A few months back, I stumbled upon Flytographer, whilst frantically searching for destination photography services. I had realised Dr C and I have no decent couple photos despite having quite literally travelled the world together for well over 10 years.
Avid travellers will feel my pain, when I say that we have many solo holiday photos but when it comes to a good one together, they’re more often than not blurred, have a limb or two missing or on some occasions missing the main attraction itself, leaving no option but to delete the masses on our return. It all starts off in good faith when we’ve taken up the kind offer of strangers who have felt the obligation to reciprocate a photo opportunity! Additionally, if we were totally honest, neither Dr C nor I have mastered the art of selfies either-and yes I’m sure my younger readers will simply not get that!
Our 2017 anniversary getaway destination this year was to be the Italian city of Florence and a prior visit over 20 years ago made me think this could be the perfect backdrop for some professional photographs of Dr C and I…
HOW DOES FLYTOGRAPHER WORK?
A story, not too dissimilar to our photo experiences inspired the concept of Flytographer. I’ll leave you to catch up on that one on your own, after all regular readers know how much I love a good inspiring story! The reason why the story resonates with me is that they aim to help travellers see authentic experiences, which is what Be-lavie primarily focusses on and not being one who ever purchases souvenirs on my travels, I would agree that capturing memories really do make the best form of eternal souvenirs.
Flytographer whose HQ is based in Victoria, (British Columbia), Canada, started out in 2013 and has some pretty impressive stats to put to its name. There are currently over 400 photographers capturing memories in more than 200 cities around the world equating to 10,000 happy travellers.
Booking with Flytographer is pretty easy. Being my first time I actually enquired about the service and had the pleasure of talking to one of the shoot concierges, Caitlin Ing. All you really need to pick is a destination and date and go through the self-explanatory instructions on their website and a shoot concierge will be in touch quite promptly. That’s really it. You don’t need to worry about anything else!
Once you’ve selected your destination, there is quite a varied choice of photographers that you can choose from for your city, this was the bit I thought would be quite difficult to agree on for Dr C and I however it turned out to be a unanimous decision!
I’m sure regular readers are going to find this hard to believe, (especially as I have grown up with photography being a huge part of my family life) but I have a certain awkwardness in front of the camera. This is what makes me nervous time and time again when the word photo is mentioned, so it was really important to get the right photographer. We made our selection by going through the Flytographer profiles and scoping through examples of their work and additionally their personal websites to get a feeling of their style and personality. Our aim was to get some natural, fun, romantic (but not cheesy! We don’t do Public Displays of Affection!) but non-intrusive photographs.
We had chosen a black-tie and cocktail dress theme, purposefully wanting the final result to be a bit more special from our daily relaxed smart-casual look. We hoped to capture a timeless elegance, which blended in perfectly with the surroundings but still let our personalities shine through. There was only one man for the job in our opinions and therefore our photographer of choice was Alberto Sarrantonio.
THE SHOOT SCOOP
We’d picked our date, our location, confirmed availability of our photographer of choice, and noted our shoot goals. All this is documented in a concise handy email called ‘The Shoot Scoop’. No more needed to be done until the day of the shoot!
THE PHOTO SHOOT
I’m going to be honest and say Dr C and I both felt a little awkward, well in actual fact he seemed to relax a lot more than I did. I felt really really awkward, in a slightly out of character way! So, this is supposed to be a natural kind of thing, having couple photos with your other half in a beautiful city…BUT with people looking at you in curiosity, I might even go as far as saying staring and proceeding to take snaps of you themselves, you really do have to co-operate with the direction from your photographer pretty fast and make the best of the time you have available.
I’ve given presentations at international conferences before in front of hundreds of people but I just couldn’t fathom why I was so phased by people gazing at me. Maybe in our case, it was because we were so dressed up, that drew attention but I have to say I was so appreciative of Alberto’s personality at this point and he kept the jokes flowing throughout! His experience genuinely shone through as he had a natural flair for creating a comfortable impression without forcing any kind of stubborn posing and remained totally focussed at all times, even if I wasn’t! Thinking back I only ever really got totally into the session in the last maybe 10 minutes (if you book a 30 minute shoot, you may want to think about this!). Well they say the camera never lies so you’ll shortly be seeing the shots and be able make up your own minds!
I’ve got to admit, there were huge sighs of relief in the taxi back to the hotel as I contemplated a large strong drink but maybe I should have knocked one back before heading out!
RECEIVING YOUR IMAGES
4 days post shoot, we were emailed a postcard photo with an accompanying message explaining our photos were nearly ready. This is quite a nice touch in case you want to send a sneak peek to family and friends or even if you fancy uploading it to your social media channels.
Just as anticipated, on Day 5, I received an email from Flytographer with downloadable link to our Florence Photo Gallery and high resolution download of all the photos contained in the Florence Gallery.Here are a few of Dr C’s favourites for your perusal….
MY TOP TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL PHOTOSHOOT
- Communicate with your Photographer.
As they say communication is key. Speak to your photographer and don’t be shy to ask for what you want. After all you have paid for the session so make sure you use the photographer’s skills to your advantage and create beautiful and enduring memories. You will have the contact details of your photographer in the shoot scoop so feel free to get in touch.
- Leave yourself plenty of time to buff up
If you’re going for a theme as we did then leave yourself plenty of time to get ready. Ladies, you all know when you’re in a hurry, your make-up takes twice as long and that top-liner just doesn’t flick out right! We spent most of the day in Pisa and were exhausted on our return and then after an unexpected snooze, realised we could have dedicated more time to beautifying ourselves!
Dr C was frantically watching YouTube videos trying to decipher how to get the perfect bow in his tie and I managed to ladder my only pair of nude coloured tights so ended up with bare legs! Total schoolboy errors!
If you’re not going for a theme, the Flytographer shoot concierge will be able to advise you on what to wear, I believe co-ordinating without matching is the motto!
- No dinner lady arms or indecent sightings
This probably isn’t pertinent to all women out there but for some it may resonate with bad memories of seeing snaps of yourself, which aren’t quite flattering with the different angles, positions and lighting. Therefore I personally chose a dress with longer sleeves down to my elbows, made of an unrestrictive lace.
Also just to add, similarly a very short dress/skirt would not be the best of ideas, one, it may not age well (after all these photos are an eternal memory) and two, well I’m pretty sure even though my dress wasn’t that short, when I got my heel stuck in the wooden slats of the bench, someone may have had a flash of more than they had bargained for!
- Be prepared to get up close and personal
I am pretty sure that we can all flirt with our significant others, after all that’s how we got together right! Firstly lets just get one thing straight! Dr C and I don’t do public displays of affection. That means no snogging, no kissing, no stroking but maybe the occasional hand-holding! Now that’s not because we’re haphephobic but simply because that’s just not us. Everyone is different and we prefer to keep that kind of thing for more personal moments should we say!
When Alberto had Dr C leaning against a tree and asked me to ‘flirt’ with him, I think I nearly passed out! Flirt? What? I mean what does that even look like for me? After 10 years with Dr C, I’m asking myself how to flirt with him and then to add to matters, someone is photographing my every interface! I actually think I awkwardly leaned into him, put my hand on his jacket lepel and positioned one of my legs in-between his. Dr C reciprocated by placing his hand on my back and pulling me in. Now this is where I genuinely think we struck gold with Alberto, a good photographer would feel this through his lens and before we knew it this very surreal moment was over and we were back in our comfort zone. I hastened to add the photo actually didn’t look too bad!
- Knock back a drink.
Next time, and yes there will be a next time, I’ll be grabbing a drink before-hand and taking my own advice from the above to make the most of the ‘whole’ session!
I’m hoping you enjoyed my candid story of our very personal experience of destination photography. We broke our Flytographer cherry and I would definitely look to booking a shoot again for a special occasion or maybe even for a family holiday. The whole experience was made very fluid with the outstanding customer service we received from Flytographer from beginning to end but also we were very lucky in finding a Photographer that worked well with us. Infact, we bumped into Alberto on a couple of occasions after our shoot, and on reflection, what are the chances of that happening?!
You can find out more information or book a destination photoshoot through Flytographer. We opted for a 1 hour photo session, priced at $350 which included 30 digital images. Learn more about Alberto on his Flytographer profile.
Our shoot location: San Miniato Church Via delle Porte Sante, 34, Florence. Italy.
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and as always all views and opinions are my own
Have you ever considered or had a destination Photography shoot before? Would you consider one for a future holiday? I’d love to know, you know what to do below!
Until the next time…
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