Note: This post is part two of a five part series on photographing Paris:
- Part 1 – The Beauty of Paris
- Part 2 – The People of Paris
- Part 3 – Paris at Night
- Part 4 – A Study of Notre Dame
- Part 5 – Shoot the Details
When you think about Paris you often think about the many beautiful and iconic landmarks: The Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, The Louvre, the bridges… the list goes on and on. It is the people, however, that give a city its soul. Wandering the streets of Paris with a camera was a true joy as a street photographer because you never knew who, or what, was around the next corner.
Take the gentleman in the image at the top of this post. So distinguished. So timeless. So Paris.
This next picture truly sums up the experience of shooting street in Paris: There is iconic architecture. There is a young couple in love. There is an artist painting. They are along the river. There is a timeless feel in Paris… was this picture taken in 2015, or 1945?
The Seine runs through the city and is an amazing place to spend a day shooting street. There are the little book vendors:
And of course, people in love:
Leaving the river and shooting people on the streets of Paris is just as rewarding. Every twist and turn of a street or lane brings a new opportunity to grab a photo that is classically Parisian:
With one or two exceptions, the people I met in Paris were overwhelmingly friendly and inviting. I think this is something people often forget when shooting street photography: Sure it’s great to capture a candid moment, but don’t forget to stop and meet the people… you will rarely be disappointed. I sat listening to this gentleman play, and speaking with him in my broken French, for 15-20 minutes:
As I was preparing for this trip I read that Paris is the most visited city in the world, and of course it is known as the city of love. Everywhere I turned I saw people getting wedding and engagement photos done in front of the iconic landmarks of Paris. The city of love indeed!
Paris is famous for its museums and historic artwork, and it is expected that you will see cultural icons like the Mona Lisa. What I was completely blown away by, however, was the quality of the street performers. We sat for a long time at Sacre Coeur and watched amazing performances worthy of the largest stages:
And, one final photo for this blog post: Paris is a very walkable city (and the metro is extremely efficient), but you often see people on bicycles and scooters. If you wait long enough one of these people will be sure to give you a “moment”:
You don’t need a lot to do street photography in Paris: A good camera, a good pair of shoes, and enough time to wander. It doesn’t really even matter where you go: Along the river, down the side streets, in the parks… Paris is a street photographer’s paradise. Be sure not to just shoot candids though, take the time to get to know the people. They are fabulous and you will have a much better appreciation for the culture of Paris.