Parisian photography school

Today I had my first-ever formal photography course.

I am indebted to my friend Chris for teaching me how to hold my camera. But now I’m equally indebted to Sophie Pasquet for encouraging me to move outside my comfort zone and actually take control of my camera.

As we parted at lunchtime, Sophie asked me what I’d remember from our lesson. I’d learned so much that I drew a complete blank. “I wish I’d recorded our walk,” I answered. But as I reviewed my photos this evening, the day’s lessons all came back:

Pay attention to your metering.

Remove distracting backgrounds.

Use surprising angles.

Make your photo about one thing.

Move in closer.

Wait for the decisive moment.

Zoom with your feet, not your lens.

But maybe most importantly, I began to overcome my shyness about approaching people. As a result of my time with Sophie today, I met a charming clochard …

… and an astounding artist.

And I’m confident that, thanks to Sophie, my time in Paris will be all the more rewarding.

Merci beaucoup, Sophie!


  1. What a beautiful set of photos! So much life and contrast: the juxtaposition of the curlicue lamp post with the formal architecture; the clarity, color and grain of the wooden door against the gray, slightly-out-of-focus window and gate; the sense of dignity and movement in the family led by the man in the beret; the two-photo sequence of the artist at work–all of your shots look expertly composed.

    If you took these on the first day of your “first-ever formal photography course,” look out world!!!

    –J.A. Robinson

    My humorous photoblog:

    • Thanks so much for your kind words, J.A.! I’ve been shooting since I was 8, but I’ve never had any formal training—until today. It was reassuring to know that I have an eye for quirky details, but also humbling to realize I have much to learn. BTW: I love your photos and humorous commentary, too. It would never occur to me to write captions for bananas. Great twist! Thanks for commenting and sharing!

  2. We’re in Sophie’s class as well!
    Thanks, the photos are all very beautiful. Thanks for sharing, H.

  3. Bravo!! Awesome lessons learned.. and beautiful captures.. just amazing.. you have reminded me of the good parts about Paris..

  4. So happy you arrived safely and are wandering amid such beauty with your trusty camera and wise eye! Enjoying your postings greatly, dear friend!

    • Thanks, kluckmeister! I thought about your apartment fire this afternoon, when I came back to my flat in Paris and realized I’d left the electric heater on. Sorry to heat about your combustible situation, but hope it turns out OK …

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