic photographer and ace your travel shoot in Paris.
- Identify a handful of talented Paris photographers whose work and style speak to you;
- evaluate their reputation, responsiveness, communication, photography packages, and fit for your requirements;
- lock in your photographer contractually;
- prepare like a Pro, including the best photography spots in Paris;
- nail your photoshoot with sensational fun, delightful flow, and breathtaking 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 the best Paris photographers for hire—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,” “The Paris Photographer,” or “Paris Engagement Photographer,” she typically targets an international audience with various Paris-based portrait, wedding, and vacation photography services, such as:
- couple photoshoot, including Paris engagement photos, honeymoon, anniversary, and pre-wedding photos
- marriage proposal;
- elopements & intimate weddings;
- Paris wedding photography;
- boudoir, fine art nude, or burlesque;
- families & large groups;
- maternity & gender reveal;
- Paris photography at night;
- corporate & other non-wedding events;
- solo Paris portrait photographer, including stylized photoshoots for bloggers and other influencers.
So far, so good.
But the best Paris photographers communicate well in English and French.
They’re often also fluent in additional languages, such as Portuguese, Spanish, Mandarin, and German.
To be clear, unless your travel photographer can provide clear directions in a language you understand well, you’ll waste loads of time and possibly get stressed.
Local Parisian photographers are intimately familiar with how the City works, love meeting new people, are reliable and well-organized, obsess about the details, and confidently direct strangers in a big city.
Well, you’d be surprised by how many photographers don’t care, don’t prepare, or plain don’t have what it takes.
Who are the best Paris photographers?
So you smartly decided to hire a Paris private photographer.
Like with any meaningful investment, however, you should make an informed decision based on thorough research.
Google and TripAdvisor are fantastic resources to start your search for famous Paris photographers.
Enter “Best Paris photographers” or “Photographer in Paris” into your browser and feel free to skip over the sponsored results.
Google automatically lists photographers based on popularity.
And the truth is you can’t go wrong with any photo studio that makes Google’s coveted first page.
Keep in mind the English adage that “a picture is worth a thousand words.”
To that point, Google also allows you to sort your search results by “Images” or “Videos.”
So, when 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.
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 shoot.
- creative props (balloons, hats, umbrellas, Champagne, etc.);
- flattering poses;
- what to wear for a photoshoot in Paris;
- the prettiest places to take photos around town;
- the best time of the day (sunrise photography vs. evening or so-called Paris sunset photography);
- seasonal highlights, such as the Cherry Blossoms in April.
Now, you may be asking yourself how creating a Paris photography Pinterest board helps you identify a local photographer in the City of Lights.
Well, here’s the deal: when photographers create a so-called Pin, they usually add a “destination link” to the pinned image.
All you need to do is click on the photo twice: your first click enlarges the picture 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 portrait 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 opportunity for do-overs or worked with models).
Likewise, do not confuse a beautiful couple with a pretty photo.
Instead, when you evaluate potential artists, it’s recommended that you examine representative galleries.
That means photos from a comparable couple shoot 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, say, 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 popular “Tags.”
Here are some hashtags you may want to use to kick off your search:
Or when you already have a specific type of Paris photography session in mind, such as a surprise proposal 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.
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 excellent way to identify your artist since someone you trust (e.g., friend, colleague, or hotel concierge) has presumably used her and can provide 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.
Then collect the relevant information.
For some, it may be as simple as “being matched with the first-available freelance photographer in Paris” at an attractive price to snap a few pretty pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower for 30 minutes … a so-called Paris photographer mini session.
Others may prioritize personality and communication and—all else equal—will go with an English speaking photographer in Paris who also happens to be a happy companion, and can double as a de facto city guide.
And again, others may want it all—impressive talent and reputation, effective communication, meticulous preparation, a charming experience, and of course, swoon-worthy travel memories.
What do other couples 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.
Search for “Paris photographer reviews” or “Paris photography reviews.”
Any respectable photographer in Paris will have loads of glowing 5-Star reviews.
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.
The chances are high that if someone is good enough for you, then she’s also presumably good enough for other couples and is sure to book out quickly.
Photographers, like all of us, are human and love to feel valued where they are an integral part of your overall experience.
People like to work with people they like as opposed to merely feeling like a commoditized instrument hired to take snapsh0ts.
Can you relate?
So when you inquire about Paris photography packages, tell the prospective studios about
- you and where you’re coming to Paris from;
- your travel date(s) and preferred starting time(s);
- the amount of photography coverage (always book more time than you think you’ll need since things take longer than anticipated, UBERs cancel, traffic can be a problem, and time flies when you’re having fun);
- 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 vacation.
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.
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 the perfect diamond engagement ring, hotel + travel, a marriage proposal planner, musicians, flowers, Champagne table, 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.
So, the real question is:
Will you invest the necessary time into finding an excellent Paris photographer?
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 get specific.
When you contact a shortlist of qualified local photographers for their availability and photography packages, go ahead and already request 2-3 representative galleries.
A “best-of” portfolio or stylized shoot (with models and the opportunity for “do-overs”) will likely set you up for disappointment.
Ask for portfolios that correspond well with your travel shoot in terms of hours of photography coverage, starting time, type of event, and even seasonality.
Now scan the portfolios for consistency, variety, creativity, editing, 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 in my Paris photography package?
The term Paris photography package refers to a collection of photography-related services and products.
The rates will typically vary 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 photography packages would include the following:
- a reference to the contractually guaranteed Paris photographer you’ll be working with;
- the date and start time(s);
- amount of photography coverage;
- the number of edited high-resolution (print-ready) photos you should expect;
- the process and turnaround time for you to get your photos.
Also, many local studios will specify
- a minimum number of photo locations;
- whether a photographer assistant 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 for acquiring all of the images from your Paris couples photoshoot;
- black & white edits;
- albums and other elegant printing solutions.
How much does a Paris photographer cost?
While prices vary considerably depending on the
- quality, reputation, and experience of your portrait photographer;
- type of event; and
- the products and services included in your photography package
… you’ll typically pay about Euro 250-500 per hour for a professional freelance photographer.
Ask your favorite studios for promotions and more value when you book a substantial package. It may also be a good idea to search the internet for a “Paris photographer coupon code.”
Book a photographer in Paris with confidence
As with any online order, please exercise sound judgment when you book your Paris photoshoot—typically from thousands of miles away and in a foreign currency.
- Only go with well-established, reputable photographers with official Name, Address, and Phone (NAP) citation. It is especially important that you can reach your artist on the day of the event;
- ask for the total you’ll pay for the photography services, including an “all taxes included” (TTC) quote, applicable transaction fees, nighttime premiums, or other potential add-ons;
- pay your upfront retainer fee (it’s typically not a “deposit” and, accordingly, non-refundable) with a major credit card to earn travel miles while giving yourself the possibility to dispute charges if you happen to be legitimately dissatisfied;
- understand when the balance payment for your photography collection is due;
- Be wary of photographers who ask for sketchy payment methods (e.g., cash or wire transfer) or otherwise, don’t protect your data and privacy. Online transactions should be guaranteed secure with a simple checkout process;
- demand a receipt or proof of purchase that includes the photography studio’s NAP and email, the transaction date, and a description of the commissioned photography services and products.
Naiumi + Andre
Paris Engagement Photos
What considerations should be part of the contract when I hire a Paris photographer?
The photography contract is a reasonably standard written contractual obligation between you and the local photographer.
It’s meant to establish a fiduciary relationship, protect both parties, formally manage expectations so there’s no confusion as to what you’ll be getting and lists
- the services and products you and the studio agreed upon;
- how your images will be used, potentially for how long they’ll be stored with the studio, copyright assignment (i.e., retention vs. transfer);
- the contact information of both parties, which is especially important when you’re trying to reach your Parisian photographer before or after your shoot;
- all relevant photo location information so y0u know where to meet and where you’ll go on the day of your shoot;
- a general fee and payment policy which explicitly states the process from your initial non-refundable retainer to the final payment;
- additional charges, such as “extra” costs associated with more photos, black & white or creative fine art edits, prints & albums, associate photographer fees, expedited processing of your images, etc.;
- the studio’s refund policy on what’s going to happen if you change or cancel your reservation, it rains, force majeure (“Acts of God” clause), or any other unforeseen changes occur between the signing of the contract and your Paris photo shoot.
How to prepare for your Paris photography shoot like a Rockstar
As mentioned, this is the most important chapter of the guide and the key to kickass photos and sublime experience.
Why? You may ask.
Well, because here’s where we show you how to prepare for an epic Paris photoshoot you’ll remember forever.
Among other things, you’ll discover:
- how to get better photos, including the must-take pictures in Paris;
- the best locations for dreamy photos, including secret photo spots;
- what to wear for a stylish photoshoot in Paris;
- glamorous couple photography ideas;
- swoon-worthy props;
- and much more.
Paris couple photography planning made easy
But first, we need to breakdown the structure of any proper preparation for a couple’s photoshoot:
- get to know your Paris photographer(!);
- create a Pinterest board to exchange basic photoshoot ideas and communicate expectations;
- prioritize the best places to take couples photos around Paris (and if need be, fine-tune the scheduled start time and duration of your shoot);
- optimize your photography session for the most flattering light, efficient commute between locations, easy outfit changes, fabulous props, and the absence of distracting crowds;
- exchange contact information and review the shoot details, including the meeting point and starting time.
Get to know your Parisian photographer
If you’ve ever done a couples photoshoot, you already know the importance of comfort with your photographer.
Everybody knows this, right?
So, the real question is
How do you develop chemistry with your artist? Especially from thousands of miles away.
Start by telling her about you as a couple and where you’re from.
Send her a recent photo of you both.
What’s the special occasion that brings you to Paris (e.g., honeymoon, anniversary, surprise marriage proposal, family vacation, etc.)?
What do you love about her work?
Does she prefer to communicate via email or WhatsApp? Would she possibly even want to say hi on Skype?
Ultimately, the more you know about each other, the faster you’ll connect on the day of your travel shoot.
Plan your Paris photoshoot with a Pinterest board
If you’ve never used Pinterest before … well, you should.
You’ll find pinning is a lot of fun and even a little addictive.
Importantly, it’s a priceless tool to help organize your shoot, manage expectations, and solicit feedback from your Paris private photographer.
What to Pin on your Pinterest board
- favorite Paris photography spots;
Helpful tips on how to create a fantastic Pinterest board for your couple photoshoot.
- Initially, Pin as many amazing photos as you like;
- Pin some images straight from your local photographer’s website (since she’s presumably familiar with her work and can replicate it for you);
- focus on Pins that correspond to the characteristics of your photo session (i.e., similar seasonality, time of the day, locations, etc.);
- the photographs you Pin signal to your Parisian photographer whether you favor a more intimate interpretation (i.e., a close-up approach to capturing the subject with, say, the Louvre Museum softly blurred or only partially visible) versus a panorama (i.e., more distant views of you—the couple—where the context of the setting takes on great prominence).
Now, notice how we said, “initially, Pin as many photos as you like.”
That’s because before you share your Pinterest board with your artist and ask her for feedback, you need first to eliminate everything that is not “essential” to you.
If a photo idea isn’t amazing and relevant, don’t keep it on your Pinterest board.
Target approximately 5-10 (photo) Pins for each hour of commissioned photography coverage.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but less is indeed more. So be relentless.
You’ll force yourself to be disciplined while prioritizing what truly matters to you.
In turn, your Parisian photographer will have more time to comment on each of your Pins and provide meaningful feedback.
Power Tip: Share your Pinterest board with your photographer as soon as possible since she may otherwise be too busy to review it before the shoot.
P.s. say you value privacy, then change your board’s visibility settings to “Keep this board secret.”
Label your Pinterest board in a descriptive way that helps a busy local photographer match it with your travel shoot and date.
For example, “Robert Smith’s Paris Engagement Photos – Sunrise, October 22, 2020.”
Then invite your artist to collaborate by entering her email address into the “Collaborators” field.
Identify your favorite places to take photos around Paris
The City of Lights is picturesque beyond belief and blessed with endless opportunity and countless photogenic spots—from famous landmarks to adorable hidden gems and anything in between.
Yet, it’s not necessarily straightforward to identify and prioritize the best Paris photoshoot locations for you because
- there are too many fantastic spots;
- some work better during specific times of the day or season;
- select attractions, such as the Louvre or the Eiffel Tower at Trocadéro, offer a higher concentration of mindblowing photo backdrops within walking distance of each other (Tip: this translates into more net photography coverage and photo variety);
- a given setting may be particularly well-suited for events that benefit from privacy (e.g., surprise proposal) or rain contingency options.
What are the best spots in Paris for photography and Instagram?
While the primary purpose of this guide is to help you hire the best Paris photographer, no discussion would be complete without a quick rundown of stunning Parisian locations to have your photos captured.
Place du Trocadéro (Eiffel Tower)
Latitude & Longitude: 48.8630° N, 2.2872° E
Best time for photoshoots: sunrise
One of my favorite spots for amazing Eiffel Tower photos is greater Trocadéro, including the open square at Palais de Chaillot, Jardins du Trocadéro, and Fontaine du Trocadéro.
- most iconic Eiffel Tower views;
- freely accessible to the public;
- incredible photo variety (platforms, fountains, walls, stairs, and gardens).
What’s the best time of the day to have a Paris couple photoshoot?
While you can pretty much schedule your shoot any time of the day or night, the most popular options are sunrise, evening, or a combination of both.
So, what’s the difference between starting at sunrise and sunset?
One obvious distinction is the actual start time of your photo session: sunrise shoots—as you may imagine—typically kick-off at or slightly before official sunrise.
Evening shoots, on the other hand, should start well-before the official sunset.
As such, you and your Paris photographer can enjoy a more relaxed pace as you transition into the “Blue Hour” (evening civil twilight) and conclude with nighttime photos (evening nautical twilight).
Natural light allows your artist to be substantially more efficient than when she needs to light you up with artificial sources (e.g., continuous light or flash).
More photos and more photo variety!
Sunrise and sunset times vary depending on the time of the year; the same holds for the “Blue Hour.”
Here’s an excellent sunrise & sunset calculator, which you should consult for the ideal starting time(s) for your shoot.
There’s more, though: your choice of when to start your couple shoot should be based on the following considerations:
- when do you feel most energized (travel can affect biorhythms, mood, energy, hunger, and even romance);
- lighting conditions—sunrise is often a tad more flattering while sunset feels more romantic;
- beauty services (the need for professional hair and makeup);
- privacy & crowds (the earlier you start, the fewer people you can expect).
Over to you.
We know this article was long, but it’s important and continually evolving.
We hope that your photography experience is everything you imagined and more!
Just keep in mind that it takes two—you, the couple, and your Parisian photographer—to Tango, and that your results are positively correlated to the effort you invest in your research and preparations.
So now, we have a simple request from you: leave a comment, sharing your most significant insight from this guide or any tips we may have missed.