about the photographer
hey karina, why should we work with you?
That's a great question! There are some really great photographers in Paris and they all have their specialities and talents. I can't speak for them, but I can tell you a bit about me. I'm someone who moved my life to another country (originally from the U.S.) and I've found joy and beauty in my new home, beauty that I love to share with others. I love to work with people to capture their precious memories through beautiful imagery. Even if you don't feel that you photograph well, you are beautiful, you really are, and I try to capture that beauty. But it's not just the photographs, which is what you expect from a photographer. What about working together? I'm with you every step of the way, making sure we're in communication, making sure I answer any questions or concerns you have. I'll give you ideas, and will work with you to make sure your photo session in Paris is very memorable. I'm very professional with high standards, but I also like to have fun and want you to enjoy the time we spend together. One my favorite things about my work is meeting new people and making new friends. Plus, I like to share Paris with you, whether it's your first visit or tenth.
are you french?
I'm an American citizen living full time in Paris since 2014. I've been coming to Paris though for many years, since I was a student in high school, and it has always felt like a second home. Now, it is my home!
do you speak english?
Yes, American English is my native language. I also speak French and a little Spanish and Italian.
what is your background?
I've been photographing people and places since I was a young child, but when I got older, put it aside to focus on creative writing. I studied creative writing at the University of Minnesota in the US and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. My favorite types of writing are plays, short stories, and screenplays. After writing for many years, including writing for television (HGTV), I again became interested in images, but this time, moving images and started producing and directing independent documentaries while learning how to operate professional video equipment and even teaching basic video operation. I have a deep love for documentary filmmaking and filmmaking in general, as well as television production. That said, living in Minnesota, where I'm from, it was not possible to make a living from my creative pursuits so I simultaneously began an extensive marketing career, focusing on market research, marketing communications and education. I've been working in the medical device industry helping doctors and nurses with high quality medical products for many years. Now, I combine my love of helping people with my love of photography and I travel as much as I can as well. Travel is a huge passion of mine and I take photographs of all my travels.
about the photo sessions
where do the photo sessions take place?
The photo sessions take place in various places around the central part of Paris. Typically near Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, and Seine River, but there are so many scenic parks, gardens and little charming streets, we are only limited by imagination. We can also do more off-the-beaten path photo shoots, such as in the Canal St. Martin area. If there is a location you have in mind, let me know!
Please note: many people ask me to photograph their surprise proposal, for example, in a hotel or restaurant. While I'd love to be able to help you out, I only offer my services in public spaces (mostly outside) at this time. You can check with your restaurant or hotel on their commercial photography policies, but as a general rule, I only photograph in public spaces outside (like the Eiffel Tower).
what should I wear?
These are your photographs, so you should wear whatever is comfortable and makes you feel good. That said, in general solid colors are best. Patterns and stripes do not look the best in photographs. Also, Paris is a really classy and elegant town and your photographs will look better if you're dressed up a little. For guys a nice jacket looks great and for the ladies, a pretty dress or slacks with nice blouse looks great. If it's cold, consider whether you want to be photographed in your coat or if you wish to remove your coat for the photographs. In colder weather months, make sure to bring warm clothes with you to wear in between photos and even in warmer weather months it's never a bad idea to toss a sweater in your bag should it get chilly.
what kind of photos do you take?
I strive to capture the essence of people. Their smiles, their happiness, their inner selves. I take pictures of families, of singles, of couples, of groups. My goal is to take a photograph that is memorable and will be cherished forever. Maybe you want to surprise your significant other with a marriage proposal, or perhaps you're already engaged. Some couples may be on their honeymoon, while others, simply enjoying a vacation in Paris. Also great for families, or individuals who would love to capture their Paris memories.
what is your personal photography style?
It's really important for me to tailor each and every photo session to the people being photographed. Therefore, no two photo sessions are exactly alike. I try to learn a little something about you, and, I'm often coming up with new ideas to try with my clients during the session. For example, let's say we're doing a session near the Eiffel Tower. There are traditional spots to take photos, however, if on one random day something catches my eye and it's appropriate to try with my client, I may just do that. I'm always on the lookout for interesting or new things on each photo session, so you will hear me say something about, "Let's experiment with this", and thus the session will be fluid. It will have a plan, but we can feel free to deviate from it as well.
You'll also see that I love color, and use it in most of my images. Paris is dark and gray for at least part of the year, so this can be a challenge, but I try to infuse my images with some color and light. I strive for a "light and airy" romantic feel, but often the images turn out more dramatic. I also love black and white, as it has a timeless elegance. Black and white images are an add-on option to any package.
Unlike many photographers, I also move fairly quickly from location to location. We'll not be standing in any one spot too long. This means you won't get bored or stagnate, and you'll also have a great deal of variety in your images.
i'm not comfortable being photographed, can you help me with posing?
I totally understand this, it's part of the reason I'm behind the camera and not in front of it! In all seriousness, not everyone enjoys having their photo taken. I try to make it as easy and fun as I can. I will certainly help you and give you ideas for poses, however, I want the images to be natural and not forced. These images should reflect the real you, your style and your personality. I can help you pose to make a beautiful photo, but in the end the photo is going to be beautiful because you're in it! If you have special requests, for example, if you prefer one side of your face over another, don't hesitate to let me know.
i'm traveling with my family, and we have small children. do you work with families?
I love working with families! What a wonderful memory they'll have in the years to come of their time in Paris. Whether you have young children or teenagers, families are very special to me and I'll work with you to make a relaxing, stress-free Paris photo experience!
we'd like to do a pregnancy announcement or gender reveal in paris, is this possible?
Absolutely! What better way to share the big news with friends and family than with your announcement set against the magic of Paris? I'll be happy to work with you to discuss your ideas and come up with a great plan!
i've got some photos in front of the eiffel tower from pinterest or a google search i did, these are the photos i want, can you do that?
It's great that you've researched the kinds of images people have taken in Paris, there are so many great ones. Please review my portfolio to see the kinds of images I take and see if those in line with your style and vision. I will work to incorporate your ideas, but I'd love it if you could review my work also. Thanks!
what if it rains?
It rains a lot in Paris, it's a natural part of life in Paris. But the good news is, Paris is beautiful in the rain! Don't believe me? Just watch the final scene of Woody Allen's, Midnight in Paris! We can find indoor locations, or if you’re up for it, shots in the rain with an umbrella can be beautiful. There are also some very nice bridges that can be used for cover as well as some covered passageways. Please review all the weather and cancellation policies here. First rule of thumb while visiting Paris, always consider bringing an umbrella! You can view the Rainy Day photo gallery here.
what if i'm late to the session?
In respect to the other clients I may have on your session day, I will hold your session a maximum of 20 minutes from your booked time. If I have no contact from you within 20 minutes of our scheduled session time, I will consider you a no-show and the session will be canceled. You will not be issued a refund for your deposit. If I hear from you within 20 minutes of our session time, I will hold the session for an additional 10 minutes (30 minutes total). There is a lot of traffic in Paris, and I will do my best to help you find our meeting spot, but please plan ahead in consideration of me and other clients who may come after you. For example, if our session is supposed to start at 10:00 am and I have not met you or heard from you by 10:20 am, I will consider it a no-show and I will leave and the session will be canceled. If I hear from you at 10:00 and you tell me you are running late, I will hold your time until 10:30. If we're meeting at the Eiffel Tower, please allow 30-60 minutes for traffic. Please do not be 45 minutes or an hour late for your session, as it's likely I won't be able to hold it as I have other sessions after yours. You can review this policy here. Thank you for your consideration!
i want to do a surprise proposal, can you help me?
Absolutely! One of the things I love best are surprise proposals and I'll work with you to make it perfect. You can find information about surprise proposals here.
for my surprise proposal, i want you to hide and capture the moment secretly
I can certainly appreciate how you'd like your special proposal moment to be. However, I decided I would not do "stealth" or surprise photography (hiding behind a tree, for example) for several reasons. First off, there's too much room for error. What if our timing is off? What if we miss each other? Remember, I've never met you before and what if I don't recognize you immediately? There's too much chance of missing the moment and this is not acceptable to me. Second, I don't want to be far away using a zoom lens. I have amazing photography equipment, but I'd rather be closer to my subject and give the best quality images possible. It's just my personal style. But don't worry, I've successfully pulled off lots and lots of surprise proposals, and can't wait to help you with yours!
yes, but i don't understand then how you can keep my proposal a surprise if you're going to be standing right there!
This is actually easy and there are several scenarios that work well. Please see more info here.
i want to do my proposal session with the eiffel tower lit, is this possible?
The purpose of a surprise proposal is to keep the proposal a surprise, so I do not carry the proper lighting equipment with me for the surprise proposals at night because I prefer to be discreet. The Eiffel Tower lights come on at various times depending on the sunset for each season. You can check the Paris sunset times here. For 1 Hour sessions. if an evening proposal is important to you with the lights of the Eiffel Tower, I recommend that we set up your session at dusk, and when we're done the lights of the Eiffel Tower will be on and you can have a lovely dinner to celebrate your engagement. One of the most famous restaurants on the Eiffel Tower is the Jules Verne.
i'd like to propose inside a building, such as the eiffel tower or the louvre, is this possible?
I'm so sorry, but the photography sessions are limited to outdoor, public spaces (such as parks, gardens, along the river out outside monuments), and not inside privately owned museums or other buildings (such as inside the Eiffel Tower, inside the Louvre, etc).
how does a surprise proposal photo session work?
Surprise proposals in Paris are the best! Start here. Do you want to do a surprise proposal and combo engagement session? This would be the 90-minute Diamond Session If it's just for a proposal, the Classic session, which is 30 minutes, is great. We'll discuss where in Paris you envision proposing, or I can give you some great and romantic ideas (that don't all include the Eiffel Tower!). We'll discuss how it will work between us and work together to make the magic happen! So make sure to visit this page on my web site and we can get the discussion started on making your Paris proposal a reality!
can you pick us up at our hotel?
I’m sorry, being Parisienne, I don't have a car! So we can meet by metro, or taxi. You can provide me information on where you're staying and I'll give you directions to our meeting spot.
where can I be photographed? i would like to be photographed at the eiffel tower.
The Eiffel Tower is iconic, beautiful, and a world symbol of Paris. Depending on the time of day, however, you will be sharing your photo session with hundreds of tourists. The good news is there are some areas around the Eiffel Tower with a few less people and there are so many other gorgeous places in Paris to be photographed. My personal favorites are the islands around Notre Dame Cathedral. Maybe it's because I'm a Pisces, but I love being by the water, and the Latin Quarter and areas surrounding it are quaint and charming.
There are also areas I'd consider off-the-beaten-path that we can explore where there are more locals than tourists. Whatever you have in mind, we can do and I can help you decide as well!
what hours can I be photographed?
My current hours of operation are 8:00 am to 11:00 pm, and 4:00 to 8:00 pm Sunday through Saturday. This varies by season. My hours are as such so as to take advantage of the best lighting throughout the day (this can vary by season).
early morning photo sessions
Early morning, starting around 8:00 am, depending on the season, is one of the most magical times of the day in Paris. Mostly free from tourists, and gorgeous light, during the warm weather months.
how much time should I book?
If you just want a few images of your time in Paris, a few engagement photos by the Eiffel Tower, a few family photos by Notre Dame, or a surprise proposal with the proposal and a few photographs after the proposal, you could book the Picture Me Paris Classic Photo Session. This is a one-hour session in one location. If you'd like a bit more time and not feel rushed, and would like to add an additional location to your session, you could book the Picture Me Paris Diamond Photo Session. Great for couples and also very good for family portraits, it's the most popular package. We'll go to two Paris locations for the two hour session, or spend extended time in one location, such as Montmartre (where there is a lot to photograph). Please note: you can always add on another hour to any session at the time of booking.
what time of day should i book?
Everyone has a preference on their time, as it also depends on whatever else you have planned for your day. In general, the mornings are much less crowded in Paris, but during the peak months of May to September, there are still a lot of tourists, but fewer in the early morning. Evenings are pleasant, particularly in summer, as it stays light very late. So it really depends on a) what other plans you'll have for the day, b) whether you would prefer the softer light in the morning or late evening or a combination of both. I recommend sessions in the morning between 8:00 am and noon, and afternoon sessions between 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm, but this will vary by season.
can i split my session over two days? can i do one hour one day and another hour another day? or an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon?
All sessions must be done the same day and consecutively (i.e. two hours in a row, not an hour in the morning, an hour in the afternoon), with the exception of the Picture Me Paris Surprise Proposal + Engagement Package, which can be done concurrently or split over two days.
can i change the date, starting time or duration of my photo session after its been booked?
Once booked, photo sessions are confirmed for the date and time specified. Due to scheduling conflicts, it is unlikely this can be changed. If you have an emergency conflict and want to change the date and/or time of your session, you can make a request at least 72 hours in advance here and I'll absolutely do my best to accommodate you, but I can't make any guarantees.
what if we run over our session time?
If you wish to extend your session beyond what you booked, or if your requests necessitate that we add time, you'll invoiced for the extra time. The specifics of this are outlined in the general photography agreement you'll be sent upon booking.
does transportation time during the session count separately?
No, if you're booking a two-hour session and it takes 20 minutes to get to our second location, this time is included as part of your two hour session, the session is not extended by 15 minutes. That is why if the Eiffel Tower is important to you as a photographic destination, that we select another location that is not as far (i.e. Louvre or Notre Dame) by taxi or Uber (metro will take longer the farther we go). The Eiffel Tower is on the far west end of the Paris tourist attraction zone and not near any of the other Paris locations.
i'd like to book the classic (one-hour session) and have my photographs at the eiffel tower and louvre, is this possible?
I'm sorry, this is not possible with a one-hour session. A one-hour session includes one location in Paris. This could be the Eiffel Tower, it could be the Louvre courtyard (and areas around it), or it could be a one-hour session in Montmartre. The Eiffel Tower is the farthest landmark west in Paris and it takes time to get there and get other places from there, so if you absolutely want photographs near the Eiffel Tower in a one-hour session, it's not possible to do that and another location in an hour. If you'd like to do the Eiffel Tower and one other location, please book a two or three hour session.
what happens during my photo session?
No two photo sessions are exactly alike, but in general, they are a lot of fun, designed to be stress-free. I'm talkative and friendly (some might say too chatty!). I like to learn more about my clients and them about me. When we meet we will have introductions, I'll ask you again if you've been to Paris before. If not, I'll point out some things along the way. I'll ask you for your thoughts and ideas, I'll have some ideas too.
Before we get started, don't hesitate to let me know if there's a side you prefer to be photographed from or any other special directions. This is your special time in Paris, so don't hesitate to ask if there's anything I can do to make your experience more enjoyable (unless it's raining, I have a lot of powers, but stopping the rain isn't one of them, unfortunately).
At the conclusion of our session, you may be tired and hungry or thirsty. I can direct you to places to refuel in the area, and give you other advice on other things to see or how to get back to your hotel. We'll say au revoir, and I do hope to see you again in Paris or somewhere else in our world. It's really important to me that you have a great experience, so let me know what I can do to make that a reality!
what should i bring to my photo session?
Usually we are visiting very busy places, and unfortunately, Paris and many large popular cities have troubles with pickpocketing. To minimize this, please do not bring anything to the photo shoot that you absolutely do not need to bring with you. Ladies, bring a very small handbag, or no handbag at all for our photo session. Please also note that during our session I cannot hold coats, bags, handbags etc. If you bring a coat, please be prepared to place it near our photo shooting spot if you do not wish to wear it. Please note that I am not responsible for theft or if you lose your belongings, so please bring along the absolute minimum.
do you provide hair and make up services?
I myself do not provide hair and makeup services, however if you would like to take advantage of the many professional hair and makeup artists in Paris, please let me know. I'll put you in touch!
how do you edit the photos?
As a photographer and artist, I try very hard to get your images perfect in camera. But every image can benefit from a bit of editing. As you can see from my gallery, I love color. Sometimes it's challenging in Paris, as the city is often grey. Therefore, I try to brighten and add a bit of color to your images, particularly if it was a cloudy day.
After your session, I go through all of the images I captured to select those I think are best and after getting to know you a bit, those that I feel capture your style, essence and personality. I then professionally edit the images and make adjustments to color and lighting as necessary. I do not do heavy edits such as: adding filters, thinning of the nose, adding or subtracting hair, editing skin perfections, slimming the waistline, removing wrinkles etc. Why not you may ask? Because I strive to capture the real you. Now I want you to look good, and you will, but I want you to also be authentic to yourself and to the beautiful images we're capturing of your inner and outer beauty in Paris.
The image editing process is the final touch on your images, and one that I take great care with. Thus, it takes time. When the image editing has been completed, your images are uploaded to an online portrait photo gallery that's super easy to use. You'll be given password access to download the images. All images are supplied in high resolution JPG format, without watermarks, so you may download them and use them as you wish. Many people download them to their computer for use on social media such as Facebook and Instagram. Others download so that they may make paper prints later. Downloading the images is very easy and you also have the option to share your photo gallery with friends and family. You can also order paper prints directly from the site and they will be mailed to your home. I highly recommend you print some images, they'll be gorgeous displayed on your wall, or you can make a photo album!
but i want to decide which photos i want, not you
I totally understand, everyone has their own preferences when it comes to photos of themselves. However, I supply you many images from which to choose and the entire process is efficient and streamlined when I go through the images first and select those that are best. From there, you'll have plenty to choose from. They are all supplied as a part of your package, you don't pay anything for your images.
can you make me look thinner in my photos?
Everyone wants to look their absolute best in photos. If there is something you're sensitive to, such as an angle, or you only prefer to be photographed on one side of your face, let me know that in advance or during our session. I do light edits to your images to correct for brightness and to add some color. I do not do editing like for models, to change shapes of noses, digital tummy tucks or thigh reduction. Everyone has their own inner and outer beauty, that's what should come through in your images. I understand sometimes (especially we as women) don't like the way we look in images, so share your concerns with me during your session.
how many photos will I receive?
How many photos you receive depends on your session. The photos are professionally edited to adjust for color and brightness.
what if my package includes 50 photos and i want to see all of them, can you send me all the photos?
Your session will include a minimum of whatever your session package includes. So if your session includes 50 photos, you'll get at least 50. You will not get all photos that are taken during your session, only those determined to be of sufficient and high enough quality. A lot of people assume that maybe there are photos taken that you may really like that you're not receiving. This is rarely the case, as I include almost everything I think you may like. Those that are not included are shots where maybe you blinked or the image was in some other way not suitable.
how long will it take to see the photos?
Your images will be available to you within 3 business days of our session. When they are ready I will send you a link to the online portrait gallery and you can download the photos to your computer, and can share with friends and family on social media, via email, or to print. The photos are yours to keep and there is no separate charge to download the photos. You have all rights to use them for your personal use. If you need the images faster, there is an optional add on of 24 hour or 48 hour delivery.
i want the photos the same day as my session, is this possible?
After our session, I take great care to go through all of the images I took to find the best photographs, and this takes quite some time. After I have selected the images I think are best, I edit or do light retouching as necessary to adjust for lighting, brightness, etc. It usually takes three (3) working days before I have a link ready for you to download your photographs. I do however, offer the option of 24 or 48 hour turnaround if you need your images much quicker. This is an option when you book, so if you need expedited service, don't hesitate to add it on when you book.
how do I access the photos?
You'll be sent an email and given private access to an online portrait gallery to view your photos, so please make sure I have your current email. The photos are high resolution digital images in JPG format. From there, you may download them to your computer or order professional prints.
can you print the photos for me?
Absolutely! You can order paper prints directly from my web site. On each image you'll see a little shopping cart. Simply place the print size you want in your shopping cart, check out with credit card or Paypal, and I'll place the order with the professional print lab I use. The photo finish is lustre, and very high quality with beautiful colors. The prints are unframed and unmatted so you can select your own decor. You'll enjoy your images for years to come!
i want to see all the proofs and keep all of them, is this possible?
Unfortunately, no. As a photographer and artist, I will determine the shots that are most professional and suitable to share with you. From those, you can select those that you like best.
i would like the photos in RAW format, so i can edit them myself, is this possible?
I'm so sorry but part of my service is a complete service which includes the images I captured, edited in my style. I'm not able to provide you RAW files so that you may edit the images yourself. Please ensure that you do like my style before booking. When the images have been professionally edited and completed, you'll receive the images as high-resolution JPG images.
i heard there's sometimes construction around the eiffel tower or even fog, what do we do then?
Paris is a living, breathing city, with dozens of special events that go on every day. Therefore, there is always the slight risk that there could be an event near the Eiffel Tower (like a foot race, bike race, for example), or another special event. We often don't know in advance and therefore on the day of your session we may have to improvise. Also, the Eiffel Tower is often used as a statement piece. For example, often during the French Open, they often hang a big replica tennis ball from the Eiffel Tower. We can't do much about this, just know that Paris changes all the time. We don't cancel our sessions because of it, rather we work around it the best we can.
It indeed does get foggy in Paris, and usually the fog is light but might obscure some of the Eiffel Tower. Sometimes the entire Eiffel Tower is obscured. In this case, we can reschedule your session, or we can select another beautiful part of Paris for our photographs. The best rule of thumb when visiting Paris, come with an open mind, flexibility and enjoy it to its fullest!
what languages are spoken?
I'm a native speaker of American English, but I also speak French. I speak some Spanish and Italian as well, but not fluently. I can also say "thank you" in at least 10 other languages. :)
i'm from the US and I want to pay in US dollars, is this possible?
I'm sorry, it's not possible to pay for your session in US dollars ($). Picture Me Paris is a French business and the currency in France is the euro. When you pay by credit card or Paypal, your euro payment will be automatically converted to dollars on your statement. You can see current exchange rates here.
what’s the most important piece of advice for people being photographed in Paris?
Relax and enjoy! You’re in one of the world’s most glorious, amazing cities. We're going to have a lot of fun together!
how do i pay?
A deposit is required to book your session, and you can pay by credit card or Paypal (credit card or bank balance). The currency of the photo sessions are in euro (€) but your credit card company will convert your payment to your currency. The balance of your photo session is due at the conclusion of your photo session, or you may pay for the entire session in advance. I will invoice you after your session and you can pay by credit card or bank transfer with Paypal.
Please note, a deposit is also required to reserve your session. This amount is refundable if you have to cancel with at least 10 days' advance notice.
Please note: when you pay by credit card, it's PICTUREMEPARIS that will appear on your credit card statement.
what is the cancellation policy?
The cancellation policy is as follows: if you must cancel your photo session for any reason, I require at least 10 days' notice via email. If I'm notified at least 10 days before the session, I will refund your deposit. If you are a no-show or do not give at least 10 days' notice of cancellation, you will forfeit your deposit. More details on this will be sent after your booking. Thank you in advance!
can you recommend a good dinner option?
Right on the Eiffel Tower itself is the famous Jules Verne restaurant. Nearby is also the very popular Les Ombres at the Museum of Quai Branly. If you want to do a really nice dinner cruise, I can highly recommend Le Calife, which embarks at the Pont des Arts near the Louvre. I would recommend that you book in advance, as dinner reservations tend to fill quickly. Also, you can check The Fork and do a customized search for your perfect dinner spot.
can you recommend a good overall river cruise of paris?
Gliding along on the Seine river, particularly as the lights come on in the evening, is one of the great pleasures of any Paris visit. My favorite river cruise company is Bateaux Mouches at the Pont Alma. They have boats that leave very frequently and give a nice overview of the city by water. I also quite enjoy the company Vedettes du Pont Neuf, which have smaller, more personalized boats and are near the Notre Dame area.
what, in your opinion, are the "can't miss" attractions of paris?
The Eiffel Tower, Musée d'Orsay, Notre Dame Cathedral, Opera Garnier, and Luxembourg Gardens are the spots I would consider must-sees in Paris, although there are many, many more! The Paris Tourist Office is a great starting point for planning your activities in Paris.
what's your favorite thing to do in paris?
Walk! If the weather is nice, go to the boulangerie and grab a sandwich, and walk by the Seine, find a nice grassy area in a park or a green chair, and just relax. To me, half the fun of Paris is just to walk around and soak it all in!
do you photograph outside of Paris?
Absolutely! I'm available for travel in all parts of France as well as Europe and the United States, my home country. My other favorite locations are Italy and Greece, and I'm happy to discuss possibilities with you!
i still have more questions!
Contact me and I'll answer you right away!