How to Plan Perfect Paris Pictures – 5 Top Tips

Ever see a friend’s Instagram feed or travel photos and envy them for their Instagram-able quality?  What sets the average travelgram apart and makes it go from basic to EXTRA?  Having spent too much time on Instagram for my own good, I’ve picked up on a few things or two.  And having just recently returned from a fabulous family vacation to Paris, I’ll share my top tips for planning out your very own picture-perfect Parisian pics!

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  1. Find your inspiration by following your favorite photographers /bloggers from that destination.   Here are the Instagram feeds that I followed for inspiration just to give you a start.  They showcase truly awe-inspiring photographs that both challenge and inspire you to up your own photography game while giving you great ideas in terms of locations, angles, styling and more!   @bisousparis   @unlimitedparis   @videoparis  @morgylh  @parisinfourmonths 
  2. Create a bucket list of what you consider the most photogenic spots.  After following your favorite Instagram-ers you’ll inevitably find new hot spots, and places to see.  Add them to your bucket list!  And start thinking about your shot list. Do you want to make sure you get a family shot in front of the Eiffel Tower?  Do you now want a close up of your dessert with the Parisian streets in the background just like you saw your favorite Instagram-er do?  Save your favorite inspirational photos on IG as part of your Paris photo bucket list by using that save to collection banner button!  In doing this research, you’ll start noticing that there are picturesque spots not typically in your travel guide that you’ll want to hunt down.

    I didn’t originally know for instance about this famous wall of love that showcases the phrase, “I love you” in 311 languages in the Jehan Rictus garden square in Montmartre.   And it was right by a toddler play ground and carousel which made it a fun stop for the gram AND for my child!  Another spot, I’m so glad I added to my photo bucket list was Rue Crémieux located between rue de Lyon and rue de Bercy.
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    It’s the dreamiest, rainbow row that will transport you out of Paris’s normal, neutral surroundings into a unicorn-like wonderland!  Although it’s ranked only 265 on TripAdvisor amongst 1386 Parisian attractions, I’d rate this #1 in terms of getting your gram-worthy street style shot
  3. Time it. This is a two-part tip.  Firstly, look into the best time of the year and day to get those coveted shots.  When we traveled to Japan for instance, we researched the prime period for cherry blossoms to bloom cuz I desperately wanted to capture that iconic Japanese cherry blossom scene.  If it’s Eiffel tower shots with flowering trees that you’re hoping for, plan seasonally.  Also think about the “golden hour,”  the period shortly after sunrise or before sunset during which daylight is redder and softer, making for photographically perfect lighting.  Lastly, don’t just point and shoot.  Wait for the minute that the people seemingly disappear or shuffle back far enough and make way for a less crowded shot like we did below.  Your patience will be rewarded!
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    Finally, click only when your subject is ready and you’ll be thankful later when it comes to sorting through the hundreds of photos from the day!
  4. Coordinate it.  If you’ve read through our blog at all, you know we’re fans of coordinated looks!  palace royale, paris palace, instagramable paris, mommy and me, mommy and me outfits, paris with kids, palais de royal
    If you’re planning to create that frame-worthy shot, make sure to think ahead about not only coordinating each other’s outfits to avoid a clashing look but also to think about the background setting and about how you can best compliment that too.
  5. Pose and prop it.  For our Paris photo shoots, we used berets, baguettes, and even Juliet’s stuffed poodle as touristy props to emphasize the destination’s French icons. instagramable paris, paris most instagramable, paris picture
    But you could also use a beautiful bouquet of flowers, balloons or even your morning crepe as a photo prop.  Another pro tip is to study other people’s poses.  By doing so, you’ll get new ideas on flattering ways to stand or even play with your background (have you see people seemingly hold the Eiffel Tower behind them between two fingers or on top of their hand for instance?)  Memorizing some ready-to-go poses will have you feeling more confident and able to naturally find ways to mix it up.

What are YOUR favorite photography tips for capturing that gram-worthy shot?? Tell me in the comments or share this post with a friend who would appreciate this!

For more tips on how to get Instagram-able photos in general, click here!

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6 Stops You Must See To Believe – Epic SoCal Road Trip

It’s easy to get jaded and feel like you’ve seen it all once you’ve done a lot of anything.  For me, it takes a lot to impress or excite me when it comes to parties for instance.  I’ve attended, planned and produced so many in my lifetime and have kept up with the latest trends and offerings through industry tradeshows, blogs and celebrity planners that I feel I’ve seen every flower arrangement, candy bar setup, and balloon arrangement there is to see.  So I’m always seeking something new and creative to wow me and incorporate into my next event.  The same is true when I travel.  I seek something beyond the typical beach resort and long for the Instagram-able, colorful, bizarre and surreal.  Click through here for my tips on the 5 wild and wacky must-see spots to take your kids to in Tokyo for instance, or here for NYC’s most Instagram-able bucket list, and my 7 tips when visiting the world’s most surreal spa.  But if you’re looking for a fun Southern Californian road trip with memorable pit stops along the way, Look no further.  We did this day trip in December (when the weather is perfect out in the desert), and highly recommend these 6 unbelievable sights for your next road trip.  And guess what!  They’re all free!  Well the banana museum charges $1 if you don’t eat or buy anything there but basically all you need for these spots is an adventuresome spirit and an open mind.

  1. Salvation Mountain

    What do you get when you mix rainbows, with art and Christian messaging?  Salvation Mountain!  salton sea, california road trip, nilan california, nilan california, slab city,
    Made in the name of love, the deceased artist, Beal created this man-made mountain and painted it with over 100,000 gallons of paint over the course of nearly 3 decades! He created this unbelievably beautiful spectacle, the most colorful and happy hike you’ll ever take.  The art installation consists of the main mountain, a few caves and a painted tree area.  Selfie anyone?  Not a single person who goes here can resist taking a photo..it is just that remarkable.  Whether you are religious or not, the message is all about LOVE.  And I loved it.  It’s such a cheerful sight amidst the vast desert landscape.  Even the grumpiest soul can’t resist smiling here.california road trip ideas, salton sea, nilan california, most instagrammable california

    ADDRESS – Beal Rd Niland, CA 92257.   TIME TO ALLOT- 30 minutes if it’s hot or up to 1.5 hours if you’re a photographer and the weather is nice.  We spent close to an hour there because it was my newfound happy place!

  2. Ski Inn

    Dolla Dolla Bills Y’all!
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    The entire interior of this dark, otherwise dingy, non-descript dive bar is covered interestingly in dollar bills!  Doubling as wallpaper and a guestbook, people write messages or their names on the bill and then paste them to the walls and even ceiling of this joint.  If you need to stop for a bathroom break or want to enjoy a drink with the locals, this is the place to go!  They are happy to give you tips for your travels or just hang out and get to know you.  Juliet had to go potty on our road trip which is why I went in.  Imagine my surprise when I saw this decor!  I bought a .75 water bottle on my way out in exchange for using their bathroom (which was clean enough).  And uh, if you’re not thirsty, you could always buy one of their cans filled with fish assholes.  You heard me right….and they’re only $4.  TIP this place only takes cash.  Like I said, dolla dolla bills y’all!

    ADDRESS – 9596 Ave A Niland, CA 92257   TIME TO ALLOT – 5 to 45 minutes depending if you’re staying for lunch
  3. Banana Museum

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    This tiny, eccentric museum is one of the most memorable ones you will ever see.  Having started by purchasing the world’s largest banana collection (a title awarded by the Guiness Book of World Records) off of eBay, the owner turned his family’s bar into a shrine / shop for everything yellow and exponentially grew his initial collection.  Think banana shaped phones, stuffed monkeys holding bananas, banana milkshakes and ice cream and banana toys and costumes even.  I went bananas in there taking pictures, trying on silly costumes and just being enthralled at the amazing collection.  My 4 year old tells people she went to the banana museum when people asked her what she did in California for 3 weeks. lol I guess she found it really a-PEEL-ing!
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    ADDRESS – 98775 Hwy 111 Mecca, CA 92254.   TIP they are known to unexpectedly close early or not open on time so you may want to call ahead to confirm opening hours. (619) 840-1429.  TIME TO ALLOT – 10-25 minutes

  4. Bombay Beach Ruins at Salton Sea

    You know the crystal clear ocean water and soft sand beaches from the brochures?? Yea..this is not that.  This is the creepy, apocalyptic version of that. Imagine, a deserted beach where you can look for miles beyond and feel like you’re the last person standing on earth.salton sea road trip. socal road trip, californian road trip
    ( It is the largest inland body of water in California and yes that is me seemingly in the middle of nowhere land). Fun fact – the surface of the Salton Sea is 234.0 feet (or 71 meters) below sea level!  And the water is so thick with salt that it doesn’t move.  No crashing waves.  Just dead silence.  Speaking of dead, expect to see a lot of dead fish as you walk the crunchy, dry cracked sand.  It is bizarre.  And that’s why it is cool.  You’ll wander around feeling as if you have just entered twilight zone as you come across abandoned ships covered in graffiti, hundreds of bird and fish bones, and what looks to be a mini Stonehenge. salton sea things to do, instagramable california, california roa dtrip
    There is also a visitor’s center there but because we had already read-up on the history and googled all there was to know about it, we skipped it and saved $5 (parking fee) just by going to the nearby beach.

    ADDRESS -100-225 State Park Rd  Mecca, CA 92254    TIME TO ALOT -20 minutes because it is a bit smelly with the sulfur and scent of dead fish.  NOTE – the piles of dead fish that people have written about are no longer there so no worries. You kind of have to hunt for them bones now..

  5. East Jesus

    Wanna hang out with hippies and explore their artsy playground? Then this is the perfect place for you.  californian road trip, hippies, coachella, burning man, slab city resident, slab city art
    This place felt like the opposite of my hometown, Manhattan which is why I with wide-eyed curiosity, visited.  What do you mean they live “off-the-grid?”  No electricity?  No taxes, no sewage system?? Unfathomable.  But then you see the art, the wall of broken-down TVs with political messages, the supersized see-saw for adventurous adults, the makeshift bowling alley and the plane, yes a PLANE… and even the most jaded traveler snaps out of it and excitedly wanders about wanting to see more.  It has a Burning Man vibe so if you’re into that you’ll love this too.
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    Many music videos and films have been shot here but mostly this place is a relatively unknown deserted area with residents ranging from squatters, to the homeless to the free-spirited, artsy campers.  To be honest, my husband was terrified to visit at first thinking we’d be walking into a community of meth addicts who would eventually kidnap and kill us.  But the reviews I read and the amount of tourists I saw when there made me feel safe enough to bring my family out of the confines of our safe rental car.  How did I know there were so many tourists?  OH you will KNOW who the tourists are and who the locals are.  This is their drive-in movie theater btw.  drive through, drive in movie theater, hippie, socal road trip, california road trip
    Imagine movie night here!
    ADDRESS Sidewinder Road, Niland, California.   It is only about 10 minutes away from Salvation Mountain.  TIME TO ALLOT -25 minutes to an hour depending how interested you are in getting to know the locals.

  6. Palm Tree Farm

    Does the sight of palm trees make you happy?  Me too.

    But things clustered in freakish numbers tend to creep me out (i.e. one pigeon is ok but a hundred flocking around a small space …not ok).  That’s the effect that standing in the middle of this seemingly never-ending palm tree forest will give you.  They did look beautiful from afar, perfectly lined up and all growing at the same rate and height. They’ll totally satisfy any OCD that you have.  Perhaps that’s what lured me in.  We parked off to the side of the road for a closer look and for a picture-esque opportunity.  But I quickly found that standing next to the millions of thorny, hovering trees was not a comforting feeling.  I wanted to get the hell outta there and fast!  Therefore I’m setting the TIME TO ALOT as 5-10 minutes.  It’s a quick pit stop.  Get your freaky forest picture and RUN!palm tree forest, palm tree nursery, palm tree farm, niland, road trip ideas for california, california road trip
    ADDRESS – off Rte 11 between Joshua Tree and Nilan (most of the area is fenced but you can find an area that is not and park along the side of the road for some quick photos!

I loved every moment of this road trip because it offered destinations that were both weird and wacky that will stand out in our memories long after we leave our beloved state of California.

GENERAL TIPS FOR THIS ROAD TRIP

  • AVOID the summer season and check the weather because road tripping through the desert isn’t as fun when you’re panting and drenched in sweat.  December was the perfect time to visit!
  • Bring lots of water, some snacks and a packed meal as backup because there are not a lot of good places to stop for a meal unless you travel to the nearby San Diego or Palm Springs cities which is what we did for our final, dinner stop.
  • Bring an extra cell phone battery and make sure your camera is all charged up and has enough storage to make room for the hundreds of pictures you are bound to take because if you don’t record and upload it later for your friends, were you really there?? haha
  • Research the hashtags for the locales if you are into photography and want to make sure you don’t miss any important shots.
  • Plan the perfect outfit!  We made sure to have a colorful outfit that coordinated the mountain’s pastel rainbow for an extra perfect picture.  But for you this may simply mean dressing in layers as depending on the time of day or season you go, you may experience a dip in temperature once the sun goes down or want to make sure you have your favorite sunglasses to shield you from the intense desert sun.
  • We had no problems with cell or navigation reception along the way from Orange County, California.
  • camping options can be found nearby at Joshua Tree, on the Sultan Sea at Bombay Beach and of course at Slab City but really if you start early in the day, you can cover all 6 of these areas within one day!
  • It’s less than an hour from Palm Springs so it’s a great idea to start or end there!

 

What do you think?  Would you want to take this road trip?  And what other strange sights do you recommend that I must see?  Please tell me in the comments.  I’d love to hear from you!

 

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