I’ve had my eye on Porto and its lyrical architectural sights for some time now, which for me always translates into an acute desire to leave with photographic memories. And Porto was a city I knew I wanted to immortalize with more than quick Instagram snaps of pretty buildings; I wanted to immortalize myself experiencing it. There is poetry to be discovered in every nook and cranny of Portugal’s second largest city and turning to Flytographer was the best way to capture this.
What is Flytographer? Providing an on-location vacation photographer in 175 cities worldwide, Flytographer captures your vacation memories (be it a romantic weekend, a proposal, a friends’ getaway, or solo travel, as it was for me) with flattering, candid photos that you could never take yourself.
A concept that embodies everything I love the most, my experience shooting through the narrow alleyways of Ribeira, overlooking the Douro River, was nothing short than stellar. Weather didn’t play along, as we had clouds throughout the entire session, but this made me appreciate the end results all the more. I’ve posed in many shoots in my life, mostly fashion, rather than travel inspired, and I was happy to see Flytographer abides to the same steps, in a very clear, concise, stress-free manner, coordinated by a Shoot Congierge.
To book a Flytographer session is easy. You select your destination, and photographer (some smaller cities only have one or two photographers), after which you finalize all details (location, time, style, contact details) with the Shoot Concierge. While coming up with your own suggestions for location, time of day and theme, all these elements are open to discussion and change before your shoot. Once I booked my session for Porto, the photographer was quickly confirmed and discussions ensued.
I did my research and suggested Ribeira as my preferred location, with specifications of which type of shots I’m looking for (doors, azulejos, landscape shots overlooking the Douro River, and the Dom Luís I Bridge) as well as style suggestions, with links, from my previous city shoots. Once all these details were confirmed (at least, in broad strokes), I received a Shoot Scoop, which is essentially a summary of the upcoming shoot.
TIP: It’s important to note one needs to do their homework. A photographer is not a magician, guessing what you’d like your vacation photos to look like. You need to put in the effort (research!) and work together.
What I appreciated the most was the communication aspect once I landed in Porto, a day prior to the session. Except for some scarce rays on sunshine, I arrived to constant rain which lasted throughout my 4-day stay, at which point my photographer suggested we change the time from a sunset shoot (goodbye golden hour) to a late afternoon one. In fact, the weather was so unpredictable, we had to change the time twice. Despite my disappointment in no good lighting, it gave me the impression my photographer was standing by essentially, ready to meet me whenever it suited me best. This was an exceptional case, of course, but as a client, who doesn’t love such flexibility? I was reassured it will somehow turn out OK, and it felt good to be in touch, given I was in new territory here, barely a day in.
As for my photographer, I had two (lucky me!). A lovely couple, Ivo & Vanessa, which right off the bat felt like my two best friends living abroad. I’m not new at planning shoots, coming up with locations, best time for light, or general art direction, but having not one, but two photographers work in tandem, each covering a different angle, was an unexpected privilege to have. One would take portraits, the other, the wider shots. It was really fun to see the playful competition they had with each other for best shots, which quite frankly, was to my heart’s content. We checked all the spots we wanted to, and had a really great time. I even got tips from where to best purchase travel-size Port wine (which I did). Isn’t local advice the best there is?!
Despite the far from spring-like temperatures (10ºC = 50ºF), my lingerie inspired lace top photographed extremely well against Porto’s weathered porticoes and azulejos facades. I won’t lie, I was cold. However in between takes, I’d put a light jacket on that was strapped to the camera bag when not in use (thanks Ivo & Vanessa), and warm up until the next shot came. I was determined to stay true to my vision of romance of Porto’s medieval streets, one that was far away from donning rain boots and an umbrella. It was worth it.
Following the shoot, the turnaround was impressively quick: 4 days, one day less than announced! But even sooner than that, I received a Postcard Teaser, which got me even more excited.
To my delight, I received more photos than expected, an added bonus! There are so many more shots I could share, from different points or angles, different in their own way – the variety is great.
I highly recommend Flytographer, whether you’re comfortable or not in front of a camera. It’s up to you how casual, silly or posy you want to be. I signed up for the Flytographer Ambassador Program. Click here and use the code #FLYFAN to receive a $25 USD credit (and so will I).
Flytographer offers 30, 60 and 90-minute photo shoots, as well as longer or custom shoot requests. Sessions start at $250. Booking at least one week in advance is recommended. I was a guest of Flytographer, however all opinions are mine.