There’s a french concept with no real translation in English that makes me long for distant city streets. The word is Flâner – or to aimlessly wander.
The joy of discovery – the secret cafes – the beautiful little houses we wish we could see ourselves in ( baguette and fresh eggs and jam toast for breakfast with my adorable uniformed French children? Yes please!) I’ve done this for so much of my life, having lived abroad in Paris, Manila, and the Hague and traveling as a destination wedding photographer.
Shababa and Famhid share my love of this concept.
The couple are planning a unique neutral black and pink Paris-inspired South-Asian wedding for later this year, which is very unusual for South Asian weddings, so I’m excited to see what they come up with. Shababa is also chronicling her wedding planning challenges and nuances as a South Asian bride over on her instagram.
Now Shababa and Fahmid’s passion for exploring old cities rich with history, like the bustle of Dhaka city where Shababa grew up – there’s something about the deep longing for these places that we travelers all share.
Our mutual love for exploring cities, and especially Paris – with its infinite charms, timeless style, and aged boulevards inspired their engagement session. We picked Mount Vernon in Baltimore for our Parisian inspired engagement session – one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods with charming cobblestone streets, old French doors, fountains, sculpture and beaux arts architecture. It was home to the city’s wealthiest and most fashionable families, including the risqué and stylish Elizabeth Bonaparte who married Napoleon’s youngest brother here in Baltimore. (She infuriated all of the ladies of the time by adopting novel and scandalous French styles to wear. My kind of lady!)
The ambiance of the city as it fades from afternoon, to evening, to night were especially important to Shababa – so we met in the cool early evening and snapped chic candid-esque shots around Mount Vernon.
Shababa and Famhid also had a secret weapon for their candid images: their adorable handbag dog Charlie. Having dogs often lightens the mood (so long as there are no discipline or energy problems) and having something to do is an amazing way to get great candids. And fortunately Shababa’s sister came to help us as a dog-sitter so we could get the shots we needed with Charlie, and then not have to worry about him when we were off focusing on our Paris cool vibes down the street.
Now, a note for any couple looking to get this sort of photography: Capturing a casual, effortless Parisian city style isn’t just about strolling around and capturing candid shots. That’s the quickest way to a case of pirate eye and awkward making out in the park. How many times have you felt you just can’t take a flattering photograph? Well, I think EVERYONE can have good photographs – it’s just a matter of finding a photographer who makes you feel comfortable and confident as they subtly guide your body positions. As George Sand said “Les chefs-d’oeuvre ne sont jamais que des tentatives heureuses.” – or “Masterpieces are never anything else but happy attempts.” I strongly believe that about photography – because I’ve found that in the most engaging perfect-imperfect images I have made for clients, the recipe is the same. Preparation (which can mean sharing a Pinterest board and art direction, preparing the right outfits, or practicing in front of a mirror), being open to fun and experimentation, play, and ultimately your courage or confidence to try your own thing or follow my lead. This is the best way of preparing your mind to get that effortless candid look.
If you’re planning an engagement session in Paris, a Paris wedding, or want your engagement session images to have a touch of that French quelque-chose, get in touch!