It’s a goal of mine to improve my photography skills. I mean, my boyfriend, gave me this amazing DSLR Canon camera for Christmas last year. I often keep it on auto when shooting and while I have gotten plenty of great photos, I know I’m still not using it to it’s fullest potential.
So, on our recent trip to Paris, I decided to sign up for a photography tour. By this I mean a tour that is led by a professional photography who provides you with a photography lesson and takes you around the city to get some amazing photographs.
Why I Chose Aperture Tours
After some research on the internet, specifically TripAdvisor, I decided to book a tour with Aperture Tours. Aperture Tours leads private tours with professional photographers in Paris, plus many other cities across the globe, including London, Venice, Amsterdam, Melbourne, Tokyo and more. On TripAdvisor, they have the Certificate of Excellence in 2016 and 2017, which made me very comfortable with my decision. Plus, I really liked the website. There was a lot of information about the different photographer guides and details on the tours. Plus, there’s even a blog section that includes tips on photography.
After booking, you’ll receive an email closer to your tour date with details (and a map) for the meeting location, your tour photographer and even their contact information. I was really excited to be booked with Margot who, out all the Paris photographers, is a born and raised Parisian. An added bonus was getting suggestions from her on places to eat! (She confirmed that Laduree truly does have the best macarons ?)
Once we met at our meeting location (luckily this was actually walking distance from our Airbnb!) we had a quick chat over coffee at a nearby cafe to discuss my camera and photography experience. Then she gave me an overview of the plan for the tour and we were off.
The Tour I Booked
I booked a Night Photography Tour and opted to add the tripod which meant I didn’t have to pack and lug around one of my own. It was a small additional cost, but I’d recommend it unless you plan to use one otherwise during your trip.
Our first stop was near the Louvre which was a short walk away from the cafe. It was actually raining during our tour so we had to get creative at first and find some spots that were covered to ensure my camera was kept safe. I really appreciated that Margot made sure my camera wasn’t damaged and was thoughtful about coming up with alternative spots to get photos.
Luckily the rain eased up while we were getting our first photo of the Louvre pyramid and we were able to set out on foot afterwards without getting soaked.
What I Learned
The greatest lesson I learned from the tour was not to rely on ISO to brighten photos. If I was somewhere dark and needed to get a photo, I’d always just increase the ISO on my camera. Instead we kept ISO at 100 and learned how to use aperture and shutter speed to properly capture the image. Solely increasing the ISO will lead to grainy, lower quality photos. Instead, adjusting the aperture and shutter speed allows you to get those bright nighttime shots and those long exposure “light streaking” photos.
I think the photos speak for themselves when showing just how helpful this tour was. Margot gave me tips and pointers while shooting, but these are all my images. I’m so proud of them! Looking at them again makes me even more excited to keep improving my photography and editing skills.
- The private tour runs approximately three hours
- Cost: Approx $215 USD (plus tip)
- You can have 4 people join the tour, but it will cost an extra $35 for additional “student” photographers
- Make sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring water
- Bring cash for a tip! (10% of cost is the general rule of thumb for tipping tour guides in Paris)
- Afterwards you’ll receive an email with a post-class recap and a pdf book of everything you learned
To be transparent, this was not a sponsored or free tour in any way. I paid for this myself and did not mention anything about my silly ol’ blog. I honestly was just so psyched about this tour that I knew I’d have to share it with you all. I hope you’ll consider Aperture Tours. I know next time I’m abroad, I’ll be trying out another class to see what other amazing photos I can shoot!