When Sophie Pasquet moved to Paris in 2007, she wanted to do something that would bring together photography and learning, so she started an agency that combines photography and Paris trips. Now celebrating its fifth year, Better Paris Photos is a successful business that offers photography trips of Paris, workshops and portrait sessions.
Liana Felt: How did you start the business?
Sophie Pasquet: It started almost five years ago. I started it on my own, as an experiment, then I got so busy I needed other photographers to join me. Today we are a team of five full-time Paris photographers and one-part time American photographer.
LF: What is some advice you would give to people taking travel photos?
SP: Slow down. Make sure you observe before you click and shoot randomly. Take time to observe and absorb the scene. When you’re in a fast-paced environment, try to anticipate what is going to happen. If you take the time to observe, you can see how the story is going to unfold in front of you, and plan how you’re going to take your picture.
LF: Can you tell us a bit about what you do on a photography trip of Paris?
SP: Photo trips are really a photo class in the street. People come with their cameras, we talk about the technical aspect of the camera, composition, visual elements, what makes a good image. They can apply that right away, and we give them feedback on their photos right away.
Before we start the photo trip, we get some background information. First we determine their level, and then we ask what area of Paris they’re interested in. A first-timer might want the classic monuments. Everyone wants to leave Paris with a good shot of the Eiffel Tower.
LF: You also offer portrait sessions. What are some benefits of doing a professional Paris photo session?
SP: Portrait sessions are very different from the photo trips. In the photo sessions we are the photographers behind the camera. When you give your camera to a friend, they will do their best, but you may not always be happy with the end result. When you do a portrait session with a professional photographer, you know you’re going to have beautiful photos in the end.
LF: Where is your favorite spot in Paris to take photos?
SP: I like to explore the east side of Paris. Le Marais is a little more mainstream, but it’s a very interesting neighborhood. It’s very vibrant and diverse. There are lots of courtyards and gardens, with lots of life around, so it’s perfect for photography.
LF: Do you have any tips for aspiring photographers?
SP: Get to know how to use your camera, and go out and take pictures. Learn from your mistakes. Don’t simply delete an image because you don’t like it. It’s important to understand what you don’t like about a photo. Slow down, take pictures with a purpose, think about what you’re taking photos of and why you want to take them.
LF: If you had only one day to spend in Paris, what would you do?
SP: I’d start with a nice walk along the Seine while the sun rises, get lost without a special purpose in the little streets on the east side, have a nice drink. Afterward, I’d try to find a show at an art gallery with some nice work. Then I’d enjoy a meal with a view of the city, and end the day by looking at the sparkling Eiffel Tower.
Better Paris Photos
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