To get the perfect Paris photos, it’s a matter of knowing where to look. Paris rooftops from Galleries Lafayette. (Photo: iStock)
Paris is without doubt one of the most photogenic cities in the world. Between the Old World architecture, cute cobbled streets and super stylish locals, you won’t know where to point your camera (or smartphone) first. Whether you are serious photography buff or a casual Instagrammer, the City of Light offers countless scenes and subjects that translate into exquisite photos.
Need some inspiration? Sometimes it all comes down to knowing where to look. To help you on your photographic quest, try these suggestions — from unique architectural features and quirky shopfronts to lush gardens and moody weather. Happy snapping…
Photo Assignment #1: Paris in the Rain
Paris is a magical place in any weather conditions – even when it’s drizzling and wet. To capture the enchanting atmosphere of a rainy day in Paris, try heading to one of the iconic bridges over the Seine. The stark, elegant lines of Pont Alexandre III, for example, look striking outlined against a gunmetal grey sky, or haunting as they melt into the mist. Alternatively, tuck yourself away inside a cosy bistro or café to photograph the street outside through the rain-spattered windows. Fancy something a bit melancholy? Head to Père Lachaise or Montparnasse Cemeteries to get arty shots of pensive statues.
Suggested filters: Inkwell, for crisp, classic black-and-white style or Sutro, for gothic drama.
Photo Assignment #2: Opulent Interiors
Consider filling your frame with the gilded, mirror-bedecked glory of centuries past. Head straight for the grandiose Palace of Versailles, home to some of France’s most illustrious royalty and reachable by RER train. But there is plenty of grandeur with in the city too.
Inside the Palais Garnier, home of the Paris Opera, find glimmering chandeliers and gilded columns or the glowing stained glass windows that flood the interior of the Sainte-Chapelle with jewel-toned light. Maybe you want to shop and snap at the same time. The Galeries Lafayette has an eye-catching blend of ornate, historic architecture and glossy luxury goods.
Suggested filters: Lo-Fi, to bring out vibrant colors or Ludwig, to create contrast and make lights sparkle.
Photo Assignment #3: Colorful Streets and Markets
Paris has no shortage of eccentric cobbled streets and lanes filled with charming shopfronts, not to mention covered markets packed with a brilliant smorgasbord of food, crafts and other treasures perfect for detailed, close-up shots. Head to the Marché Mouffetard — vividly described by Hemingway in “A Moveable Feast” — for stalls full of colorful fruit and vegetables, plus cheese, seafood, charcuterie, patisseries and more; or stroll through the streets of the bohemian Quartier Latin, such as the famous rue de la Huchette or rue St. Séverin, for quaint scenes of shops, cafés, crêperies and street life with a vintage feel.
Suggested filters: Hefe, to subtly enhance the colors of foods or Earlybird, for a vintage, sepia tone.
Photo Assignment #4: Paris in the Spring
Paris is almost synonymous with spring. Anything you’ve ever envisioned about the City of Light is in full bloom at this time of year. Seek out Paris’ cherry blossoms — their brilliantly pink blossoms add a certain “je ne sais quoi” to any photo. The cherry blossoms near the Eiffel Tower may be the most famous, but there are also photo-worthy clusters near Notre Dame and in the garden at the Petit Palais. Want something more dramatic? Check out the massive cherry tree in the Jardin des Plantes, for more stunning blooms.
Suggested filters: Nashville, for a warm, pastel haze or Valencia, to add a subtle antique feel.
Photo Assignment #5: Quirky Architectural Details
History lives in Paris architecture. You can take journey from the Middle Ages through the Belle Époque with camera in hand. Start with the handsome vaulted ceilings in the Conciergerie, for dramatic, medieval-inspired shots, or climb to the roof of Notre Dame for close-ups of grimacing gargoyles overlooking the city. Make your way into more modern times by snapping shots some of Paris’ iconic Metro stations with winsome Art Nouveau entranceways and go contemporary with eccentric “inside-out” design of the Centre Pompidou.
Suggested filters: Ludwig, to subtly sharpen details or Brannan, to create dramatic shadows with a sepia tinge.