FRANCE PARIS PHOTOGRAPHY

Versailles Photo Diary (with Photography tips!)

Brooke Saward | Versailles Palace
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When I first visited Versailles some five years ago on my first (ever) solo trip overseas, I arrived in mid-January to a chilling -3 degrees, lifeless and almost gloomy Palace of Versailles. Though I still fell in love with Versailles (who could not!?), I was disappointed not to be able to walk in the grounds and experience the gardens, which are as much an attraction as the interior of the palace itself.

But alas, rewards come to those who wait!

Five years later and I recently found myself on a trip to Versailles with fellow Australian Lisa (The Wandering Lens), on a photographic journey with our sponsor Olympus Australia. For years I have been using Olympus cameras and for years I have been fumbling around the camera’s settings like a kid in a candy store, discovering new ways to photograph better as I keep travelling the world. But when I was offered the chance to meet Lisa, a trained photographer with decades of experience, I couldn’t say no!

A Day Trip to Versailles | World of Wanderlust A Day Trip to Versailles | World of Wanderlust

Shooting Indoors vs Shooting Ourdoors

As someone who once shot on “auto mode” (alas, not for the last few years) I feel it is my duty to share some super duper basics when shooting with your camera. Manual mode provides a much higher degree of freedom and creativity, so don’t be scared to give it a go!

For shooting indoors, Lisa suggests a general rule of thumb: ISO at 800-1600 for interiors and 100-400 for bright sunlight (on my Olympus OMD EM5 Mark II I use the “Low” setting).

A Day Trip to Versailles | World of Wanderlust A Day Trip to Versailles | World of Wanderlust A Day Trip to Versailles | World of Wanderlust

How to Bring out Gold Tones

Walking around the Palace I noticed so many beautiful dashes of gold and rich colouring that I wanted to make sure I captured in my photos. I asked Lisa what editing program she uses, to which I was delighted to learn we both use Lightroom! Being a pro, Lisa is also accustomed to Photo Shop, though with lack of time and knowledge I think I’ll stick to small tweaks in Lightroom and if you’re just starting out, I would recommend doing the same.

A minor but useful tip Lisa offered on this subject was to alter my white balance to cloudy, which noticeably brings out the gold tones and warms up the image without the need to edit afterwards.

A Day Trip to Versailles | World of Wanderlust A Day Trip to Versailles | World of Wanderlust A Day Trip to Versailles | World of Wanderlust A Day Trip to Versailles | World of Wanderlust A Day Trip to Versailles | World of Wanderlust A Day Trip to Versailles | World of Wanderlust A Day Trip to Versailles | World of Wanderlust A Day Trip to Versailles | World of Wanderlust A Day Trip to Versailles | World of Wanderlust A Day Trip to Versailles | World of Wanderlust A Day Trip to Versailles | World of Wanderlust A Day Trip to Versailles | World of Wanderlust A Day Trip to Versailles | World of Wanderlust A Day Trip to Versailles | World of Wanderlust A Day Trip to Versailles | World of Wanderlust

Shooting Close Up Subjects

Although both of us use mostly the 12-40mm lens when travelling (its a great all-round lens for every occasion), I recently received the 25mm pro lens to try out and I’ve gotta say… I’m hooked! The 25mm is great for shooting subjects up close (like pastries – I tend to gravitate towards those things) and items like flowers or shooting bokeh effect (blurring out the subjects out of focus).

A Day Trip to Versailles | World of Wanderlust A Day Trip to Versailles | World of Wanderlust A Day Trip to Versailles | World of Wanderlust

Shooting Outdoors

As soon as we made our way to the gardens I flicked my ISO back to “Low” (or the lowest setting on your camera) and let the natural light work its magic. You can also use the front dial on the OMD EM5 Mark II to brighten or darken the image, choosing how much light the lens will let in.

Although I’ve heard many photographers say it is better to shoot the image darker and bright it up in post-processing, Lisa insists it is better to photograph in “the right light”. This was especially important for me as I don’t shoot on RAW images, which still surprises most people but hey, if you can publish a book in pure JPEGs you can do anything!

A Day Trip to Versailles | World of Wanderlust A Day Trip to Versailles | World of Wanderlust A Day Trip to Versailles | World of Wanderlust A Day Trip to Versailles | World of Wanderlust A Day Trip to Versailles | World of Wanderlust A Day Trip to Versailles | World of Wanderlust

How to Photograph Sunstars

Another handy little trick Lisa pointed out was how to shoot sun stars – capturing the light between the trees and creating a little natural magic!

To shoot sun stars all you need to do is raise your “F stop” to 14 or higherΒ and find the light. Be sure to stand really still!

A Day Trip to Versailles | World of Wanderlust A Day Trip to Versailles | World of Wanderlust A Day Trip to Versailles | World of Wanderlust A Day Trip to Versailles | World of Wanderlust A Day Trip to Versailles | World of Wanderlust

Camera Gear:

Thanks for dropping by! Interested in the camera gear I use?

I took all of the above images on my Olympus OMD EM5 Mark II. Most images are using my new 25mm PRO lens. Some of the landscape shots were taken with my 12-40mm PRO lens.

I edit my photos with lightroom.

You can find more of my photography tips and tricks here.

Please leave any questions or lovely comments below – I would love to answer any Q’s!

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  • Jenni.carlton24@gmail.com'
    Jenni
    June 28, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    I love your photo diaries! This one was a real treat with some photography tips in there too.

  • natalieannredman92@gmail.com'
    Natalie Ann Redman
    June 27, 2017 at 10:32 pm

    Great tips! Gorgeous photography.

  • zhanna.seravokaya@gmail.com'
    Zhanna
    June 26, 2017 at 9:21 am

    Amazing pictures and great tips. I am still using auto mode quite a lot. Its time to change it. Your tips will come in handy

  • kcolesworthy@gmail.com'
    Casey
    June 24, 2017 at 8:12 am

    I like the advice on the ISO and raising the F-stop for the sun stars – great tip! I also was wondering about changing ISO versus shutter speed and aperture. Recently, I’ve been leaving my ISO alone and changing the shutter speed but maybe I need to start playing around with it more. Just wondering if you have any additional thoughts or comments on that. Beautiful pictures. πŸ™‚

  • marty.corradetti@gmail.com'
    Martina Corradetti
    June 20, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    Wow! that really was a great reportage!
    I’ve been there when I just was 13 years old & I still remember every single room!

  • cgrahmann@hotmail.com'
    Caroline
    June 20, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    I was just there last month, and my iPhone pictures don’t stand a chance against these beautiful shots! Thanks for the helpful tips as well – I need to experiment more with my Nikon DSLR because I am still shooting on auto…. (shameful, I know!)

  • tallgirlbigworld@gmail.com'
    Claire @ TallGirlBigWorld
    June 18, 2017 at 9:29 am

    I loved Versailles! I visited 2 years ago not knowing anything about the palace, and was stunned at how much there is to see in the gardens. When I go back, I’ll definitely allow for a full day to take everything in. The English farm in the back was my favorite because it was so unexpected. Lovely photos, as always! I always set my camera to auto, but this has inspired me to get out of my comfort zone!
    -Claire
    tallgirlbigworld.com

  • dreamofadventures@gmail.com'
    the adventurer
    June 17, 2017 at 4:53 am

    Great tips! Especially the indoor/outdoor tips =o) I will think about the ISO more now

  • dianamariablogger@gmail.com'
    Diana
    June 16, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    These photos are so stunning! I was in awe the entire time I explored Versailles solo as well. The gardens were never ending and so beautiful, such a historic place! xx

  • sofie@citygidsen.nl'
    Sofie
    June 15, 2017 at 10:48 pm

    Woow, this is really something i need to do before i get into my 40’s … do i have only a few weeks πŸ™‚ perfect excuse to visit paris ones again

  • rtrittel@yahoo.com'
    Rebecca
    June 15, 2017 at 12:51 am

    Very nice! I am travelling to Versailles in September and really appreciate your tips on photography. I’ll be sure to use them on my trip!

  • Petakaplam@hotmail.com'
    Peta Laplan
    June 14, 2017 at 9:09 pm

    Ahhh Versailles! I went there many years ago w my French lover – your photos did a terrific job of bringing back the memories and the romance.

    Surprising I know but I get terrific photos using an iPad! And for travel it is easy and a great way of starting up conversations by sharing images of a decent size!

    Peta

  • michael@mileinmyglasses.co.uk'
    Michael @ Mile in My Glasses
    June 14, 2017 at 5:46 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous photos Brooke! And thanks for the great tips!

    I hope you have a great Wednesday,
    Michael

  • lisa@fjordsandbeaches.com'
    Lisa // Fjords & Beaches
    June 14, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    Versailles is one of my favourite places, I absolutely love the palace! The photography tips are great, I just bought a new camera, so this couldn’t have come at a better time! πŸ™‚

  • ajourneytogreen@gmail.com'
    Meagan
    June 14, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    These pictures are absolutely beautiful!

  • marj@parischicstyle.com'
    Paris Chic Style
    June 14, 2017 at 10:31 am

    I miss France after reading this post. The photos came out very nice with perfect natural lightings in combination with your lenses and ISO settings. Do you mostly focus on ISO, what about your shutter speed and aperture? I usually shoot with a manual setting in conjunction with the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO settings. This, of course, involves different lighting conditions. Oh, the 25mm you used was great, too! I find that any prime lenses are the best to use whether it’s for fashion or travel. The photos that are usually taken with prime lenses always come out sharp with the best depth of field. I’m currently obsessed with my 40mm Samsung lens and my 50mm Canon lens (prime lenses). Have a great week! πŸ˜‰

    With β™₯ From Marj At,

  • ANDREINA@COLLECTINGMOMENTS.ME'
    Andreina
    June 14, 2017 at 7:37 am

    Great post! Photos are incredible and love the tips. I’m slowly starting to experiment with my photos and this servers as a great little guide.