Paris is always a good idea

The idea to travel somewhere for a photoshoot started to form over a cup of tea back in Cambridge the day after the Dancing in the Rain photoshoot. We had originally talked about going to Iceland, but as the weather there was rumoured to be a bit unreliable in September, we opted to go to Paris instead. Two and a half months later Annie Magee, Lucy McMahon, Genevieve McMahon and I converged on Paris, all by different routes.

We had found this amazing little apartment on AirBNB, which had a rooftop terrace with a view of the Eiffel Tower. It was the perfect spot for a late night dinner, with the lights on the Eiffel Tower flashing in the background. Our plan for Saturday took form. We had prepared a map with different interesting locations on Google Maps, and as some of those could be quite crowded, we decided to start early, setting the alarm for 6:00 in the morning.

Annie Magee on roof in Paris
We started the Saturday morning with some photos on the roof, with the Eiffel Tower in the background. Nowadays you can not imagine Paris without this characteristic structure, but when it was built in 1889 for the World Expo “Exposition Universelle” it was only meant to be standing for 20 years.

Our first stop was Palais de Chaillot which has a beautiful view of Paris with the Eiffel Tower as the centre piece. When I had passed Trocadéro the night before it had been buzzing with people, but in the early morning hours it was relatively quiet.

Annie Magee doing a ballet pose at Paralis de Chailotte
Annie Magee doing an arabesque at Palais de Chaillot with the Eiffel Tower in the background.
Sisters at Palais de Chaillot
Genevieve McMahon and Lucy McMahon.
Annie Magee at Palais de Chaillot, with a lucky bird in the sky
Sometimes you need a bit of luck to complete the composition. The lone bird passed by in exactly the right place for us to make this photo of Annie.

One of the reasons we started so early was that the weather report had indicated that Saturday would have great weather, while Sunday would give us rain and possibly a thunderstorm. So we wanted to see as much as possible on our first day.

On the steps of Palais de Chaillot overlooking Paris we ran into three wedding photographers each taking photos of their respective couple. One of them had brought bird food, and his assistant was repeatedly luring the pigeons in, only to scare them off so that the photographer could get a photo with them taking off. This looked amazing, so of course we wanted to try something similar, but the only thing we could find at this hour was a sugary doughnut at a nearby food stall, which the pigeons rejected. Note to future self: if we ever make it back here for a photoshoot, bring pigeon food and come really early.

Annie Magee balancing on the railing at Palais de Chaillot
Annie Magee stepping on to the Eiffel Tower.
Annie Magee in a beautiful ballet pose at Palais de Chaillot
When taking a photo like this you want the dancer to stand out. In the case of this, and several other photos, that means a bit of photoshop work when you get back home to remove people in the background. A cleaner background means less distractions for the eye.
Lucy McMahon at Palais de Chaillot
Lucy McMahon reaching towards the Eiffel Tower.

As we were taking photos by the steps down to the park, a wedding photographer approached us and politely asked how long we were planning to use the spot. We offered them the location on the spot if we could take a few photos afterwards with the bride’s beautiful wedding bouquet, not really expecting anything in return, but to our surprise the bride agreed.

Annie Magee playing the bride with a borrowed bouquet of flowers
“When in Rome…” Our improvised wedding photo.

In the background of the photo above you can see the concrete pool that was now drained of water. We decided to head there, then after that go looking for a place to have breakfast.

Lucy McMahon dancing in front of Eiffel Tower
Lucy McMahon in the middle of the pool. Here I am lying on the ground to get this angle. I like how her arm and leg align in this pose. Before we went to Paris we had gathered a google document full with inspirational poses, which is great to have, when you after the first hour or so start to run out of ideas.
Genevieve McMahon by the river banks of Seine in front of Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower and Genevieve McMahon. This spot was also inhabited by wedding photographers, and soon we started to keep an eye out for them, since where they were, you were almost guaranteed to find a good photo location.
Annie Magee, Genevieve McMahon and Lucy McMahon under a bridge, by the riverbank of Seine
Annie Magee, Genevieve McMahon and Lucy McMahon. I am always keeping my eye out for good light, and two of my favourite locations to shoot at are in archways and under bridges. There were plenty of these beautiful spots by the river Seine.

There are so many photos that we have decided to split it up into multiple blog posts.

You can read part two “Paris when it sizzles” here, and part three “We will always have Paris” here.

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