Dade Freeman
Photographer & Trainer


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A weekend in Paris


What do you do when you are not in a place mentally or psychically to produce work? When you are not inspired by your surroundings? When all the best images seem to have already been taken? Change something, ANYTHING! Your situation, your gear, your surroundings. Even if only for a short period. Rent or borrow a camera / lens. Go somewhere new. Buddy up with someone. 

You MUST keep moving, even the slightest of steps forward is a step in the right direction. Unless you change, that dying flickering light you have, will eventually extinguish.

As they say 'a change is as good as a rest', and I was desperately in need of a change. I hadn't used my camera properly since my last trip to New Zealand, so I was itching to get out and work that muscle memory, as well as my trigger finger.

Rather than just snap around where I am, let's face it, where you live always seems boring compared to other locations, I decided to go back to Paris. I had not been there for 15 years! Why Paris? Audrey Hepburn said it best "Paris is always a good idea" - besides Paris is such an iconic, evocative city, why not!

I booked a ticket on the Eurostar, and so my adventure began. It was an early start, VERY early. The great thing about taking the Eurostar is you arrive right in the centre of Paris, early and with no messing about with luggage or transfers from the airport.  

Let's face it, no matter how seasoned a photographer you are when you arrive somewhere for the first time, you're a tourist - and that's OK. Take those snaps, but also take the time to make a carefully thought-through image, make the journey a worth while one.

Oh la la

If you try to create portfolio worthy images, even if you fail, you will come away with some strong images. These are the images that made the cut on this occasion from my trip. Are they the best images ever seen, no. But they are the best I had, and ones that I took the time to create. 

Eiffel Tower

It's all about the tower. 99% of people who go to Paris will visit and photograph The Eiffel Tower, so capturing a new and fresh take on this icon will be a challenge for anyone. So as I said before, be a tourist, snap away and then try to create something different. It may not be unique, but at least you slowed down, took your time and tried. Dont forget to get in close and shoot the details, as well as get far away and shoot the whole tower in a scene. If you have the time shoot it at different times of the day, and in all kinds of weather.

Hit the streets

Paris' streets, avenues and quarters ooze character. Make sure you take time to explore them, I am sure you could find some real gems amongst the winding narrow corridors. Do make sure you are aware of the laws on street photography in France, as they have changed (esp when photographing people).

The Louvre

Louvre it or hate it, I have seen some fantastic images of this building. I didn't have enough time to get there early, so you make the most of what you do have. However, unless you get there early or quite late the place is going to be swarming with tourists, something to consider. The inside is full of amazing artwork which may indeed inspire you even more. In case you weren't aware, this is also the home of the Mona Lisa - which is now not only behind glass but a wide cordoned off section, so you wont be getting up close and personal with her :(
But the outside courtyard and gardens do offer some spectacular photographic opportunies.

Metro Stations

Metro's, undergrounds, subways always have an appeal, and France's wonderful deco designs certainly are worthy of your attention. Here are a few that caught my eye. Make sure you consider the surrounding area and distractions when framing your images, as these are typically in a built up busy environment, but a slight change in angle can make all the difference.

Well that was my trip, I hope you liked the images. I certainly enjoyed the break and would like to return for a longer weekend, to create even better images, so in that respect, it worked :)