When you come to the City of Lights for your Paris engagement session, you have choices: season, starting time of your shoot, hours of photography coverage, number of locations, outfits, props, transportation … and the selection of your Paris photographer.
Yet, important differences exist between available Paris photo sessions, and it’s good for you to understand them.
Unlike a surprise proposal, which is about candidly capturing the moment, and where one person—by design—is left out of the planning process, a brilliant Paris engagement session can and should be prepared for as a couple.
Hey, it’s not every day that you’re asked to passionately and believably display affection in front of the lens of a relative stranger … or in public for that matter.
That’s why the choice of your Paris photographer needs to be based on more than a cursory view of her photo galleries.
In fact, the personality and energy of your artist have a huge impact on your photo experience … and, by extension, the quality of your Paris engagement and how you’ll remember Paris.
Raving 5-Star reviews and heartfelt testimonials are a brilliant place to find out what others have to say about the photographer you’re considering.
A world-class Paris engagement session is quintessentially about fun, flow, romance, and a delightful mix of powerful connection and emotionally engaging photos.
What are great Paris engagement photos anyway?
Well, the simple answer is that great Paris engagement photos are pictures you’ll fall deeply in love with for the rest of your life … memories of the unique magical connection you and your loved one shared in the City of Lights.
But there’s more … they should confidently embrace the iconic Parisian landmarks and capture the energy that made you feel so alive and in love as a couple.
Hey, it’s ok and even encouraged to embrace the cliché a little in your photos.
But cliché does not mean simplistic.
Quite the opposite actually.
After all, you’re investing in a professional Paris photographer and should demand photos that feel real, make you look amazing … pictures you can frame all over your apartment … and even use for your Save-the-Date cards and wedding website.
Careful preparation is the foundation of a world-class Paris engagement session
After you booked your Paris engagement photographer, and locked in a date and starting time, it’s time to kick-off your Paris engagement session preparations in all earnest.
Let’s be clear: the quality of your experience is related to the amount of time, love and care you put into your preparations.
Hey, there are loads of little details to keep track of … so we recommend taking a deep breath, enjoying the actual process of planning, and staying organized with an inspiration board.
Our preferred choice for documenting your Paris engagement session inspiration is Pinterest since its boards are easily shared with your photographer. Plus, Pinterest tends to be interactive, allowing for convenient feedback between you and your artist.
As an added bonus, you and your artist can save the mood-board to your mobile devices and reference it at any time during your Paris engagement shoot.
Here are 6 essential success factors you need to consider in the course of planning your Paris engagement session.
1. Location matters!
Let’s not mince words: your choice of Parisian locations—the spots where you and your partner will have your photos taken—will substantially affect your privacy and the scene for your photos.
In turn, the variety and combination of your locations will, collectively, contribute to the overall impact of your Paris engagement photo gallery as well as how you remember your time in Paris.
Now … we’re fortunate that Paris just so happens to be the most romantic place in the known universe with the most instantly recognizable and iconic backdrop, the Eiffel Tower.
That’s one reason why approximately 80% of our Paris engagement sessions start in the immediate vicinity of the Eiffel Tower.
Then again, limiting yourself to only the Eiffel Tower would neither do you nor Paris justice; there are simply too many irresistible locations, such as:
- the Seine River bank
- Louvre Museum, including the courtyard and pyramids
- Notre Dame
- Bir-Hakeim Bridge
- Alexandre III Bridge
- Moulin Rouge
- Tuileries Gardens
- … and even locations in between locations.
More photography coverage means more locations means more variety and more fun.
However, more photography coverage comes at an additional cost. And spending more money never feels great. Not to you. Not to us. And pretty much not to anyone.
Yet, you’ve already invested real time and resources into coming to Paris, and smartly booked a once-in-a-lifetime Paris engagement session. You might as well take full advantage of this opportunity and get the coverage you desire and deserve … and not look back later … asking “what if.”
2. How many hours of photo coverage do you really need?
This brings us to an important consideration: if all you want is the Eiffel Tower, you may be able to get by with a and 30-minute or 1-hour Eiffel Tower engagement session around Trocadero, Champs de Mars or the Bir-Hakeim Bridge.
As you can imagine, 30-60 minutes is not much time to warm up to your photographer, connect believably with your loved one, and create real memories—especially in a spread-out, busy city such as Paris.
So, if you’re pressed for time, we recommend getting more out of just one location instead of rushing multiple locations considering that your commute between locations and change of outfits can already significantly reduce your net photography coverage.
One of the most important factors in determining the right amount of photography coverage for your Paris engagement session is how many locations you’d like to experience … which brings us to …
Introducing the Golden Rule
each additional hour of photography coverage = 1 extra location + 1 extra outfit change + the commute between locations
If you’ve never been to Paris and would like to get a sense of what can reasonably be achieved in a given amount of time, then here’s a popular collection that works well for our couples: a 3-hour Paris engagement session = 3 brilliant locations + transit + 2 outfit changes.
3. Logistics is about getting you from one location to the next while increasing your net photography coverage and minimizing fatigue
What’s net photography coverage anyway?
It’s an important concept for you to understand since it will ultimately affect the flow of your Paris engagement session and the amount of amazing photos you’ll get.
Ultimately, net photography coverage is about value or how much you’ll really get for your money.
Even when two Paris photographers are comparable in skill and price, your expected amount and quality of photos per dollar spent, will differ based on your:
- comfort level with your artist
- level of preparedness (hey, you’re already light-years ahead of most couples just by reading this)
- photographer’s understanding of your expectations and inspiration board
- photographer’s familiarity with your desired Paris locations
No discussion of logistics is complete without addressing the available options for getting around Paris.
As in most world cities, you can travel by subway (Métro), train (RER), bus, taxi, boat, bike, rental car, motorcycle, and even horse carriage.
However, in Paris, some forms of transit simply trump others.
One option is to walk, and the argument in favor of walking is that you and your photographer can be spontaneous when unexpected photo opportunities arise. We even talk about “locations in between your planned locations,” which are those unanticipated moments that can shape your Paris engagement experience and make for some of the most memorable photos.
Perhaps a little counter-intuitively, walking is not the cheapest way to get around town. Quite the opposite since time is really money when it comes to your Paris engagement session (net photography coverage).
A real drawback of walking from location to location is that it can cause foot-fatigue and dehydration—especially on summer days …. and when you’re carrying props and attire.
So what then is our preferred way of getting around Paris?
It’s called UBER PARIS. Chances are that you’re already familiar with the app that brings riders and drivers together quickly. Best of all, UBER in Paris tends to be of higher quality and cheaper than a taxi.
Some of you may already be wondering how to call an UBER without internet connection in a foreign country. Well, either we can make a quick pit-stop at a restaurant with WIFI, or you simply ask your photographer to call an UBER for you and compensate her after the shoot.
Here are a few more tips to help you ace your Paris engagement logistics planning:
- pack lightly and consider leaving precious items such as your camera, wallet, and passport at your hotel. You want to be free to blissfully connect with your partner, and not worry about your belongings;
- check the weather forecast before you leave your hotel since it can be a little chilly around sunrise—we recommend dressing in layers;
- bring a pair of comfortable (flat) shoes you can easily slip into when you’re not being photographed;
- get a good-night of sleep 🙂
4. Props are a fun way to add spice to your Paris engagement session, energize you as a couple, and distract from unwanted camera awareness
When you use props that are within character, they energize your Paris engagement shoot, encourage believable connection, and distract from unwanted camera awareness.
For example, say you pop a French Champagne and shake the bottle for good measure, the bubbly fluid will burst out in such fabulous force that you’ll not even have the time to think much. Instead, you and your partner will find yourself actively enjoying your own spectacle in a way you’ll never forget.
And that’s really the main purpose of a prop—to encourage splendid, real interaction between two people deeply in love.
Conversely, a prop that is not within character, may actually distract you from connecting with your partner, and diminish your Paris engagement experience in the process.
So what props should you consider for your Paris engagement session?
After hundreds of fabulous Paris engagement sessions, we’ve pretty much seen it all—the good, the great, and the other-earthly!
5. Dress to impress
Formal wear is by no means required, but style is. Hey, you’re in Paris, and so it’s important to never forget to remain seductively elegant.
6. The high & delicate art of the kiss [and connection] during your Paris engagement session
It’s not every day that you’re asked to passionately display intimacy and affection in front of the lens of a relative stranger.
But kissing is a lot of fun … and you’re now working with Kiss Me in Paris after all.
We’re not here to teach you how to kiss … instead, we recommend that you perfect your kiss even before you arrive in Paris.
Not the worst homework for a Friday night, right?
As you can imagine, kisses come in all shapes and sizes …
- forehead kiss
- Eskimo kiss (always a fun choice since it encourages connection, laughter, and playfulness 🙂
- passionate French Kiss (now you’re talking!)
- single-lip kiss (definition: you suck the lip of your partner, sandwiching his lips in between yours—pretty sexy when done right)
- kiss on hand (chapeau gentlemen!)
- prolonged kiss (when the couple holds the kiss while waiting for their photographer to capture the photo; try to avoid this one if believable and fun results are what you’re after)
- butterfly kiss (not as great on photos as the Eskimo)
- kiss on cheek (ok for family or cutie pictures)
- blowing kisses in the air (always a splendid idea)
- kiss on the neck (makes for decidedly sensual and intimate photos)
How about a kiss that will truly take his breath away?
Here’s the deal: for the most part, we’re neither actors nor models. Yet, we possess one incredibly powerful advantage: it’s called love.
You’re intimately aware of your partner’s little imperfections, which collectively make him so perfect for you. You like the scent of his skin, the way he softly caresses you, and that he just makes you feel like the most desirable woman alive.
But love is not enough … at least not for game-changing Paris engagement photos.
You see, how else can you explain why so many pictures on popular bridal blogs simply look uninspiring, un-believable, unnatural, and quite frankly … a little boring?
Don’t let your kiss look boring!
The perfect kiss on photos comes down to multiple factors, including lighting, the photographer’s perspective versus you, and of course your chemistry.
Kiss because you love it … because it tastes delicious and feels so right. Do not try to kiss for the photo, which typically results in unwanted camera awareness. The best photo of you kissing is actually a side-effect of you connecting naturally with your loved one.
Finally, keep in mind that it’s often the moment before the kiss—before your lips connect—that works best in photos, since it leaves plenty of mystery to the imagination of the viewer of your photographs.
What if you do not want to kiss in public or cultural traditions discourage public display of affection?
No problem. Kissing is not essential for spectacular Paris engagement photos. However, it’s still important that you commit to real, believable connection for best results.
- keep your breath fresh with a mint and by staying hydrated. Our engagement sessions can require an unusual amount of kissing stamina 🙂
- breathe on each other generously (it’s all about chemistry!)
- visualize him with your eyelids softly closed
- when your photographer is shooting from a low vantage point, never kiss away from your artist, i.e. stay neutral or lean towards the camera (this is also great advice for your First Kiss at your wedding)
- for silhouette photos, you do not want to actually physically touch, since light needs to penetrate the harmonious inter-spacing of your bodies