My Favorite Spots for Portraits in Paris || Katie Donnelly Photography, English Speaking Paris Photographer

Paris is beautiful; this is no secret! It’s a large part of the reason I love working here, and why many families and couples who are locals and those who are visiting choose to capture their special memories here through photography. While a list of my favorite spots for portraits in this gorgeous city could be nearly endless, here are a few that bear mentioning. Have any to add? Share them in the comments!

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Louvre Pyramid

This iconic structure is one not to miss in Paris, but it has an added bonus as an excellent backdrop for portraits. When the sun shines through the glass, especially in the summer, the morning light is perfect!

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Local Cafés 

There is nothing more Parisian than soaking up the sunshine with a café or chocolate chaud on the terrasse of a local café! My favorite part of portrait sessions that include a stop at a café is that it takes the pressure off of the moment — it’s a snapshot of everyday life and gives everyone a chance to let their hair down and chat!  

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Medici Fountain

This iconic, ornate fountain is a favorite for many of our younger clients — full of happy ducks and splashing water — and also is a symbol of the history of French royalty. Inside the Luxembourg Gardens, this is a great stop that can be combined with other garden highlights in a single session!

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Pont de l'Archevêché

The Seine boasts many beautiful bridges, but this is my favorite. The iron balustrade is a great texture for the foreground, and the iconic Notre Dame in the background creates an idyllic Parisian scene!

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Musee Galliera

The larger, more central museums in Paris tend to get much of the attention, but this fashion and history museum in the 16th arrondissement is beautiful both inside and out! In particular, the gardens around the museum are a great place to soak up the beauty and capture portraits to cherish!

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Palais Royal

The arcade and courtyard at the Palais Royale are favorite spots of mine for families. Kids have a blast running and playing and jumping from black-and-white candy-striped columns that dot the courtyard as a part of an art installation, like an elevated game of hopscotch!

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TrocadEro/Eiffel Tower

Of course, what list of Paris highlights would be complete without a mention of the Eiffel Tower! Across the river from the tower and the Champs de Mars, the Trocadero is a perfect vantage point from which photographers can focus on their subjects while also integrating this iconic structure into the background.

 

You can find beauty in Paris on almost every corner, which is one of the best parts of being a photographer here; with each family, we can incorporate new favorites into each portrait session! If you head to any of these places to snap some photos, tag us on social media so we can see the beauty you create!

xo

Katie + KDP team

For Photographers: How to Capture Amazing Family Portraits with Young Kids | English Speaking Family Photographer in Paris and New York City

We all know the deal, when the yearly family portrait session rolls around it can be daunting for families with little kids. It makes me SO sad to say this because I truly deeply LOVE making family portraits and working with littles of every age! Here comes another truth for you, IT’S FUN!! Seriously, it’s actually fun for everyone: kiddos, parents, and especially fun for us. Because it’s not always evident for photographers on how to work with kids because well, they don’t always WANT to listen to you like adults do! To help you out we’ve put together a little cheat sheet.. cheat blog actually. These aren’t only tips for how to get great family portraits, but they’re tips on truly enjoying family portrait sessions with little kids AND having your clients enjoy them too.

SO without further ado, here are some of my tips to make each family photography session a happy activity that both you and your clients will remember warmly for years to come.

1. Make Friends
Kids are often just bursting to make a new friend, and who doesn’t want to get to know these cuties?! Engage with them, ask them about their favorite toys, colors, games, schools, friends and their siblings. Share silly anecdotes, make funny faces. Soon enough, their little smiles will come through! The key here is to actually CARE about what they say, kids can see through you really quickly. If they see you want to have fun with them and are curious about them, they’ll engage with you right away!

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2. Make It Fun
There’s nothing better than play — not only will everyone have a lovely time, but the portraits will show the true joy that your family is having together! Seek out locations such as parks, playgrounds and outdoor venues that not only are beautiful, but have fun ways for children — and parents — to interact with their surroundings. We do lots of running, playing, hopping, skipping, races… anything that has movement and that will naturally make everyone smile!

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Make better photos:

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3. Keep It Quick
When little ones are involved, time is of the essence. Hours laboring over getting the perfect shot will quickly result in grumpy faces and unwilling participants. All this takes is a little planning — be prepared to get the shot and move on as soon as you have it! The best candids are in those in-between moments between posed shots. Sometimes, those are the most treasured, too!

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4. Let Their Personalities Shine
The goal of portrait photographer for little ones is to capture a child just as they are at that age - silly faces, crinkly-eyed smiles, toothless-gaps and all! Childhood moments are fleeting, so letting their personalities speak through the camera frame is the best way to capture them at their most natural! Basically, let them be kids and celebrate the uniqueness, silliness, and weirdness that is childhood.

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5. Go With The Flow
Sometimes, kids run off to dance in front of a beautiful door, or play hopscotch in the park. Let them take the lead —this is where the magic really happens! When kids feel like they’re a little bit in control, you can capture even more engaging portraits. Many times I start and game and then ask them what they want to do. For this sweet moment below, I asked the girls if they knew how to twirl and they ALL wanted to show me.. So we did that! But if they had said no or wanted to play hide and seek instead, we would have done what they wanted to do. Our goal is to have fun with the kiddos, because that’s when they’re truly happiest and their most natural selves.

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Was this helpful to you?? If you’d like to know a bit more on capturing childhood I wrote a book on it! You can easily purchase and download it here. The book is for beginner photographers and parents alike. It’s the basics of photography and the basics of capturing kids as their most authentic selves. Buy it here!

Please leave us a comment below if you have any questions!! - Katie

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Want to make better kids portraits?

Grab our ebook HERE, currently on sale!!

3 Gorgeous Locations for a Photo Session around the Eiffel Tower II Paris Honeymoon Photographers

Paris is a city with a million and one things at your fingertips: culture, walking, eating, touring, wine-tasting.. all amazing things to do during a weekend or a vacation here (or even better, if you’re a local!) But if this is your first time, it can be SUPER overwhelming, especially since you don’t really know the distances between the places you’d like to see. 

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Coming from NY, I’m constantly comparing the two cities. Size wise, I’d compare Paris to the size of Manhattan. For trains, the metro (Paris subway number lines like the 1, 2, 3 etc.) are the same as the local subway lines in Manhattan that stop every few blocks (ex: the 6 or the 1 in Manhattan). You can pretty much walk between metro stations within 5-7 minutes. Paris RER lines (the letter lines like the RER A, B, C etc.) are the equivalent to NYC Express subway lines (the A or the 2/3 in Manhattan), and once they’re in the Paris suburbs, it’s more like the Metro North or LIRR stopping between towns and other neighboring cities. 

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It probably seems complicated but really, I find the Paris metro a lot easier than the NYC subway lines as you never have crazy track work or any trains running local after 10pm. (If you’ve ever gotten home late from work in NYC to find that your express is now a local through the upper west side, you know what I’m talking about.) Everything is clearly indicated and the metro is SO much cleaner. In 5 years, I’ve seen zero rats and 1 baby mouse. You see easily 5-6 rats DAILY in your morning NYC commute. 

Okay, so back to the real reason I started this post: Around the Eiffel Tower there are beautiful and diverse locations that are SUPER easy to walk to AND They’re all ONLY about 10 minutes walking from each other. SUPER EASY!!

 

1. Let’s start with the Trocadero. It’s easily one of the best vistas of the Eiffel Tower. Especially if you’re planning on doing an photo session.. This is the main place where you’re going to want to head to to get an unobscured view of the tower. Here it is:

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2. 10 minutes walk from the Trocadero, just over a bridge crossing the Seine, is the Champs de Mars. This is a LOVELY and vast garden around the Eiffel Tower. Here your views are stunning of the base. There are tree-lined alleys and beautiful buildings surrounding it. If you’re a runner, it’s a great location to head to in Paris because it’s always open and has dirt paths. For a photo session, it’s perfect for families with kids! You never have to worry about little ones running into the streets. A++

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3. The streets around the Eiffel Tower like Avenue de Bourdonnais and Avenue de Suffren are beautiful because they are right next to the Champs de Mars, and have stunning buildings for your more casual Parisian backdrops. 

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To do all of these locations we could use 1-2 hours for a session depending on how quick everyone is and if there are little kids walking! Little legs take a bit longer and tire out more quickly for sure!

If you’re living in Paris or are here for only a few days, I hope this is helpful! The Eiffel Tower area can be really beautiful throughout the 4 seasons of the year so if the ET is an absolute MUST for your photo shoot, these places are perfect for you!

- Katie

Photo Gallery Wall + Album Inspiration II How to display your portraits (So they don’t live and die on your hard drive)

If you’ve ever been to our Parisian apartment, you’ll know that we absolutely LOVE having portraits of us, our family, and our travels up on the walls as our decoration. Pyk also gave me two framed Beatles art photographs that we have above our couch that we absolutely cherish! 

It’s one of the things I love most when you walk into someone’s home is that you see who they are, what they love, and what they use to fill their home with joy. As an extremely visual person and photographer, I fill our home with photographs and other art that inspires us. We even have a framed magazine cover that my aunt gave me when I moved to France, the ticket from the bottle of wine we opened with my in-laws to celebrate our engagement, and a wall light in the form of the word, “Smile”. 

You look around and you feel us.

Over here at KDP we help our clients all the time create the PERFECT wall portraits, gallery walls and albums. We consider our job unfinished until you have something from your portrait session adorning your home or at the least, in a stunning album. 

Here are a few photographs I did recently and how we would make them come to life as art in your home. 

How do you display your photographs? Tell us in the comments!

TURN THESE:

INTO THIS:

This is 2 framed, 20x24in portraits, and 2 framed, 16x20in portraits

This is 2 framed, 20x24in portraits, and 2 framed, 16x20in portraits

TURN THESE:

INTO THIS:

This is our Legacy album, a stunning 10x10in bespoke album - The ultimate family heirloom!

This is our Legacy album, a stunning 10x10in bespoke album - The ultimate family heirloom!

P.S. These were shot for fun in Hawaii as an inspiration session, if you’re interested in an incredible local photographer in Hawaii, I’d recommend Aubrey Hord

(VIDEO) Paris Photographer, Katie Donnelly Interviewed by Kirbanu

Interviews are so revealing and intimate. I was really humbled when the incredible artist Kirbanu asked me to be a part of her artist interview series while she was passing through Paris a few months ago. 

Kirbanu and I talk about a lot of personal things here: 

  • Lots of reasons why I started family photography in the first place
  • The emotional path of entrepreneurship
  • Advice for other photographers and entrepreneurs starting out on their dreams

I feel a bit naked and vulnerable sharing a lot of intimate things with the internet, but I think honesty and transparency is so important. If you take the time to watch, thank you for letting me share a bit of me with you.  (ALERT: It’s a bit long! I can’t seem to stop talking and we literally ran out of battery at the end!). 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the video in the comments below!

PS. if you want a laugh I kind of look like I have dinosaur arms in the video with this dress (HA!)

Want to get in touch and have your own Paris photo session with me? Get in touch here

Nominated for Best Portrait Photographer in Paris! II Katie Donnelly Photography

When I saw Katie Donnelly Photography in Expatriates Magazine and online nominated for best portrait photographer in Paris I was incredibly humbled (and still am!). Thank you to everyone for voting and if you haven't and want to cast a vote for KDP, you can head over here!

Here is a recent session that I absolutely LOVE! Enjoy!

"Show me how strong you are!"

"Show me how strong you are!"

Vote for Katie Donnelly Photography as the best portrait photographer in Paris HERE