Paris Report #3: Better Photographs without Walking

We do a lot of walking during these live photography workshops here in Paris. First we’re up at the top of Montmarte. Then we’re down by the Eiffel Tower. Next we’re climbing to the top of Notre Dame. And then we’re walking all around the Latin Quarter on a walking tour with famous historian Thirza Vallois.

It’s a lot. And it was particularly hard for me this year being six months pregnant and carrying all this extra weight. So I took breaks often – on nearby benches and inside cafés.

Which brings me to my third “what pregnancy can teach you about good photography” tip…

What pregnancy can teach you about good photography, tip #3

There were several times on this trip when, while the others were walking about or climbing steps I couldn’t climb, I sat in cafés or on public benches and took pictures of the world passing by.

On the first day of this series I told you that I decided to shoot this entire workshop with a point-and-shoot camera, because I couldn’t bear the extra weight. But what I didn’t tell you was that professional photographer Rich Wagner was also inspired to shoot the whole trip with a smaller camera.

Rich traditionally carries a Nikon d700, which today is priced at just under $3,000 without a lens (just over $4,500 if you include his lens). But when I told him I was going to shoot the workshop with a point-and-shoot, he went out and bought an entry level digital SLR, the Panasonic G1, to test out on this trip.

The Panasonic sells for $800 and it’s a great camera for those looking for an entry-level SLR camera at a decent price.

One of the things we both liked most about this particular model is what’s called its “articulated screen.”

The LCD screen on this Panasonic camera actually folds out and twists so you can hold the camera at your waist, look at the screen, and shoot without anyone knowing that you’re capturing them.

Here are two candid pictures I took with Rich’s camera when I thought it was inappropriate to hold the camera up to my eye and shove my lens in someone’s face (or look like a typical tourist)…

Photographs Withou Walking

In both of these cases, the camera was level with my hip and no one knew I was taking the picture. (By the way, that second photo is from the restaurant, Le Train Bleu, which is on top of the Gare de Lyon train station in Paris. The décor is amazing, but the food was just OK. It’s a nice place to take someone that will be impressed by the interior and a GREAT place to take a photographer. The food is nowhere near as good as the prices on the menu imply. You’re paying for the atmosphere.)

This screen also came in handy when we went to the Viaduc des Arts: an old train track that’s since been converted into a garden on top with craftsmen shops underneath.

Rich took this picture at his hip when he didn’t want to disturb the workers restoring antique photographs by lifting the camera to his eye (possibly causing one of them to turn their head and smile for the camera, instead of maintaining their focus on their work, which was the image he was trying to capture)…

So, my tip for you today is: If you’re not in the mood to do a bunch of walking (or you’re physically not capable of walking or moving around or climbing steps), take a seat. If you have a camera with an articulated screen like the Panasonic G1 then you can shoot away and no one will likely know the difference.

If you don’t have an articulated screen, think about this month’s Photo Challenge theme -- Body Language. This month’s theme is all about taking pictures of people without including an identifiable person.

Here’s an example from here in Paris…

We have a person’s hand (a human element), but no identifiable person.

Have a good weekend!

-- Lori

P.S. As a writer or a photographer, it’s a good idea to visit the hidden gems of a big, touristy city like Paris. Both Le Train Bleu Restaurant and the Viaduc des Arts could make a very marketable article/photo package to sell to an in-flight magazine, an online magazine, a glossy travel magazine, or even a newspaper travel section. Like freelance writer Jennifer Stevens says, you can still sell a story on a well-known destination, as long as you take a unique angle, or “discover” something new.

Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.