Capturing birthday fun in Paris with Flytographer

//Capturing birthday fun in Paris with Flytographer

Capturing birthday fun in Paris with Flytographer

Pont MarieWhat it was like to use a vacation photography service and have a shoot in the streets of Paris

I’m used to being behind the camera. I never travel without it, and even my go-to purse at home is a camera bag. That means lots of photo outings and full memory cards, but few photos of me from solo trips. I was well aware of this when planning my birthday in Paris.

Photos make the best souvenirs and I didn’t want to end up with phone selfies of questionable quality. Flytographer turned out to be just the solution I needed.

This online service connects you with a local photographer for a fun vacation shoot. You simply take a walk together, then receive professional pictures within a few days. Currently the company has crews in over 130 cities, and Paris is one of their main destinations.

I had followed and admired Flytographer’s work online for quite some time. We later interacted on Twitter and made plans to collaborate.


After a few emails with Jen, the shoot concierge, my photo outing was arranged. She had booked Gonçalo, a Paris-based fashion photographer, and asked me to fill out a brief online questionnaire. It was to give them an idea of what I was looking for in terms of location and overall mood.

Once Jen heard where I was staying – the Marais district – she told me about Flytographer’s beginnings. The idea was born in the same neighborhood, when the now-founder Nicole had a reunion with her best friend. Another friend offered to follow them around with a camera, and it was the ‘aha’ moment that triggered the company.

A few days before the shoot, Jen sent me and Gonçalo an email, worried that the weather in Paris might be a problem. We discussed plan B (using an umbrella as a prop) and plan C (rescheduling). Luckily, the rain held off, but I decided to bring a hat in case it drizzled.

Place Sainte-Catherine


Gonçalo made me comfortable right away. We met in the Marais to go over details: the locations we had in mind, what I’d be doing in front of the camera, and how much direction I could expect.

After a few minutes by my apartment on Place Sainte-Catherine, we moved on to the nearby Rue Saint-Antoine and Saint-Paul metro station, then finished off by the Seine on Pont Marie. To my surprise, Gonçalo suggested that I run across the street.

I once danced on a photo outing in Krakow, so I had no problem doing something ‘extreme’ in Paris. Running in heels on a cobbled street while watching for oncoming traffic? Count me in! We made sure I was safe though, and it ended up being my favorite part of the outing.

The whole experience was a treat. Not only was Gonçalo professional and knowledgeable, he took time getting the shots right. He even adjusted my hair when the wind made a mess of it. And throughout the shoot, we got to talk about photography and expat life in Paris (Gonçalo is originally from Portugal).

When we said good-bye, I felt as if I’d gone on a photo outing with a friend.

Pont Marie


I still like to be behind the camera, but being in front of it was very enjoyable. In the questionnaire I sent to Flytographer, I said that I wanted to “capture the joy of being back in one of my favorite cities.” (That’s an understatement – I’ve been obsessed with Paris for almost a decade!)

Every time I view the album, I’m reminded of not just the birthday weekend, but many terrific moments in the Marais – the neighborhood I called home for two weeks. How’s that for a souvenir?

Pont Marie

If you book:

  • Flytographer offers 30, 60, and 90-minute vacation packages, starting at $250 (as of April 2015)
  • Group and proposal photo shoots are also available
  • Booking at least a week in advance is recommended

I was Flytographer’s guest on the shoot. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are mine. 

By | 2016-02-16T20:51:11+00:00 April 25th, 2015|STORIES|35 Comments

About the Author:

Pola Henderson is a travel writer, city explorer, expat, and event host. Traveling has been a part of her life since she was three. Pola grew up in Krakow, lived in Chicago for many years and is currently based in Paris, where she teaches Business English.


  1. avatar
    Maaike April 26, 2015 at 1:48 am

    I never heard before that something like this was possible. Maybe something for in the future :)
    Maaike recently posted..All the World’s a Stage #1 – Shakespeare’s Globe TheatreMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around April 28, 2015 at 2:03 am

      That would be nice, Maaike!

  2. avatar
    Wandering Carol April 26, 2015 at 2:12 am

    I’m in Paris now, and if I had photos like that of myself, I’d never show the Eiffel Tower of anything at all. Helps that you look like a model. I’ve been trying to get snaps of fashionable women all over Paris, but every time I see one she’s gone before I’ve got my camera ready. Lovely.
    Wandering Carol recently posted..Air Transat vacations Europe: Budapest, Hungary! Let’s go!My Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around April 28, 2015 at 2:01 am

      Have a great time in Paris, Carol! And good luck getting the shots you’re after. :)

  3. avatar
    Monika April 26, 2015 at 5:52 am

    Interesting! I didn’t even know such a service might exist.
    Still, I prefer to take photos than be in the photos so I don’t know if I would go for it.
    Monika recently posted..The taste of Somali tea – Reverse Travel Bucket List Part 2.My Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around April 28, 2015 at 2:00 am

      I see what you mean, since I’m usually the one taking photos. But I’m glad that this time I got in front of the camera! :)

  4. avatar
    Marcin April 26, 2015 at 6:00 am

    I’ve been watching some photos from this session on your facebook, really cool shots and nice idea to get them! And also… birthday in Paris, great idea!

    • avatar
      Jetting Around April 28, 2015 at 1:59 am

      Thanks for following on FB, Marcin! Paris… Always a good idea, right? :)

  5. avatar
    balkanyrudej April 26, 2015 at 6:06 am

    It’s nice to have good photographer by Your side. You and Paris look amazing :)
    balkanyrudej recently posted..O życiu w Trebinje słów kilka by Bartosz&LaurenMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around April 28, 2015 at 1:57 am

      It sure is! I’m already thinking of another excuse to have a travel shoot. ;)

  6. avatar
    KasiaN April 26, 2015 at 6:56 am

    Bardzo paryskie! Complimenti!

    • avatar
      Jetting Around April 28, 2015 at 1:56 am

      Miło mi, że tak to wygląda. Dzięki!

  7. avatar
    Connie Reed April 26, 2015 at 7:57 am

    I hadn’t heard of Flytographer before. What a great idea.
    Connie Reed recently posted..Meet Rod the BarberMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around April 28, 2015 at 1:56 am

      HI Connie. I hear you, and I wish I’d used them sooner! :)

  8. avatar
    Carpathian highlander April 26, 2015 at 8:25 am

    Absolutely amazing idea. I have never thought that sth like this really exist. Your are right that photos are the most valuable souvenir from travel;-) wishes from the Carpathians!

    • avatar
      Jetting Around April 28, 2015 at 1:54 am

      Great idea for sure, and I like how the company started in the first place. :)

  9. avatar
    Josie April 26, 2015 at 8:39 am

    Hi Pola,

    What a fantastic idea — to have a photo shoot anywhere in the world. For a special trip or family occasion it’s a perfect way to capture the moment professionally and forever.

    You’re such a good subject, too, so these B&Ws are really great. Thanks to Gonçalo for his artistic vision!

    Josie recently posted..5 Distilled Travel Tidbits From Around the World: April 2015My Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around April 28, 2015 at 1:53 am

      Hi Josie. :) Gonçalo did a great job indeed – the black & white shots were among my favorites.

  10. avatar
    Arnie Jacobsen April 26, 2015 at 9:17 am

    You are absolutely right. These are so much better than selfies. Of course, it helps when the subject is so attractive. Probably wouldn’t have the same effect for me.;-) By the way, the red hat was a great accent and really set the image.
    Arnie Jacobsen recently posted..What City Should You Actually Live In?My Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around April 28, 2015 at 1:50 am

      Thanks for the lovely comment, Arnie! I’m glad I brought that hat.

  11. avatar
    Birthday weekend in Paris April 26, 2015 at 11:07 pm

    […] of several friends and following Flytographer’s work on social media, I knew I wanted them to capture my birthday fun in Paris. And what an afternoon it […]

  12. avatar
    Stacey Valle April 27, 2015 at 4:21 am

    wow, you have beautiful photos!! I never heard about that type of service. This sounds like a great idea!
    Stacey Valle recently posted..A Whole New World: Tokyo DisneySeaMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around April 27, 2015 at 6:17 am

      Thanks, Stacey! They do a great job and I’m glad I knew about them before the birthday. :)

  13. avatar
    elaine schoch April 27, 2015 at 11:40 am

    What a great idea! I would love to try this out sometime with my husband. We travel so much but have so few photos of the two of us together. Sounds like a very cool service.
    elaine schoch recently posted..20 Drinks From Around the WorldMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around April 28, 2015 at 1:49 am

      Very cool indeed. I know they do a lot of couples’ photo shoots, and I’m sure the two of you would have a great souvenir!

  14. avatar
    SHRADDHA GUPTA April 28, 2015 at 11:21 am

    Love this photoshoot. You and the streets look absolutely brilliant. And also the red hat add the lovely accent to the pictures! ;)

    • avatar
      Jetting Around June 8, 2015 at 2:12 am

      Many thanks! I was initially worried about the weather, but I couldn’t have asked for a better setting.

  15. avatar
    Traveling Ted May 21, 2015 at 10:38 pm

    I could see me and my fanny pack styling for a Flytographer shoot. Would be the perfect photos for next year’s International Fanny Pack Day.
    Traveling Ted recently posted..Five most over blogged countriesMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around June 8, 2015 at 12:49 am

      Now THAT is an idea! Go for it, Ted.

  16. avatar
    lola May 26, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    I love Flytographer so much. It IS a treat to do yourself but it also makes one kick ass gift as well. I love the photos especially the one without the hat!
    lola recently posted..Visiting Bangalore IndiaMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around June 8, 2015 at 12:48 am

      I liked your Flytographer photos too, Lola! Good call on the gift, hmm…

  17. avatar
    Francesca (@WorkMomTravels) June 2, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    For so long, I’ve heard so many excellent things about Flytographer but I’ve yet to use their services myself. Looks like you had a really awesome time! I, too, appreciate the story of how Flytographer got its start. Sounds so fun!
    Francesca (@WorkMomTravels) recently posted..History and family fun at French Lick ResortMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around June 8, 2015 at 12:44 am

      I’d love to see a photo shoot of you and Bonjour Amigo together. Wouldn’t that be fun?

  18. avatar
    Gabby @ June 12, 2015 at 9:56 am

    What a fantastic idea! I had no idea any services like this were available. The shots are beautiful – can’t beat a good red hat. Thanks for sharing this great little find and hope you enjoyed every moment of your birthday trip to Paris. :)
    Gabby @ recently posted..10 Rubbish Travel Tips you Should IgnoreMy Profile

    • avatar
      Jetting Around June 12, 2015 at 10:35 am

      Thanks, Gabby! I had a blast. :) And every time I wear that red hat, I’m reminded of Paris…

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