When I look back at trips Rick and I have taken together, my camera roll features hundreds of gorgeous photos of my dashing husband galavanting around Irish castles and Hawaiian waterfalls. Looking like a stone cold, foxy Instagram hunk, as he does. Flytographer
Then there are the three photos of me: one sleeping with my mouth open on public transportation, one scowling and one chewing.
I don’t have to tell you, friends, this is not ideal in my line of work.
Why Hire Flytographer?
There’s just something about having someone else direct you, angle your face toward the light and snap the right photo at the right time. When you travel as a duo, you rely on each other to capture the memories. When I travel with Rachel, I can always count on quality images of me. She’s an Instagrammer, too. She sees what I see. She knows what I’m going for.
When I travel with Rick, he snaps gorgeous landscapes with interesting composition and color. But the pics of me/us? Well, you be the judge.
Either we look cute and Stonehenge is obliterated or we look like dopes and you can see the whole Roman Bath. Whether your co-captain is a professional photographer or not, it’s just not that easy to get great pictures together. A tripod is great in a pinch, but it can only get you so far. Plus, I hate carting mine and I’m always nervous walking away from my camera in busy areas. I am not a fast runner, so if a thief decided to grab my gear and go, I’d have a problem.
And yes… you can always ask a stranger to snap a photo, but I find they have very little patience for quality photos. Have you ever had your photo taken by a stranger and just wondered what in the world they could possibly be thinking? Why your head is chopped off or why they didn’t even bother to capture the Eiffel Tower when that’s so clearly the reason you’re taking the pic?! And why don’t they ever take more than one?
Maybe it’s my fault. I have a knack for selecting folks who’ve never used an iPhone before.
PIN ME FOR LATER
Flytographer in London
London is one of my top three cities in the world to visit – and I’m not someone who picks travel favorites easily! Rick had never been so I PAINSTAKINGLY crafted the perfect itinerary for the two of us, criss-crossing the city for adventure activities and a couple millennia worth of history lessons. To commemorate our James Bond-style week, I wanted a souvenir that would outshine all the Union Jack pajamas, socks and coffee mugs I already have. (You do not want to know how much money I spent on Anglo tchotchkes my first trip to London in 1998!)
But what is the very best souvenir? Jewelry, a quirky T-shirt, a tea towel with the Queen’s face? I was after a real treasure, not a plastic mold of the Crown Jewels. Something that would last and remind us of this special trip for years to come.
Cue Flytographer, a travel photography service available in nearly 200 cities in more than 60 countries. In 2013, Nicole Smith founded Flytographer to serve travelers who wanted to make real and lasting memories on the road. Since then, the company has been featured by The New York Times and Conde Nast Traveler as a top travel pick. I’ve wanted to check them out for years, and London seemed like the perfect place to do it!
Booking your Flytographer
If you’ve ever planned a big media event or even just a personal shoot for a special occasion, then you know how tough it can be to find a trustworthy photographer. I know I spend hours online searching, reading reviews, trying to sort the wheat from the chaff. It’s exhausting.
The Flytographer experience was nothing like that. Booking the shoot was as easy as flipping through portfolios of Flytographer’s London-based photographers and choosing one whose style we liked.
The Flytographer Session
Our shoot was one of the most fun things we did all week in London. We met our chosen photographer Jimmy outside the Mayor of London’s office just as the rain was letting up. We were sweating the weather but it turned out absolutely perfect. We couldn’t have timed it better if we tried! The wet streets and crisp air made our photos even better than anticipated.
What I particularly loved about our experience was that it served as both a tour and a photo shoot. As we moved from spot to spot, Jimmy told us about the history of Shad Thames and the river-based commerce that developed here over the centuries. I’d just been telling Rick about mudlarking, the London equivalent of beachcombing. Because the mud in the river lacks oxygen, it preserves whatever gets dropped in, so it’s an archaeological wonderland and a real life treasure hunt.
Mudlarking used to be a free for all, but now you have to have a license — so I didn’t get to go sifting for Roman coins or Victorian silverware. But we did get close.
“How adventurous are you guys?” Jimmy asked.
Ha! You know us. We are explorers, always starting with a certified Angie plan that morphs into Grade A Rick rabbit hole situation.
“We’re up for anything!”
Jimmy lead us to an algae-covered staircase down to the riverbed, which fortunately for us, was at super low tide. Did you know the Thames fluctuates around 23 feet from low tide to high tide? It’s a huge difference, and remarkable to see the riverbank appear and disappear again and again.
I will say that navigating the slippery wet rocks in fancy shoes was not the easiest thing I’ve ever done, but my Walking Company platforms are actually pretty sturdy so I made it work. We got some of our best photos from this vantage point and it remains high on my list of favorite moments in London ever. One of my favorite things about London is the layers of history, so even though I didn’t officially mudlark, it was fun to think about who else might’ve stood where I stood.
The Final Product
I half expected to wait weeks for our photos, but we had the whole digital album on the train out to the Cotswolds, long before we’d even returned home from our trip. When does that ever happen?!
Flytographer was the easiest thing we did all week. Jimmy was a gem, the booking process was a piece of cake and our photos are exactly what I envisioned. We haven’t chosen any yet for framing, but only because there are so many that we love. Even Rick, who is as thrilled with professional photo shoots as you can imagine, approves. And he’s a tough sell.
How Much Does a Flytographer Session Cost?
You can book anywhere from 30 minutes and one location for around $250 to two hours with multiple locations for $650. For reference, we booked Jimmy for the hour session for $350, which includes 30 photos (we ended up with more!) and 1-2 locations. A perfect fit for the two of us. With kids or a group, I’d choose 90+ minutes or so just to make sure there’s enough time. And if you book a session this February, you’ll save $50!
You can also book surprise proposal shoots! I think if you’re planning to propose somewhere fancy, it’s a must.
Who is Flytographer for?
Flytographer is not just for smoochy, romantic couples photography, though I mean… smoochy photos with your sweetheart are pretty fab. But a Flytographer session is also good for solo travelers for obvious reasons. What I wouldn’t give to go back to some of the destinations I visited on my RTW trip in 2011/2012! Cairo, Marrakech and Amman would’ve been so, so fantastic.
Flytographer is also a great way to celebrate a special occasion, like an anniversary, graduation or family reunion. There’s a really good chance I’ll be Flytograph-ing again in the near future. As a matter of fact, we are returning to The Bahamas next month and Flytographer is there, too!