Hello, friends! Earlier this summer, I had the incredible opportunity to travel to one of the most beautiful cities in the world. While I was there, my creativity was renewed. I was inspired. My soul was reignited. It was the most refreshing experience to be surrounded by all of the rich culture and history of Paris and some pretty amazing creatives, as well. In February, my friend Julie asked if I’d be interested in traveling to Paris with a few other photographers for a week-long retreat of shooting, exploring, and getting lost in the city. Nervously, I said YES and the rest is history!

The first time I visited Paris in 2010, I was there for two days during a study abroad program. We were given 48 hours to see as much as we could, and that is a very tall order. Needless to say, it was an overwhelming time, and frustrating to say the least. There I was, 21 years old, no smartphone (they weren’t a thing yet!), no knowledge of the French language, not much money left, trying to navigate the huge city of Paris with a handful of other students my age. I remember thinking, “Wow. I’ve wanted to come to Paris my whole life. And I don’t really like it!” It was dirty. The people were rude. It was HOT and our super sketchy hotel had no air conditioning. The food was too expensive. I was ready to get out of there almost as soon as we arrived!

I wasn’t sure I’d ever want to give Paris another chance after that trip. (Don’t worry, I had wonderful experiences in the other countries I visited in 2010 – France was the exception!) But in my heart, I really wanted to. And I’ve been itching to go back overseas with my camera, now that I’m a seasoned photographer and no longer just a college kid with a cheap point-and-shoot!

One of the ways I challenged myself and really opened up my creativity in Paris was shooting film. (I think I shot around 20 rolls while I was there!) Film was a new addition for me at the end of last year, and it’s something I’ve been pushing myself to do more and more of each time I shoot. I can’t always explain why I love film so much, but I do. It helps keep photography an art form for me and is SO beautiful. Shooting film in Paris was everything I wanted it to be, and I’m so happy to say that 85% of the photos I took in Paris were shot with my film camera. Most days, my digital stayed in the apartment!

While in Paris, I had the privilege of meeting and photographing Alyssa and Kevin, who you’ll see below. They’re engagement shoot in front of the Eiffel Tower was such a dream. (Not to mention, THEY are such a dream! Not only are they GORGEOUS, but they are the sweetest and kindest people, and so fun to be around!) We all woke up super early one clear morning and met at the Trocadero at about 6:15 for their session. It’s so important to start EARLY in the morning if you want to shoot in Paris with the least amount of people around. Once the crowds of tourists start rolling in, it’s nearly impossible to get a clear shot of anything. I’m no morning person. But it’s worth missing sleep for the views you’ll get during a Paris sunrise!

You know how it feels to dream about something for so long and finally get to see it come to fruition? And it ends up being everything you envisioned and more? Yeah, that’s what this shoot (and this whole trip!) was for me. The iconic twirling shot in front of the Eiffel Tower, the pigeons scattering in the background, the city waking up in the distance–it was all there. And I’m excited to share it all with you! Here are just a few of my favorite images from our Eiffel Tower engagement session at the Trocadero in Paris, France. Enjoy!

 

Paris Engagement Session

Paris Engagement Session

Paris Engagement Session

Paris Engagement Session

Paris Engagement Session

Paris Engagement Session

Paris Engagement Session

Paris Engagement Session

It’s also important to mention that this shoot almost didn’t happen. Paris received a lot of rain the week of our retreat, and the morning we were scheduled to shoot at the Eiffel was one of those days. We were all really bummed. But, miraculously, everything fell into place later in the week, and we had the most PERFECT morning of shooting at the Trocadero!

Paris Engagement Session

Paris Engagement Session

Paris Engagement Session

Paris Engagement Session

Paris Engagement Session

Paris Engagement Session

Paris Engagement Session

Paris Engagement Session

Paris Engagement Session

The way Kevin and Alyssa look at each other just makes me swoon. Not to mention the combination of colors throughout this session– everything was so romantic and, well, SO Paris!

Paris Engagement Session

Paris Engagement Session

Paris Engagement Session

Paris Engagement Session

Paris Engagement Session

Paris Engagement Session

The pigeons at the Trocadero can be a little unsettling, even though they make for great pictures. But when they fly around, you just have to cross your fingers and hope nothing lands on your head!

Paris Engagement Session

This is one of my all-time favorites.

Paris Engagement Session

Paris Engagement Session

Julie’s offer was such a huge blessing that continues to unfold. I arrived to Paris on June 2, though unfortunately, my checked luggage did not. Luckily, I was surrounded by a group of amazing, kind, and generous women who were so quick to lend me extra clothes, toiletries, and even make up until my suitcase arrived! (This experience could have easily done me in for my second trip to Paris, but I didn’t let it!) The other photographers and creative team we shot with were seriously THE BEST and I can’t imagine any other group of women I would have wanted to explore Paris with. We had so much fun and made so many great memories. I showed up to an apartment full of strangers and left with a tribe of friends and encouragers.

Mekina Saylor Photography

Left to right: Kelli Wellman, Millie Hayes, Heather Benge, Kate Chesnut, Alisha Crossley, Katie Bell, Alyssa Poland, Mekina Saylor, Julie Paisley, Emily Tucker, Tanya McSween

 

Dress: Doux and Delicate

Suit: Generation Tux

Hair & Make Up: Emily Artistry

Jewelry: Olive Avenue

Film Lab: The FIND Lab

 

 

  1. Jen

    August 27th, 2019 at 12:35 am

    Oh Millie!!!! These are gorgeous and how lucky are you to shoot in Paris??? Love it!

  2. Millie Hayes

    August 27th, 2019 at 12:36 am

    I am still pinching myself! Thank you so much!

  3. Mandy

    August 27th, 2019 at 6:02 am

    What a fabulous experience Millie. These are absolutely gorgeous!! LOVE her dress.

  4. Millie Hayes

    August 27th, 2019 at 10:26 pm

    Thank you! And yes, her dream is a dream in itself!!

  5. Tania

    August 27th, 2019 at 11:01 pm

    Elegant! Jaw dropping and just stunning!! Love all the images!!

  6. Millie Hayes

    August 27th, 2019 at 11:06 pm

    Thank you so, so much!

comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *