About a year and a half ago, Rob came up with a crazy idea. An idea so crazy that I thought he was straight up out of his mind. Having just recently re-watched the movie Amelie, he wanted to head back to Paris and do a full photo shoot inspired by the film. I told him that he was nuts. There were so many logistical things to consider - how would we get a model? How would we shoot on the streets of Paris? It seemed like an impossible task to me. But not to Rob. To Rob, nothing is impossible. When he gets an idea in his head, he goes with it and he finds a way to make it happen. It's one of the things I love most about him - his complete drive and determination to make his dreams come true. So he set out on two tasks, finding out if it was in fact possible and then convincing me that it was. I'm not sure which one was the easier of those two tasks, but with both he did eventually get the answer he was looking for. And the plan for the shoot began.
What started out as a simple idea for one photo shoot in Paris ultimately turned into our very first workshop, the Taking Off Seminar we did last March in Paris. For our workshop attendees we opted to do a more classic Paris shoot - complete with over-the-top gorgeous styling done by Beth from The White Dress by the Shore and a stunning tablescape on a Paris rooftop designed by Candice Coppola from Jubilee Events. Of course, it was all made possible by Kim Petyt of Parisian Events, the American-born wedding planner who helped us track down all of the local vendors and locations we would need to make it all come together.
Knowing that shooting on the incredibly windy cobblestone streets of Montmartre would be a bit of challenge, we decided to save the Amelie-inspired shoot for the day after our seminar. With help from Kim, we were even able to secure a vintage French car that was a prop for the shoot AND helped us get around in Paris. Kim even donated some vintage umbrellas from her personal collection for use in the shoot. Of course, we still had the fabulous team of Candice, who helped bring our inspiration to design reality, and Beth who had selected dresses an accessories with Amelie inspiration in mind. We had the local make-up genius, Masafumi Matsuda on hand as well, even doing touch-ups throughout the day. If you have seen the movie Amelie, you know that there are two things we definitely needed to incorporate into this shoot - a Parisian cafe and the Metro. Getting into the Metros would be easy enough, but getting into a restaurant could be more of a challenge. Thankfully, we happen to have friends in Paris, Kelly and Marco, who were able to get us access to a fabulous vintage-looking cafe right down the street from their apartment right near Montmartre. Not only did the restaurant look fantastic for the shoot, it also happened to have delicious food (one of the many reasons we are sad that it has since closed.)
For this shoot, Rob and I were the only ones shooting - a mix of digital and film (the film images are the square ones you will see below). We drew from the vision we had in our minds, the inspiration board we had created before the shoot (the first image you will see below - a mix of still from the movie and our own shots of Paris from previous trips) and let the streets of Paris inspire us in the moment. The result blew us away. It reaffirmed our belief that it's crucial as an artist to do personal projects to keep our creative juices flowing and spark even more ideas that we could incorporate into our regular work. This shoot did that and more. We couldn't be prouder of the images below, so I'll stop talking now so you can enjoy them.
* Just as a side note, it is always incredibly important for us to give the best possible experience in all we do. As you will see below, we have changed the size of the photos we post on our blog so that it will load faster and be a better viewing experience across all devices, both computers and mobile. We hope you enjoy the looking through all of our photos on whatever you are using to view our blog! :) *
We consider ourselves extremely fortunate that we get to do what we love everyday. Photography is something very special; it allows us to meet really wonderful people and brings us to some really incredible places.
As many of you already know, we just got back from Paris. This city is by far is one of our favorite places (that we have seen so far) in the world. It is a city filled with beautiful architecture, delicious food, such interesting history and of course all the art you can handle; it is certainly a photographer's dream. (We were lucky enough to also visit Paris last, you can view some of the photos from that trip by clicking HERE.)
Before heading overseas we reached out to a couple of photographers out in France who like us are part of The [b] School. For those of you who don't know, The [b] School is a really fantastic networking group for photographers headed up by the one and only [b]ecker. This group has been an invaluable resource for us, allowing us to meet photographers from all over the world. Last Thursday we met up with three French photographers that came into Paris so we could all get to know each other a little better. The extremely talented Hoppy Kindanda (who took an 8 hour train ride to meet us - how amazing is that?!) and equally as talented Matthieu Vanhille joined us at a French Bistro where we talked about photography, our businesses and life in general. It was really wonderful to see how similar we all are even though there is an ocean between us.
After we enjoyed a couple hours of great conversation we had had an impromptu photo shoot with the beautiful Ségolène who had joined Hoppy on the long train journey earlier into Paris to model for us. Since we didn't know for sure that we would have the opportunity for a photo shoot, we had only two lenses with us, our 50 f/1.2 and our 24 f/1.4. It was interesting because it forced us out of our comfort zones. Normally I use the 24 (and our 85 f/1.2) and Kathleen is a big fan of the 50. This time I used the 50 and Kathleen used the 24, it was a great exercise that made us think differently about how we shoot and ultimately we think this kind of exercise really adds to us becoming better photographers.
We suggested that the Louvre would be a great place for us to photograph Ségolène. In addition to having awesome architecture, the Louvre has great indoor areas and courtyards. We also shot at the Tuileries right by the Louvre where David Huitorel, a Parisian Photographer joined us for the rest of the shoot.
To say that this experience was amazing would be a complete understatement. We had to pinch ourselves often to see if it was actually happening. Photographing a beautiful model in one of our favorite world cities with three incredible photographers that we are so happy to now call our friends was one of the highlights of our trip.
Here are just a few of the many photos we took during this shoot. Please check back soon, we have a TON more things to share including recent weddings and more things from this trip to Paris and London. We photographed a ton of the architecture in these two amazing cities so definitely be on the lookout for that. We hope you are all having a great week!
We started our photo shoot with Ségolène in the main courtyard at the Louvre...
...where we immediately found out that she was a complete natural.
The fountains and buildings really provided the perfect backdrops.
It started to rain out so we headed under one of the enormous archways to take advantage of some the textures that the building had to offer while we all stayed dry.
This photo is one of my personal favorites. Although very simple, I love the feel and the wind blowing Ségolène's hair couldn't have been better!
Matthieu taking his shot from outside the gates while I was grabbing the shot above.
We really loved all of the columns. The one on the left is my view and the photo on the right is Kathleen's view at the exact same moment.
Despite the fact that Ségolène did not speak English and our French is not very good we were able to give Ségolène some direction.
Kathleen captured this shot of me photographing the photo above.
After the rain stopped, we headed back outside.
Love this one!
If you have ever been to the Louvre, you probably know that some people absolutely love the modern glass pyramids in the courtyard and some really dislike them. There really isn't much in between. We personally love them, the contrast between the modern and the old is really great in our opinion. Despite what you feel there is no denying that they have become quite a reconginzable icon of this great museum. We did more night photography (one of our all time favorite things) at the Louvre so make sure you look out for that in a future post. In the meantime this shot is Kathleen's view of Ségolène by the largest pyarmid...
...and this is my closeup at the same moment.
We love her gentle smile as she took a seat on the stairs. Again this is my view...
...and this is Kathleen's view a moment later. I love how she incorportated the architecture surrounding the stairs.
Most of the afternoon was cloudy with moments of rain. We did however have a small window of time where the sun actually came out which provided the soft, warm light in this photo.
As we headed over to the Tuileries we spent time in a grassy area for a little while.
The sun didn't stay out very long and before we knew it the clouds had rolled back in. This was actually a very wonderful tihng as the clouds added some seriously awesome texture and of course perfect even light.
I really love the serious look on her face in this photo.
The clouds had such intense colors and let me tell you Ségolène was a seriously awesome model.
Kathleen captured this shot while I was photographing the two above.
Lastly we gave one of our cameras to a random person nearby (and prayed they woudn't run away with it) so we could all get a photo together.
Thank you so much to Hoppy, Matthieu, David and most importantly to Ségolène for such a great afternoon and for traveling from both near and far for us. We can't wait to catch up with you all again soon. ~Rob & Kathleen~