5 Tips For Taking Photos in Paris
One thing that most people struggle with while traveling (including me) is taking nice photos in popular tourist destinations without hoards of tourists around. Crowds are a nuisance in general, but crowds in an area you’re trying to take a photo can be incredibly frustrating. Paris is especially crowded at all times a year which makes it extra difficult to get a decent photo. Here are some tips that will help you get the perfect Paris photo – even when there are many people around.
1. Go to the location early in the morning
This is my #1 tip. I’ve found that most people on vacation do not typically start their day right at sunrise. For extremely popular tourist destinations like the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, and the Louvre, getting there right when the sun comes up is your best bet to getting a photo without people around. This requires some planning ahead of time – you need to know where you’re going and how to get there so there are not any delays. In Paris, 10-11am was when it started to really get crowded everywhere.
The most popular spot for photos with the Eiffel Tower is at the Trocadero. When we first came here during sunset it was crowded with tons of people sitting on the ledge trying to get photos. We came early on a foggy morning and I changed on location to get photos in this Free People dress.
2. Stand up on something high
There will inevitable be times when you just can’t take a photo without people in the shot. When we went to the Eiffel Tower in the early evening there were tons of people there to watch the sunset. Anywhere I stood there were people in the background taking selfies, getting their own photo taken, or just standing to admire the views. I stepped up onto a ledge and walked across it until I reached a point where my boyfriend could get a good shot of me with the Eiffel Tower. If you’re high up enough, it isn’t possible to get anyone in the background! This can work for multiple places around Paris, but is an especially useful trick at the Eiffel Tower.
3. If you can’t get up high, take a shot from below
Standing on something high works because it forces a low angle photo. If there isn’t anything to stand on, have the person taking the photo get down low. If the photographer kneels down onto a knee and turns the camera up it can give the same perspective as if you were standing up on a ledge or bench. You can also get some more artsy/creative shots by doing this!
Although I was standing on a ledge in this photo, it’s possible to get the same shot standing on the ground at the Louvre if the photographer kneels down!
4. Hold your pose and be patient
This might not be a tip you wanted to hear, but it can make a huge difference in your photos. If you are not able to do any of the tips above, patience is key. Find the spot you want to be standing or sitting, pose, and have the person taking the photo wait until there’s a small break in the crowd. We used this technique for photos at the Arc de Triomphe which has a constant flow of traffic driving around and people taking their own photos.
I stood in my pose and had my boyfriend wait until there was a lull in traffic before quickly snapping a few photos. There were still some cars, but they were small and far away. The two photos below show the difference in just taking a photo despite cars and taking a photo after waiting for a clearing.
5. Take close-ups
It can be a challenge to get a wide-angle photo without other people in the frame. Close-up photos are ideal for capturing portraits that still have some of the Paris feel in the photo. You can take a close-up anywhere, just make sure the lighting is ideal and the background is nice. We stopped on a side street in the 6th Arrondissment to take a quick snap with the Paris street in the background. Small, empty side streets are perfect for portraits because you won’t have other people in the background and it still captures the essence of the city in a cool streetstyle.
Bonus: Use photoshop to edit people out
When you are really out of all your options, photoshop is the way to go. I did not have to do this in Paris because we made it out early enough each day and I was able to stand up on a few ledges. To edit out people, you’ll need 4-5 photos with the camera in the same position. There are many ways to accomplish this, but I find the easiest way is to set up the camera on a tripod. This takes takes patience again as the photographer and will have to hold positions and wait for people to move around.
Take a few photos with you in frame (to make sure you get a shot of you that you like) and then step out of frame so the person taking the photo can take a few more snaps. Once you take some photos with background people in different areas, you will be able to stitch the photos together using the people-less areas of the background.
I’m not an expert and there are many tutorials out there if you want to try this technique and aren’t sure how.