• Marina Chaffanjon


Updated: Jan 28

I used to dream about Paris since the very first time I came here nine years ago. This is a real love because it is unreasonable: after all these years I cannot say that I don't know about this city's drawbacks. However, even though my dream came true and I am now living in the best city in the world, I sometimes forget to see and enjoy it. What made me open my eyes and look around was a couple photoshoots. Or rather, two photoshoots that we had with The Chef in the city of love!

Paris in Spring

The initial idea to do a photoshoot did not come from either one of us, but, indirectly, from my mom who wanted to send to Paris a Russian videographer to make a film about our love story as a gift for our wedding. I was afraid even to mention it to The Chef. He hates posing, fake smiles, talking, and opening up to strangers. Moreover, such an experience would cost a small fortune for a couple of hours. So I just told my mom to forget it thereby hurting her feelings. However, being a wise woman (sometimes it happens to me), I found a better idea to please my mom and convince the stubborn mule that is my husband.

Once I arrived to Paris, I met through a friend a charming Ukrainian-French girl Oksana who was just as in love with Paris as I was. Apart from her job in communications, she also has her own business as a photographer specializing in couple photoshoots, weddings and even walking excursions around the French capital - Paris Photo Story. After a couple of coffees on Parisian terraces and sharing our expat experiences, we grew fond of each other. One day, she asked me whether I would mind participating in a promotional video for her website. At home I presented the idea to The Chef as a call for help from a new friend that I couldn't let down. To my big surprise, he accepted it under the condition that it doesn't last for more than one hour. Needless to say that my mother was happy!

For different reasons though this videography never happened, but a few months later, my friend proposed to us to do a couple photoshoot as a gift to our wedding. Same response - as long as it was short, The Chef would do it to make me happy.

We met on a spring Sunday morning at 8 AM in front of Notre Dame de Paris. Oksana explained that the light was best at this time and it was probably the only way to avoid crowds of tourists anyway. It was a beautiful fresh morning that we started with hot croissants before getting down to work. After a few shots on the side of Notre Dame de Paris, we slowly moved to the Marais stopping at every lovely spot. Early spring in Paris is special for its pink cherry blossoms and violet wistarias that we were a little bit late for, but I strongly recommend you to come to Paris in mid-March to enjoy this festival of colors and smells.

I leave it up to you to enjoy the lovely pictures she made, but what you cannot see on them is how dedicated she was, carrying my bag so as not to leave it on the ground, trying to ease up The Chef, proposing lots of new stunning locations in Paris and taking incredible poses just to capture the best shot. The Chef was so carried away himself that we kept on with this photoshoot for three hours!

There is something magical, electrical almost, that happens between you two when you look in each other's eyes for a few hours and, slightly embarrassed, laugh at your own lack of photogenic talent. Something that might seem as a posing does actually reveal your natural feelings for each other in an attempt to capture a beautiful moment. I loved so much ceding to the cliché of the city of love: walking in the pavement streets of Paris and stopping in front of the beauty of the French capital without having to run somewhere - when you live in a city, you forget to see it as a tourist. At the end of the day, it is exactly why I love it so much!

Paris in Autumn

Our second photoshoot happened half a year later, in Autumn, on one of the Indian summer days in October. Just the day before it was raining and the weather was about +10 degrees, but on that weekend we gained at least 15 degrees and I even took out my summer dress that I had already put in the closet.

Our artist this time was a Russian wedding photographer Lev Chudov we had never seen before. Husband of the tailor of my D-Day dress Anna, he asked us to be the models of his couple photoshoot during his first visit in Paris and we immediately said yes (although you can imagine that The Chef still put forward his condition of one hour photoshoot the longest). This time we knew already what to expect and even dressed up in matching colors of blue marine and green.

We were genuinely impressed by his preparation: for the person who had never been to Paris before, he knew the beautiful spots and the game of light very well. This time we started from the Mars Fields and finished on the famous Alexander III Bridge - a place close to my heart as it symbolises the Franco-Russian alliance of 1891. We had a very good laugh while walking in Paris for three hours and enjoying the gift the weather gave us just for one day. Once the sun set, the temperature started quickly falling and even The Chef's jacket wouldn't help.

The photographers had different technique and style: while Oksana mixed film and digital, Lev stuck to the old good film. I leave it up to you to decide whose pictures you prefer the most and of course you can contact them directly if you have more questions.

After these two photoshoots, The Chef said that next time we will have to charge for our model services...

#Paris #Photoshoot #Couple

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