Honestly, I’m not a travel photographer. It’s MUCH harder than it looks. Between tourists photobombing, demanding schedules, safety, and just plain travel exhaustion… it’s a whole new job in itself. That said, I loved EVERY GOSH-DARN-MINUTE of this trip. And I learned so much about travel photography and how to get good photos while traveling to new places. So today, I’m writing the 6 things I learned about taking good travel photos, and all about our time in FRANCE!
What I learned about travel photography:
Don’t go it alone.
My number 1 tip is to bring along a travel buddy! Maybe It’s just me, but had I been alone I would have been very nervous to be flashing around thousands of dollars of gear in some of the more crowded and shady places we visited. (Especially after seeing MANY signs warning about pick-pocketters throughout Paris) Traveling with sexy, tough-guy, Jake gave me a bit more confidence, but we were still cautious in some places, and I found myself constantly wishing I had brought a camera strap (see below).
Packing the right gear
In hindsight, I wish I had packed a bit differently for this trip. Earlier this year, I bought a Sony Mirrorless with the idea that it’d be perfect for this trip, compact but still powerful. Since buying it I’ve disliked every image we’ve made with it… so it hasn’t seen much use, and we actually left it home.
We ended up packing my Canon 5dmIV which is a HUGE camera, with my smallest lens, the 50mm. During our trip I kept wishing I had a smaller camera and larger lens (the 35mm, yes please!). But we made due. I was super pleased with the small travel tripod we brought, and as always the Canon Connect AP is magic. I didn’t bring a camera strap, but really wish I had! I usually never shoot with a strap, but being in such crowded public spaces, I wished I had to hold onto, just in case!
Gear to bring: camera body, small tripod, phone with remote/live view app, wide/versatile lens, camera strap.
Gear not to bring: much of anything else! Keep your pack light and small so you can bring it with you into museums, shops, and restaurants.
Other things about packing for Europe:
Refillable Water Bottle – I ALWAYS travel with my refillable water bottle, and I was super disappointed that there was never anyplace to fill it! Hotels and restaurants looked at me like I was INSANE when I tried to fill mine at their establishments. Everyone just buys plastic water-bottles or sparkling water, which is a bit disappointing for this earth-conscious traveller. So, skip packing a re-usable waterbottle if you’re headed to France.
Umbrella – Pack a good quality umbrella! Ours broke on the very first day we tried to use it… so that was a bummer! Luckily our hotel was pretty ritzy and had some loaners available in the lobby. 😉
Good Shoes – Seriously. Invest in some comfy and cute walking shoes and break. those. babies. in. BEFORE you go. We walked EVERYWHERE.
Coin Purse – Between Euro’s and Franks, we were bursting at the seams with coins just a few days into our trip (they even have 5frank coins!). I found one at Atmosphere MountainWorks that was perfect. 🙂
Time of day
Especially in Paris, Morning is the best time for photographing! Besides having beautiful light in the morning, I feel like the entire city sleeps in till around 9 or 10, so hit the streets and the touristy places(Eiffel Tower!) early and you’ll have it practically all to yourself.
I spent most mornings in total vacation mode(croissants and fresh OJ for brunch errrrryyyyday), but looking back I wish I had hit the streets earlier for better photos!
Be C O N F I D E N T and patient
Don’t be shy! You step up and get that photo! Chances are, you’ll never be in this spot with this light and these conditions ever again. So don’t be nervous when there’s other tourists around watching! Let them watch. Guaranteed you’ll never see them again. 😉
While I’m usually pretty confident with a camera in my hand(years as a professional photographer will do that), I REALLLYYYY struggle with patience while traveling, especially when there’s so much to see! I’ll be working on that for my next trip and really taking the time to get the shot, even if it means waiting around for tourists, cars, or weather to move along.
This is one area where I feel like I did right! I stopped into Poppy’s in downtown Laramie right before the trip and they totally hooked me up! Their new spring line is in and their shelves are fully stocked with the CUTEST plus size (and regular size) women’s clothing. Even though I was exhausted in some of these photos, my wardrobe is still on point. Where better to wear a pretty floral dress than the Gardens of Versailles??
Get tips from the pros
This trip I really learned the value of a travel planner or advisor. Not only can they usually get you better deals on travel, but they also know more about when and where you should go. Not going to lie, planning this trip was VERY stressful… much of which was needless!
In the days before we left I reached out to Alesa from Cultivated Journeys about some planning help and she was INCREDIBLE! Even though I contacted her to late to actually book the experiences for us, she was so so helpful with sending along travel advise and tips! She even sent me the recommendations for the village we visited in Switzerland (post about that coming soon!) and it was my favorite bit of the whole trip!
The photos below are from our days in Paris, exploring city streets and the gardens Versailles, then out into the French countryside to Strasbourg, Riquewihr(the village that inspired beauty and the beast!), and the Alsace wine route.
You better believe your sweet-buns that there’s a post about the dreamland that is SWITZERLAND coming very soon!
Till then, thanks for reading! Have a look and tell me what you think!
Love and appreciation,
As amazing, historic, and magical as Paris is, It’s the small villages, winding cobblestone streets, and castle studded hillsides of the French countryside that completely stole my heart. Exploring the Alsace wine route was like taking a step out of time, and into a fairytale world. Full of flower gardens, forests, and the best cheeses and wines you can imagine.