Paris engagement photos are not created equal. Clearly, your choice of Paris photographer will have a real impact on your experience and the photos you should expect.
That said, there's plenty you can and should do as you prepare for a world-class Paris engagement session.
We were fortunate to have Erika and Rodney—two grandmasters in the fine art of the engagement photo session—share their tips on what works and what does not work ... so you, too, can achieve photos you'll fall deeply in love with for the rest of your life.
Meet Erika, your Paris engagement expert
Greetings Future Brides,
I’m Erika, from Garden City, Kansas, where I practice dentistry; I'm also the owner of an online hair extension boutique, Bold Hair Imports. My fiancé, Rodney, and I met some 6 years ago, when we applied for the same dental internship in 2011.
Rodney and I recently spent a week in Paris for my birthday (October 10). We stayed in the 8th arrondissement at the Hotel West-End, which is conveniently located between the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum.
Why an engagement photo session? Why Paris?
A Paris engagement photo session is for those couples who truly want something extraordinary!
My local Kansas wedding photographer actually included a complimentary engagement session as part of my collection. However, I was a little over the somewhat uninspiring engagement pictures I had seen of couples strolling through local fields or a random city.
So I figured I'd kill two birds with one stone and make the most out of my birthday in Paris by also getting amazing engagement pictures while we were there already.Paris is the City of Love and Lights and was the ideal location for us. I love the city's iconic architecture, which is simply beyond breathtaking and makes for perfect photo backdrops.
How to identify and book your Paris photographer
I used a simple Google search for "Paris engagement photographer." Kiss Me in Paris popped up as the top-rated photography studio based in Paris ... and all reviews were stellar!
Instagram was also helpful: I'd recommend starting your Instagram search with the following hashtags: #parisphotographer #weddingphotographerparis #loveparis
The entire Kiss Me in Paris team made it easy to book them. I'm admittedly not a big fan of a generic “Contact Us” form since it usually takes so long to hear back from anyone. However, Kiss Me in Paris responded quickly and answered all my questions thoughtfully. I was actually sold from our first email exchange because I loved their professionalism and passion. Their Collection fees are reasonable as well :-)).
essential secrets I'd give my best friend on how to get the most out of her Paris engagement session
I’ll admit I was a little lax when it came to preparing for my own Paris engagement session :-).
That said, we're talking about your engagement pictures here ... you’re in Paris after all ... and you’ve invested real time and resources into getting timeless photos you desire and deserve. So make sure you do not look back one day thinking you could have prepared better!
The Kiss Me in Paris team will likely send you an "on-boarding" email that encourages you to create a so-called vision board using Pinterest.
Get on Pinterest as soon as possible and start tagging every photo you love! Share your Pinterest board with your photographer early in the process so she has an idea of your expectations ... and more important, has enough time to provide feedback (hey, chances are your photographer is busy :-).
I also suggest combing through your photographer's Instagram account and saving all the pictures you love to your phone (there’s a bookmark feature to accomplish this).
On the Kiss Me in Paris website, you'll find a video to help you optimally prepare; the video actually encourages you to practice ... and I wholeheartedly agree! Rodney and I can at times be a little awkward in photos ... so practice really helped us a lot.
Ha, we even did a full-scale dress-rehearsal since I wore a long flowy gown ... and we wanted our attire to add a dramatic touch to our photos. A dress-rehearsal is a splendid idea since in doing so you can coordinate outfits as a couple ... and accordingly save time in Paris during your engagement shoot.
It almost goes without saying, but make sure you’re well groomed. Ladies, if you’re doing your own makeup, practice abundantly! If you’re hiring a local beauty pro in Paris, check if there's an opportunity to do a trial. Invest in a series of facials to ensure your skin looks flawless and radiant. Manicures, pedicures, shave, and perhaps a massage upon arrival after a long flight ...
Gentlemen, this isn’t the time to try out a new barber. Ha :-)). Women, sometimes we just need to help our men :-)): make sure your partner packs all pieces to his suit, tie, cufflinks, belt, handkerchief, socks ... :-)).
Depending on the duration of your Paris engagement session, I'd suggest eating a solid breakfast to help keep you energized and warm.
What you wear during your Paris engagement session truly matters
On the Kiss Me in Paris website, they recommend colors that pop for your attire!
Red is a great choice since it will look stunning in your photographs. Blue complements red well, so Rodney went with blue.
As mentioned, I wanted my gown to be dramatic and regal ... so I chose a long train with a sexy slit. I had a vision of me walking up the stairs at Trocadéro in front of the Eiffel Tower ... and reality exceeded expectations :-).
The one downside was that my dress required lots of adjusting! I had originally wanted to switch outfits for our nighttime session, but ultimately stuck with my red gown to maintain consistency in my photos from sunrise to evening.
I would still consider going with two different outfits if you’re absolutely in love with both. I had a strong preference for my red dress.
Ladies with heels—especially with Christian Louboutin heels—make sure to pack a pair of comfortable and warm shoes as well ... since your Paris engagement session will almost certainly involve a healthy amount of walking.
What were your favorite locations for your Paris engagement session?
My favorite locations were hands-down the Louvre Museum and adjacent Tuileries Gardens: both are just so magical—in the morning and at night.
The Louvre in particular is filled with an abundance of splendid romantic spots, secret hideaways, architectural wonders, and perfect symmetry. It's truly like in a fairytale.
Your two favorite photos. Why?
My absolute favorite photo from our Paris engagement session was the one of Rodney and me running in front of the Louvre Pyramid. It's just us ... and we look so naturally happy ... and the pyramid looks other-earthly! I’ve used this particular photo for our wedding website and it’s also my phone’s screensaver.
My second favorite photo was of us enjoying a quintessential Parisian cafe experience at Cafe de la Comédie. Those photos came out so editorial and happen to be a popular favorite amongst all the photos we shared with our friends and family so far.
How was your Paris sunrise engagement session different from the nighttime shoot?
With the sunrise session, we had more energy and, accordingly, came across a little more energized.
The evening session was decidedly dramatic, sensual, and ever-so romantic. I wanted both elements ... which is why we went with the so-called 2+2 Paris engagement session ... which entails two hours of shooting starting at sunrise and two hours of shooting in the evening, including the magical Blue Hour.
Would you recommend hiring an associate for your Paris engagement session?
Most definitely hire an associate! The photographer will presumably be busy capturing photos and focusing her attention on choreography, providing directions, and connecting with you. And you, the couple, will be focused on posing, deeply connecting, and having fun.
All to say, we commissioned a nighttime associate to watch over our belongings and help with flattering lighting.
As an extra bonus, our nighttime associate actually acted as a de facto personal assistant helping us carry our heavy props and bags from location to location. Do not underestimate this benefit, since It frees up your hands and allows you to truly enjoy the romantic City of Lights without distractions.
If you could do your Paris engagement photo session over again, is there anything you'd do differently next time around?
Hey, it was my birthday :-)) ... so perhaps I should have snuck in a few fun birthday shots. And I would definitely want to try the (in)famous Champagne popping photo!
Never thought a Paris engagement session would be so much fun ...
Cengiz Ozelsel, the co-founder of Kiss Me in Paris, was our Paris photographer ... and almost needless to say, he was simply AMAZING!!
I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but Cengiz made Rodney and me feel so comfortable from the very first moment.
Cengiz is personable and passionate about couple's photography ... and you'll know after the first shots you take.
Our Paris engagement experience has been the highlight of our engagement so far. I never thought having engagement photos taken could could be so much fun :-))! In fact, the public display of affection and intimacy ... along with Rodney's soft kisses made for a truly romantic bonding experience.
A somewhat underrated side-benefit of doing a Paris engagement session was that Rodney and I actually got to experience the City of Lights as tourists. So you're kind of getting a private photo tour with a caring tour-guide who just so happens to capture stunning photos of you as a couple celebrating your love.
When we shared our Paris engagement photos with our families and friends, (and all across social media), we were able to relive those precious memories over again. We received so many compliments and were actually widely featured on several authoritative bridal Instagram pages.
We already decided that we'll return to Paris for our maternity photos and family photos because our experience with Kiss Me in Paris and Cengiz was priceless!