Why hiring a photographer in Paris was the best decision I made

If you have been following along my Paris travel journey you may have noticed there are some pretty awesome photos of me and Joe.  How did we get such gorgeous photos of the two of us?  Simple, we hired a professional photographer!

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You may be wondering why I decided to hire someone and its kinda funny how things snowballed.  I saw a package on Fat Tire Tours that was 30 minutes with a photographer at the Eiffel Tower.  I started looking at the reviews and photos and they looked to me like someone took photos with a phone.  I definitely did not want to pay over $200 for something that looks like it was taken on a phone.

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Then I got to thinking, what a great idea it would be to hire a professional to get some awesome photos of the 2 of us in Paris.  Then I started the real research and found some great photographers.  One was already booked for sunrise (the best time to take photos) but had a few recommended photographers.  I had more research to do!

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First I checked their portfolio.  Almost all professional photographers will have some kind of online portfolio so you can see a sample of their work (even better if they have an instagram).  Everyone has a different style and I was looking for something relatively specific.  A lot of the photographers didn’t have the look and style I was envisioning so they were ruled out.

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Others had a great style but their prices were, to me, unreasonable so they got ruled out as well.  The perfect storm was when I found a photographer that had a style that I loved, a price that I could work with and, last piece of the puzzle, availability on the days that we could do the shoot.

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Enter Magdalena.  Based on her portfolio I knew she did great work and based on her price I knew you would get what you paid for (in a good way).  She had a few packages available but none of them really fit what I was looking for.  I sent her an email and we were able to work out a package that fit my needs.  I was already excited!

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Which brings me to my last qualification, prompt response rate.  I had emailed 3 different photographers, 1 responded within 3 hours another within 24 hours and the last not at all.  Now I’m not saying I need a response right away but I would like a response even if your booked.  Magdalena actually had an automatic response email that said she would get back with you within 24 hours.  I really like that because it gave me peace of mind the email was received and to the right person.  Doing things internationally its always a little uncertain so something as little as an automatic reply does wonders for appeasing someone.

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Now that one hard decision was made it was time to pick wardrobe.  I had a few different options but in the end we decided to go with classic black and white.  Its timeless and looks good on everyone.  Plus we felt good in what we were wearing which is really important when taking photos.  If something is too tight/short/low cut and you don’t feel comfortable that will show through in photos.  I also didn’t want to look back on these photos in 10 years and see how out of style they look now.  You really cant go wrong with black and white!  Oh and hair and make-up for me!  So I did my hair all by myself yall!  Proud moment here.  I actually bought a special curling iron (meaning that it could be used in the EU as well as USA) and had Sephora do a mock-up make-up for me a few weeks before so I could see how to do the vintage look myself.  Thank you VIB Rouge.  Classic make-up and hair to go with the timeless style of black and white.

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Throughout this process Magdalena and I had been emailing about location options, props, wardrobe and logistics.  This gave me a lot of confidence in her and peace of mind because she is helping us make sure we are prepared for the day.  Jump to the day before the photoshoot we actually got to meet her for drinks at a Paris cafe to go over the details of tomorrow and finalize our locations and props.  We picked balloon colors, she offered to bring her gorgeous black and white umbrella and we came up with locations (other than Eiffel and Ponte Alexandre).  We left the cafe feeling confident in our choice of photographer and more like we were shooting with a friend.  Which was probably her intention 🙂

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Photoshoot day comes and its a beautiful day.  We had practiced some of the poses she suggested and felt really relaxed.  Magdalena was even open to some of our silly ideas like Joe doing a crazy lift and me wearing my minnie ears.  I think our personality really shined through in these photos which was what I had wanted all along.  She even gave me the ring photos I always wanted.

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Quick aside on that—when I got married I asked our photographer for the apparently cliche picture of my ring in the my bouquet.  The photographer hated the idea, took one photo and I was really disappointed with how it came out (our videographer got a great shot but alas that’s only on video).  I had seen Magdalena take some beautiful photos of rings in macaron boxes and asked her to do that for me.  She was so gracious and got some beautiful photos.  She even did one of my ring on a Eiffel Tower souvenir with the real Eiffel Tower in the background.  7 years later I finally got my beautiful ring shot!

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Even on the fly Magdalena had great ideas.  When we found out that Palais Royale and the Louvre were closed because of fashion week she had some wonderful location ideas ready and waiting.  She was also great with pose ideas.  Joe and I, we don’t sit around the house practicing how to pose so it was extremely helpful that she was more than happy to get us into positions that may have felt strange but looked great on camera.

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I will say this was definitely a splurge, but we spent over 4 hours with her (even though she had contracted 3), went to some wonderful spots in Paris and the photos she produced were beautiful.   I loved every minute of our time during the photoshoot and am so glad this was something we were able to do.  I am even more thankful that Magdalena was able to capture us so well and give us such beautiful photos perfectly capturing the magic that is Paris.

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I don’t want you to think this is a paid advertisement for Magdalena…I mean her link is all over this page…because its not, I paid her for these photos.  Mainly this post is to encourage you to do something unique in a city so beautiful it begs to be photographed.  Second, as a small business myself, when someone does something I love I feel its my civic duty to tell you about it.  Now I know you may not be going to Paris anytime soon, but if you do I highly encourage you to check her out.  We had a wonderful experience that was the icing on the cake of our Paris trip. Non, Je ne regrette rien!!rachaeljoseph-450

The last shot I’m going to leave you with was one of the more difficult ones to shoot.  There was a souvenir vendor who would throw our bird seed, wait for the birds to gather, then stomp his foot to make them fly up.  The wind from all the birds flying at the same time actually had my skirt flying up, but I think it turned out beautifully.  There were some better ones of the birds flying but sadly the birds covered Joe or my face so those weren’t keepers.

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CHIME IN!!!  When was the last time you had professional photography done?  Would you do this if you could?  Where are you traveling to next?

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