Guide to Paris Part 1

After my recent Paris trip, I have decided to share my experience to save people the time of research. All of the below materials are base on my extensive research and are solely my opinion. It may defer from what you think and may not be the best way of doing things but I hope it helps. 

Trip Essentials

  • SIM Card (Orange) - 20 Euros.
    The website is in French so really difficult to navigate. I bought it from the store. Remember to bring your passport or ID to register for it.

  • Metro, RER and Bus Unlimited Pass for Zone 1 to 3, 2 days - 18 Euros.
    It can be easily purchased at any train stations. It is not base on 24 hours of usage but rather the day that you use the pass. So plan wisely! This pass is really good if you are hitting alot of spots

  • Maps - Free.
    When purchasing your unlimited pass, there are maps on the counter, remember to grab the pocket ones. Super important!

  • Alternative transport - Velib
    I have not tried this before and only found out about it when I was in Paris. I am more of a walk and take photos person.

  • Paris Pass - Find out more here
    I didn't buy this as I was not planning on entering so many museums and found it more cost effective if I pay separately.
  • Tips on surviving

    1. Avoid using phone near entrance of MRT. Just check out the youtube video regarding this.

    2. There are quite a few popular scams in Paris that is prevalent in the tourist-y areas. The gypsy bracelets, signing of unknown document, flower men etc. Click here to find out more.

    3. Split your money into different sources.

    When I was there, Paris was in high alert due to the Brussels bombing and there were a lot of policemen station all around. But still these scam artists can be seen all around the tourist-y areas.

    View from Montparnasse Tower   D800, 35mm, f4, ISO 1600, 1/25s

    View from Montparnasse Tower

    D800, 35mm, f4, ISO 1600, 1/25s

    Tips for Montparness Tower

    1. Check the sunset timings.

    2. It provides a 360 degree view of Paris but the picture above is my preferred view during Sunset. If you are here earlier, you could capture quite a spectacular view of Paris from alternative angles.

    3. Anything wider than 35mm will cut into this parapet right in front of the glass.

    4. A tight shot will provide an alternative view too. I would strongly advise to use a 70-200mm.

    5. Tripod friendly location but difficult to setup. The whole place is surrounded by panels of glass. Top glass and bottom glass with a gap between them. As you can see in my stated EXIF, ISO was rather high as I handheld and squeezed my DSLR through the gap. Gap is about 60-80cm so DSLR and most cameras can fit through easily. The gap is at 1.7m so your tripod must be able to extend till that height. Advice would be to use gorilla pod or clamps.

    6. There is this special lighting that is particularly visible in the night. Every evening, the Eiffel Tower is adorned with its golden covering and sparkles for 5 minutes every hour on the hour, while its beacon shines over Paris. I strongly suggest videoing this as the photo of this special light cannot be properly captured.

    7. Sunset, blue hour and night shot. So this location can provide 3 great photos.

    8. Price is 15 Euros

    9. Location is at Montparnasse-Bienvenüe Metro Station

    I will be providing more info of other locations in Paris as well as a map of everything in my next post of Paris.

    Fiasco about wedding photography

    Many should have heard of the recent fiasco regarding the bad wedding photos shared by Jaclyn Ying on her Facebook which has over 20k shares (at this point of writing). It gained the media attention and garnered comments from many blogs. This recent incident sheds a huge truth about the wedding industry which I struggle to tell many. I struggle because any of my comments would appear as selling my services. Anyway, here are some of my thoughts and experience which should serve as a good caution for couples paying for wedding packages. 

    Let's get some facts of the story:

    • 3k or so for the whole wedding package - gowns, AD wedding photography and makeup services
    • $350 was paid to the AD photographer

    I have always believe that there are different tier of clients and do not judge people who use budget photographers. Getting married involves spending a bomb and I am pretty sure not everyone can afford expensive photographers. More importantly, clients' expectations should be matched properly to their budget. In this case, fault lies with the studio for misleading the couple into thinking that they will get good wedding photos from their "talent pool". 

    Always go to different studio to compare the prices and package before signing up. If something seems too good to be true, then it most probably will screw up. Be skeptical and ask loads of questions. One good way to figure out what you are paying for...learn the ala carte pricing of the different items. How much does a make-up session cost? How much does gown/suit rental cost? All these pricing are transparent on the internet and could help to ascertain the true value of the package vs savings.  

    The start of a new beginning!

    Phuket Pre-wedding


    Today marks my last day with The Asian Banker. Saying goodbye was difficult as the people whom I have worked with have slowly become my family. I am blessed with an extraordinary boss who provided me with opportunities to explore and learn..

    I have decided to be a full-time wedding photographer, a decision I have been struggling with every day as I refuse to face the truth. For the past 2 years, I have been shooting weddings. I’m not really sure how many I have shot, at one point of time I just stopped counting. My style has slowly evolved to be more focused on capturing the emotions between the couple and their relationship. Every wedding always leaves me moved, touched and feeling stronger for being part of something so intimate. I am honoured to be responsible for capturing those memories for them to remember and cherish.

    When I first started in 2013, my goal was to photograph 10 weddings that year. I exceeded that goal and now I don’t have such goals anymore. I find it meaningless as I’m not doing this for the money nor to become famous. I genuinely don't care about winning awards or to be listed in magazines and publications. There’s already too much comparison in this industry. I’m hoping that instead of following the norm, my photography will help make a change in the world, no matter how big or small, to make a positive difference in the people I photograph.