01 Oct How to create unique photographs from the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France
Creating Unique Photographs from The Eiffel Tower – Paris, France
One of the most iconic towers in the world has to be the Eiffel tower in Paris. Rising up from next to the Seine, (Paris’ main river), it can be viewed from most parts of the city. Most photographers who come to Paris will be drawn to its mysterious beauty.
So, armed with cameras, like everyone else, we rushed up it to create interesting travel photographs from the Eiffel Tower and ……. STOP …. NO!
Another BOORING view from the Eiffel Tower
What do you mean NO?!
Let me explain. We did our homework and scoped out the tower on the day before we were due to go, and found that the best times would be sunset as that would give us both daylight, sunset and night photography opportunities. We chose our equipment for ultra-light travel so we wouldn’t get tired walking around. All good so far.
Well, once you get up the tower, (we went to the 2nd floor as it is supposed to have the best views of Paris), and have finished oohing and aahing at the view of the river you soon realise that you’re looking at a city from a 40-storey building. Yes this is romantic Paris and yes the river is beautiful, but photographs from the Eiffel Tower are still photographs from a 40-storey building. Most sunsets looks better from the ground with something in the foreground for perspective. See our post for tips on sunsets and creating dramatic skies.
So how do you create unique photographs from the Eiffel tower?
Like with our Paris graveyard post, we look for images that are different to the norm.
Start to look around for unique features that you can put in the foreground. We spotted the telescopes dotted around the viewing platform and used them as foreground details. This helped us with our images’ ‘story’. The telescopes are shiny metal, so are perfect for reflecting the sunset and sky. They are all about the view (which is why we came) and finally, despite being modern, they have a bit of a victorian mystery about them … a sort of Philip Pullman spyglass feel.
A different perspective with the reflected sunset
Photographing the Eiffel Tower itself
Look for interesting details in the Tower that everyone else takes for granted. Use all your skills with shape, symmetry and contrasting colours to create beautiful images. Ally was fascinated by the pulley wheels and created some extraordinary images with the symmetry of the 2 wheels using the yellow and blue colour to complement the image.
Walk down the stairs
The stairs between the 2nd and 1st floor are not as daunting a trek as it might first seem. Had we walked ‘up’ them, then we might not be as forgiving! Unfortunately the sides of the staircase have a thick grill around them so you can’t take photographs through it. The trick is to look in the corners. There are small gaps between the mesh that are just big enough for an average size lens. At certain levels you can look up and get extraordinary views of the Tower’s workings.
Look up inside the tower
On the first level there are interesting views to be had looking up inside the tower from the leg areas. Once again symmetry is your friend.
On the ground
When on the ground, find the centre of the tower and look up. The symmetrical view up the inside of the tower is quite spectacular. Nobody will look at you funny if you lie on your back to photograph this view!
Ally photographing up the tower
Enjoy the experience
When you go up the Tower start off by forgetting the photography side. Enjoy the experience, look at the magnificent views of the Seine and marvel at the incredible structure itself. After that start to think about your photography. Look for the lesser-photographed areas but above all enjoy your time.
It wouldn’t be right to write a blog article on photographing the Eiffel tower without mentioning the odd night photography law. In most of Europe there is a ‘freedom of panorama’ law that exists so one can photograph historic copyright protected artwork and buildings without any issues. There are a few exceptions, the Eiffel Tower’s light show being one of them. Now thousands of tourists photograph the tower every night and the SETE website says that for private use you do not need to contact them but beware if you are photographing for commercial reasons. You will need permission from them (and pay copyright fees).