HONEY MOON IN PARIS - A TWO-HOUR MORNING PHOTO SHOOT WITH MERVE & KEMAL

If you were living in Europe and had to choose a city for your honeymoon reachable in only a couple of hours, where would you go and what would you do in 48 hours? Audrey Hepburn does not need to convince us anymore, her “Paris is always a good idea” famous quote has travelled all around the world before inspiring thousands of people.

Merve and Kemal just got married in Belgium in September and wanted to travel to Paris to celebrate their union in a very romantic and unique place in the world. They wanted to capture their memories at Eiffel Tower but also add the Louvre Pyramid as a backdrop of their fairy tale couple photo session experience in Paris.

In mid-November at 8AM in the morning, it’s rather cold with 3 degrees outside and the sky is kind of greyish. Autumn is almost over and winter is approaching step by step. At this time of the year, it’s difficult to find motivation to work outdoors even though you live in Paris and you love your job very much. This is the one and only thought that goes through my mind while waiting for my guests by the beautiful Louvre courtyard.

Finally, when I see the Bride with her elegant white dress walking towards me followed by her husband a few minutes later, it feels warmer and at that exact moment my creativity’s going all over the place. My only motivation from now on is to capture the most beautiful memories for this newlywed couple in the next two-hours.

“We had a very nice experience with Paulette in Paris. We came for Paris for an after-shoot. And luckily we did this! The photos were beautiful and professional! Definitely recommended!” Merve & Kemal




3 GENERATIONS IN PARIS: A SESSION AT THE EIFFEL TOWER

Elizabeth, Elle and Cynthia: 3 women, 3 generations from the US travelling to Paris for a memorable photo shoot at the Eiffel Tower and its surrounding gardens. The three of them are wearing black dresses to match each other’s outfit: it’s crazy the similarities in their look and their smile: they look so connected.  We’re in a hurry and have to do fast because we misunderstood each other for the location’s meeting and we only have half an hour left as they need to run into another appointment afterwards. With experience and because I’ve been through the area hundreds of time already, we managed to do a wide range of poses that make them more than happy. After they got home, they’ve left this lovely review that has truly touched me:

“I really wanted some professional quality portraits from our vacation. It was a great experience to not worry about having to take photos ourselves. Paulette was great and took really amazing photos with lots to pick from. Wonderful experience! Thanks so much!” Elizabeth

 

FAMILY PHOTO SHOOT AT JARDIN DES TUILERIES WITH A PARIS PHOTOGRAPHER

Having met so many women via photo shoots, if I had to select one in honor of International Women’s Day, it would be a woman that I had the opportunity to meet a few months ago.

Last October, Rime called me to organize a last minute family photo session. She didn’t tell me which members of the family would be involved. I imagined Rime was a mother of two, probably because of the stress I heard in her voice when trying to find a timeslot in what must have been a very busy schedule. At first, she suggested Montmartre, a lovely and photogenic area for family portraits. But instead, I suggested that Jardin des Tuileries was more suitable for a family, and she agreed! As I always do, I set the meeting point at the entrance of the garden on the Concorde side, so it’s easier for everyone. As soon as I arrived, she phoned me so we could find each other.

After a brief introduction, she brought me to the fountain not far from the entrance and introduced me to her parents. She explained that the photo session was a gift for her parents who were visiting for a couple days and she wanted to create nice memories for them. I said hello to the couple but we could not communicate much as they could not speak French or English. I’m not sure where they came from, but Rime gave them instructions in a language I could not understand nor recognize and I didn’t dare ask straight away. We started the walk through the terrace garden with its gorgeous view of Paris, and enjoyed the colorful autumn leaves on the trees and on the ground. It was all a lovely extension of the beautiful summer we’d had.

We couldn’t walk much since Rime’s parents would get exhausted, so we stayed around the terrace where there were hundreds of opportunities to create meaningful memories: greens chairs, Parisian benches, trees, fountains, nice views of Paris… What else can one ask for? The elderly couple played the game extremely well even though we could not understand each other. They were communicative in their own way, smiling and laughing when posing in front of the camera.

After half an hour of posing here and there, we stopped the photo shoot because the couple started to be tired and Rime walked with me to grab a coffee outside the garden to get change and pay me for the session. While just the two of us, we exchanged more intimate words and I finally asked her about their family story. Her family comes from Palestine and it had been a long time since she had seen her parents. They were growing old and she was not sure when she would have the opportunity to see them again. Recently, they had been rather depressed and she hoped that a photo shoot would make them feel better before they return home. Hearing those words, I got goose bumps all over and it reminded me of my own family story.

I was very touched by her words: “I managed to make them laugh and this is all that mattered to me. Thanks Paulette for your generosity”. This photo shoot is by far the most beautiful I’ve ever had, featuring an aging couple in their seventies with a painful story but who can still find the energy to smile, laugh and have faith in life!

A FAMILY PHOTO SHOOT AT JARDIN DES TUILERIES WITH ANA & SYLVIA

Looking at them you’d think they’re Scandinavian, but they're not. Tall and slim with blond hair, you can tell the Lagos sisters are definitely Latino listening to them talking to each other in Brazilian Portuguese. Ana has been living in Paris for over a decade and her older sister Sylvia has been in London for more than 20 years. Sylvia and her kids, 11-year-old Clarissa and 9-year-old Daniel, are enjoying the school vacation to visit Ana and dog Frère Jacques in the City of Light. And it’s the perfect moment to capture family memories.

 We meet at the entrance of Jardin des Tuileries in front of the big wheel on Place de la Concorde and I recognize Ana immediately, whom I met couple of years ago. But this time, something has changed for sure. She’s not the same, she looks very different. If I had to describe her in 3 powerful words, I would say: stunning, happy and PREGNANT! She is big but not enormous for being a pregnant woman, now at 6 months and you can tell all the weight is concentrated on her belly. And no wonder why! She’s expecting twins! :)

I'm so excited, this is just the kind of photo shoot I dream to have more often: adults, children, a pet and—above all—a pregnant woman! What more can one ask for? And what do you think the icing on the cake is? The weather's been terrible the whole week, but this morning the sun is out and the sky is blue. I'm lucky and must have been good in a previous life! :) Yet, I have to be careful as too much light can over-expose and burn my pictures so I have to play with the camera settingsshutter speed, aperture, white balance, ISO, etc.  I also have to make sure the sun's behind me so that my subjects are not dark in the pictures

We start our photo walk around the terrace garden, as dogs are not allowed inside. We have fun posing during the walk and really connect. I'm so touched seeing how close the whole family is. You can see the love bursting between the sisters as well as the kids! We talk together a lot during the photo shoot. We take little breaks sometimes and laugh and tell each other stories in a whole mix of languages. I speak French with Ana, English with Sylvia and the kids; the sisters speak Portuguese with each other and we all mix the languages up talking to Frère Jacques the dog! :)

What a morning! Lots of walking, making great photo shots and having nice chats. Laughter and a great time in just a couple of hours. I wish every day could be like that, but sometimes bad moments don’t hurt so we can enjoy and appreciate the good ones. I went back home really looking forward to seeing the results! I send a few pictures to the family in the afternoon and the reply is short but says it all: “we LOVED it!”. How else can one feel after that but incredibly happy? 

The one lesson I’ll remember from that session is that success cannot only be measured by the amount of money you make by selling a service, nor the quality of the product or service you provide. Above all, it’s the impact, emotions and happiness that you create through connections with people! Photography is for me the best job in the world.

ANNIVERSARY PHOTO SESSION IN PARIS WITH MARIA & ANDREW - PHOTOGRAPHER IN PARIS

It's 8AM in Paris. The temperature is minus something outside. It’s dark and miserable. Another typical winter day like so many in December here. I don’t want to get out of bed, nor get dressed to face the freezing cold. I have hit snooze on my alarm clock several times already and in a superhuman effort, managed to jump out of bed, get to the bathroom, have a quick shower, dress warmly, and quickly swallow breakfast and enjoy a cup of hot coffee before leaving the apartment to make my morning appointment on time.

When I got into the Parisian metro—fully packed of course (this is Paris), I thought to myself, ironically: "I've chosen to work as a freelancer to be able to choose my schedule, and now I find myself in the same routine as most people who've got a 9-5 job! That really sucks!" Why do people book a photo shoot in the cold winter, wouldn’t spring be better? No! Because they’re only travelling in Paris then and won't be back anytime soon.

And why that early? Oh, I remember, because I’m the one who suggested it because there are fewer people in the morning, and after 9.30AM the Eiffel Tower is totally packed! Do I kick myself?! :) They’re from the United States and like many Americans it was one of their life’s dreams to visit the City of Lights one day and see the famous and iconic Eiffel Tower. Maria, a tall, gorgeous and sweet woman walked towards me in high heels accompanied by her husband Andrew, a friendly and courteous man. They are already married but Paris was more of an opportunity to capture their memories and intimate moments while on vacation. Both were dressed very elegantly for the occasion even though the temperatures were at the lowest for the season.

I felt a bit disappointed because the light was not very good for a photo shoot and heavy mist was hiding the top of the Eiffel Tower.  We walked, posed, shot photos, smiled, moved, and talked… They took their winter jackets off from time to time for various pictures: So brave, so much admiration for them! Finally, after 45 minutes, we’d covered the whole area and everything was now in the camera.

I went back home, uploaded the pictures, worked on the post-treatment and surprisingly, they all looked gorgeous. As the light was not very pretty, I had converted most of the pictures to black and white and the fog gave them a very romantic and fairytale-like mood. The black and white images had a sort of vintage style look of Paris in the 20-30's, reminding me of Robert Doisneau pictures' style taken on the same spot. 

I finally sent the final photos to Maria and Andrew the day after, and their first feedback was: OMG! :) Not sure how to actually take it but I never had any complaints afterwards :)

PARIS LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHER - A PHOTO SHOOT AT GALERIE VIVIENNE WITH FREYA: PORTRAIT OF A YOGI

Freya is the director of multi-media lifestyle magazine Nourrir, the French word meaning “to nourish”. Not only is she a magazine editor, she is a true and inspiring woman, a fashion lover, yogi, traveler and this time she is in Paris to be the ambassador of Tonic Active Tribe, a Canadian designed and manufactured yoga, active and lifestyle brand.

It's one of those typical Parisian winter days: Chilly outside but the sky is blue and the sun's out which is why we've chosen an indoor location so Freya can practice different yoga poses to promote her outfit. (I have to confess the location is one of my favorites in Paris, and I mainly recommend it to travelers whenever it's cold or raining.)

Our photo shoot starts at Bistro Vivienne in Galerie Vivienne, with Freya wearing a casual dress. The lighting is not very good, it's pretty dark inside but the deco is amazing and the atmosphere warm and cozy inside the cafe. We are on the first floor, and there's nobody else apart from us. It almost looks like we are in a movie set up. I like the sort of old style and vintage furniture and despite the bad luminosity, I managed to capture some wonderful shots before we continue our session through the gallery.

For the photo shoot we stay for a while in a long corridor half way between the entrance and the exit, where the light is just perfect. Even though it's freezing cold, Freya is trying different yoga postures in which she sits, stands, falls over, gets up again, falls again, etc. We are really having fun! This is what I love about my job: every location, every customer and every experience is different; no day is the same as another and you never have the same conversation twice.

After an hour, we finally end the photo shoot indoors and decide to do a few photo portraits outdoors to capture the essence of Paris before enjoying a nice coffee together and having a wonderful conversation about yoga, travel and creativity...

Model: Freya Boulakbeche
Clothing: Tonic Active

 

 

 

MEET MELANIE FOR A PARIS PHOTO SHOOT AT JARDINS DES TUILERIES

It's one of those beautiful winter Saturdays when the sky is blue, the light soft and pretty and the temperature warm enough to go for a wander on a photo shoot. Melanie, the woman I’m meeting at Jardin des Tuileries, near Place de la Concorde, has been planning for it and she’s so lucky that it's very mild weather for December.

We are meeting at the front entrance early in the morning before the park gets crowded with locals and tourists exploring the many beauties and treasures it has to offer. As first impressions go my client seems friendly and beautiful, yet a little reserved so challenge #1 will be to make her feel relaxed and comfortable during the photo session so we can get the best results she’ll be expecting, even though she's never done this before.

Melanie has been living near Paris for couple of years already and moved to the City of Lights for work a couple of years ago. But as is sometimes the case she never has much opportunity to visit Paris as she lives and works in the suburbs about an hour away from the city center. When we meet, she told me the reason she decided to do this solo portrait session: the photo shoot is a gift to herself, as a memory of her time in Paris to immortalize the present moment and one day be able to say that she's lived in Paris, one of the most beautiful cities in the world :) 

We walk around the park and pick various great spots with little Parisian details as a background setting: a view of the Eiffel Tower, the Concorde wheel, the fountain, a tree, a statue, etc. The opportunities for a portrait photo shoot in Paris are infinite; this is what I truly love about this city!

As time passes by, the park gets busier with people enjoying the unusual winter sunshine and gorgeous light: Just what I need for my photography portrait session! As we head to les Jardins du Louvre to get a couple of nice shoots, Melanie has graciously learnt how to behave for the camera. Modeling does not have any more secrets for her: She knows how to move, smile, stand, sit and walk, and all very au naturel! Who said that being a model was an easy job?

If you haven't tried the experience yet, book one of my photo shoot packages and you can find out what it’s like:)

 

 

A PHOTO SESSION IN PARIS, EIFFEL TOWER WITH AMANDA & ANDREW - PRIVATE PHOTOGRAPHER IN PARIS

There are days when you feel lazy and do not want to leave the apartment. Yet I have to as I have a photo shoot at the Eiffel Tower today. Luckily it's not as early as usual; my appointment is only at 11AM. I finally leave the apartment and make my way slowly to the metro station, which takes me to the meeting point in less than 45 minutes. But I end up arriving late all the same which I didn’t want because it’s not professional, but I will say it was not entirely my fault: The train always gets delayed when it’s not the right time, but it still means I have to run to the appointment.

I apologize to Amanda and Andrew when I arrive of course. They’re a young and lovely couple and have traveled from the US. I feel so grateful at that moment: How many foreigners want to see the Eiffel Tower but once in their lifetime, and I actually live here, in Paris, right in the center and I can see it anytime I want. Amanda and Andrew seem not to be typical Americans and that’s the first thing they tell me when we meet: We don’t want to do the classic poses the Americans usually want to do! :) But any crazy ones, just for fun, to remember their crazy time in Paris

We start walking and I was really amazed how comfortable they are with the poses. Amanda jumps on Andrew's back, they hug, they kiss very sweetly, they look at each other tenderly and even though they've been together for over a decade, they look as much in love as if they’ve only just started dating... Lots of emotion wells up seeing that.

After having done all the crazy things they can do, we walk towards the river Seine for a quieter time to capture the final memories. A couple of shots more here and there hand in hand in beautiful light before I put all my equipment back in my bag to run to the next photo shoot at idyllic Bir-Hakeim Bridge.

LOOKING FOR A PHOTOGRAPHER IN PARIS? MEET ALICIA & MICHAEL FOR A PARIS PHOTO SESSION IN MONTMARTRE

Today, I feel lucky (and happy): It happens sometimes :) I'm not a particularly lazy person but today my photo shoot is scheduled in Montmartre, right next to my neighborhood. I love this location (not just because it's very nearby and I can walk up there) but it's a nice area which looks like a little village within Paris with its cobblestone streets, cute little boutiques and cozy cafes, typical Parisian bars and restaurants as well as countless bakeries full of delicious pastries that make every passerby’s mouth water just gazing through the window.

In the afternoon I finally meet Alicia and Michael. They’re a young couple I didn't know much about. Alicia's name sounded Spanish and I really thought she was until I had spoken with her and found out she and her partner come from the South of France. They look young, natural, good looking, friendly and above all caring and affectionate to each other: The perfect couple that would give me the perfect pictures!

The only one thing I didn't know before and that I found out when I met them is that the photo shoot would not include 2 people but... 2.5 or 2.75!  Alicia is very pregnant, almost at her 7th month, and that's the main reason they organized the photo shoot: to immortalize that special moment with 7 being a lucky number! As we walk around Montmartre, Alicia and Michael tell me they’re getting married the year after in the South of France, sometime during the summer. Alicia feels very comfortable during the photo shoot; she has a very natural and vibrant smile and appears very affectionate and emotional, while Michael seems a little nervous but caring and protective at the same time.

Despite the strong light, we manage to find little streets and alleys with shadows and more quiet locations to do our photo shoot. After a couple minutes’ walking, talking, doing poses and portraits, Michael became more relaxed and Alicia as radiant as ever. I wouldn't say this about every woman I meet, but it looks and feels like pregnancy suits her particularly well!

A BIRTHDAY PHOTO SHOOT IN MONTMARTRE WITH A PRIVATE PHOTOGRAPHER

Even though it's summertime, it feels like the weather outside isn’t good when I wake up. I look through the window and it seems it's raining: Bad as today we haven't chosen a covered passage. I immediately text Judlyn, who's booked the photo session as a birthday gift for her sister Jessy. It's supposed to be a surprise photo shoot to celebrate Jessy's 25th birthday, so she doesn't know why she has to travel to Paris so early in the morning with her sisters. Little does she know the surprise that’s waiting for her.

It’s only when I get to Anvers metro station and meet them for the appointment that Jessy realizes what we’re planning to do for an hour in Montmartre. Suddenly you can see her excitement, as she’s always wanted to do a professional photo shoot. When you look at her, she looks like one of those self-confident women that have done it their whole life. Great! I thought to myself, as I needed someone who’s comfortable in front of the camera to get wonderful pictures in order to build my portfolio.

Jessy seems very relaxed walking all around Montmartre chatting with her sisters. She does everything I ask her to: posing, smiling, and playing! She is the perfect model every photographer would dream to have. We are extremely lucky, as the rain had stopped when we started the walk, and even though the sun is missing, the light is not too bad! Everyone's having a great time and Jessy looks so happy with her special gift; It's her unique moment, an experience she can truly enjoy and keep as a wonderful memory.

Not only did Jessy enjoy the photo walk but her sisters also realized how much they appreciated being able to discover Paris at the same time, as living in the suburbs doesn’t give them the opportunity to visit and enjoy the City of Light that often. A photo shoot, a beautiful walk in one of the most beautiful areas of Paris, family time combined with good weather, and above all eternal memories: What else could you ask for to celebrate a 25th birthday?