Summer in Paris is simply stunning and the choices for a photo shoot are endless. My favourite location is the iconic Louvre. In summer the sun sets in a perfect location behind the large glass pyramid of the Louvre for portrait photography. Tuesday also seems to be the best day as the tourist numbers are minimised due to the Louvre being closed each Tuesday. What could be more iconic in Paris than the Louvre at sunset for a photo shoot.
Those readers that are keen photographers can find at the end of this post why the Louvre is such a great photographic location with tips on how to use this location for a photo shoot.
This was to be the second #aeuropeanlovestory photo shoot with an amazing couple with a very interesting story. Justin and Ji-Eun tell how they met and fell in love despite a long distance relationship (she lived in Korea and he lived in France).
We met the old-fashioned way – we were introduced to each other by our parents. It had been more a suggestion on their parts than familial obligation, but there was a lot of awkwardness felt by both of us at first. We had thoughts such as: If they’re so great, then why are they still single? She’s in Korea and he’s in France, how could this possibly work? What could we say to friends without making this seem like some arranged marriage?
Strangely enough, it was technology that made the circumstances less awkward for us. We started communicating via e-mail, and if we look back now it’s funny how polite we were to each other in the beginning. But there was definitely an excitement that built as we shared our lives one mail after another. And we did this for nearly two months, slowly but surely overcoming the initial embarrassment through the transmission of our words.
Then one day, work brought her to Paris. The first actual meeting didn’t start on the best foot (she was jet-lagged and he showed up a bit late), but we were lucky enough to get a second chance when she decided to return to Europe a month later on holiday. After that, we were exchanging e-mails almost daily. And then after a few more trips back and forth, we got married exactly one year after we first met, in Seoul with a small ceremony in front of family and close friends.
Months later, we’re now living together here in Paris; and to be given the opportunity to share our story through photography in this city where we first met each other was simply wonderful. It goes to show you how unpredictable life can be, but that sometimes it’s worth to embracing that unpredictability no matter how uncomfortable because you just never know when it might lead you to something good.
The Photo Shoot
The most challenging thing about photographing couples around the Louvre is the amount of people. A photographer’s job entails eliciting emotion and often affection from their subjects to tell the story of their relationship. The majority of people I meet tell me that they dislike having their photo taken. Displays of public affection can be therefore be difficult or uncomfortable for many couples, particularly with a photographer capturing their every move. Justin and Ji-Eun found that using little hidden areas (see below) make a good place to start a photo shoot to warm up to the idea of being in front of a camera.
Also shooting couples at distance whilst they are naturally interacting helps them to relax.
These photos illustrate what can be achieved just by asking a couple to take a stroll back and forth.
Now that Justin and Ji-Eun were more relaxed, public displays of affection came more easily.
Now that Justin and Ji-Eun were looking comfortable it was time to take the sun into consideration. Once the sun was behind the Louvre pyramid the bright light is filtered by the glass and strong lines within the structure of the pyramid make for an interesting background.
This can also allow for some silhouette images.
If you and your partner ever decide to have a sunset photo shoot, make sure you time it to coincide with an hour before sunset as you can see the soft light fills the sky as the colours begin to deepen and shadows start to form.
Most important is to stay for the hour after sunset as this period, known as twilight is when the sky fills with the most incredible colours. The colours intensify from the yellows, orange, and reds from sunset before changing into a deep blue colour.
After Justin and Ji-Eun has departed and my assistant and I had just finished packing up (around 11pm) I looked back up towards the Eiffel Tower as we were walking toward the Paris Metro and the moon had just peaked above the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower.
Why the Louvre is such a great photo shoot location
1. The sandstone of the buildings creates a 3 sided reflector, generating a soft warm light that is flattering to the skin. This is best early in the morning or late in the evening.
2. Strong architectural leading lines surround the large glass pyramid directing the viewers eye.
3. Columns make for repetition and leading lines to focus the viewers attention on the main subject.
4. It’s in Paris – the most romantic city on earth….seriously how can you possibly go wrong anywhere in this amazing city!
Stay tuned for the next A European Love Story blog post in beautiful Venice.
Finally, click on the below video to see what images didn’t make the cut in this photographer’s B-Roll.