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! :)

We start our photo session 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 session 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 session 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 :)

WHY NOT BOOKING A PHOTO SESSION IN PARIS WHEN TRAVELING TO THE CITY OF LIGHT? VICTORIA & DANY AT ROYAL PALACE

They are young, elegant, gorgeous, and vibrant. And above all they're not worried about looking ridiculous jumping around the park and making silly poses under the rain with their damaged umbrellas. Her name is Victoria and she comes from Russia, her husband is Dany and he's French Parisian. They met at University in Scotland and are both as crazy as each other. Despite challenging weather, they've decided to book a couples’ photo shoot at Palais Royal to immortalize their memories in the City of Lights.

They've been married for almost 4 years and each moment, each pose, each touch and kiss feels like the first one. Whether it’s raining or shining, their vibrant smiles brighten the sky and it looks like time has stood still in this idyllic Parisian background. It's amazing how comfortable they feel in front of the camera and it looks like they are professional models and have been doing this their entire life. I'm really impressed with their energetic mood despite this dreary weather, and I can't understand why some people are so relaxed posing in front of a camera while others feel anxious.

I'm not used to shooting in this wet weather much, and don't feel very comfortable in the cold. The raindrops are a little annoying and the icing on the cake is that the light isn’t very pretty for getting the results I’d hoped for. Despite the bad conditions, I am surprisingly enjoying the experience and having a blast: It feels like everything is set up for a black and white movie from the 20's: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...  ACTION!

There’s one thing I remembered in that very special moment that felt so powerful: "Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass... It's about learning how to dance in the rain."

I'm now waiting impatiently for the next photo shoot in the rain...