I may never take a selfie again. (Photo: Gonçalo Silva/Flytographer)
“I just need to find a stylish street,” Gonçalo Silva muttered, more to himself than to me.
Aren’t all streets in Paris stylish? I’d always assumed Paris was universally agreed to be the most photogenic city in the world. That was just one of the reasons that I was pleased to have Silva, a professional photographer, walking around with me.
This is a very stylish street. (Photo: Gonçalo Silva/Flytographer)
In the past few years I have developed this grave concern that in the future family photo albums will be filled with nothing but selfies. They’re cheap and easy, but that doesn’t mean they are good for you or for your family’s stock of memories. The selfie has become the fast food version of the photograph, all empty calories and zero quality.
Of course the selfie works because it is easy. You don’t have to hand anyone your phone or your camera. You don’t have to then look at the photograph taken by a stranger, wince and politely ask them to retake it because you’re making your turtle face or you have a double chin.
Some trips simply deserve better photos. And that’s where Flytographer comes in.
When was the last time you had a truly candid photograph taken of you? (Photo: Gonçalo Silva/Flytographer)
Approaching their third year in business, Flytographer is a rapidly-growing company with a database of more than 300 professional photographers in more than 160 locations around the world who you can essentially rent for an hour to take professional vacation photos of you and your family.
You take away a portfolio of beautiful photos for less than you would pay for a nice dinner for two.
If you couldn’t already tell, I am fed up with the selfie. So fed up, in fact, that one of my resolutions for 2016 is to ban the selfie from my personal photo-taking repertoire.
I got a head start by testing out Flytographer’s services with Gonçalo in Paris.
My husband Nick felt weird posing in a blue doorway. I found it very natural. (Photo: Gonçalo Silva/Flytographer)
We began our day early, setting out from our Airbnb rental in the Marais while it was still dark. Paris was chilly, grey and moody, which is just the way I like it.
We met with Gonçalo in a small café right outside the Ecoles Militares Metro station. He was already sipping a latte and ordered two more for my husband Nick and I. We waited 15 minutes for the light to get better and chatted about what we wanted to achieve in the shoot. Nick and I really just wanted some beautiful candid shots of the two of us enjoying Paris. This was the city where we fell in love and where we decided to get married. We just moved into a new house and wanted beautiful pictures we could put on the walls. We didn’t want to do too many posed shots. After getting married in September we have enough posed photographs of the two of us to last for several years.
And I found my new Facebook profile picture. (Photo: Gonçalo Silva/Flytographer)
We also wanted to shoot our Christmas card in the City of Light. Following the terrorist attacks of Nov. 13, we wanted to share our love for the city with all of our family and friends. Nick, my husband, was embarrassed at my plan for us to wear red berets and stand in front of the Eiffel Tower, but Gonçalo was enthused and excited.
Just the greatest Christmas card of all time. Lady Piazza was not actually in Paris. (Photo: Gonçalo Silva/Flytographer)
Once we began, the shoot took an hour. As a local, Gonçalo knew the exact places that would capture the spirit of Paris, the perfect blue door, the cobble-stoned streets that look like they’re out of a movie, the exact place to stand to look like you’re the only people at the Eiffel Tower. He even shot us from outside the window of a traditional brasserie, capturing the two of us enjoying a croissant and drinking our coffee.
That one was one of my favorites. You can’t exactly ask a stranger to shoot a picture like that of you and if you did they would get it wrong.
The pictures that Flytographers take do look incredible on Instagram and make everyone you know on Facebook wildly jealous, but more importantly these photos capture the emotion of a trip and of a location.
We printed this one out for my mother-in-law. (Photo: Gonçalo Silva/Flytographer)
And because Nick and I knew we had incredible photos from our trip, we were able to genuinely put our phones away. We could relax, not just that day, but for the rest of our vacation, knowing we would be leaving with these wonderful photographs. We didn’t need to snap all of the things all of the time. We could simply enjoy seeing Paris with our eyes instead of through the lens.