This article originally appeared in the April 2015 issue of Dream of Italy. Updated 2019.
Remember that perfect afternoon in Venice? Yes, that afternoon — the one where the sun shone just so on the water, your hair was perfect, and you held the world’s most delicious Bellini in your hand… Ah, memories. Don’t you wish you had a great photo?
Even in this age of the ubiquitous “selfie,” many of us forget to take photos, or take ones so quickly, with such little attention, we miss getting money shots. We wind up back home with various mementoes when the best souvenir would simply be some gorgeous images of ourselves actually in situ.
Enter Flytographer, a new service that connects you with onsite professional photographers in over 130 cities around the world, and currently Rome, Florence, Tuscany, Bologna, Venice, Lake Como, Milan and the Amalfi Coast in Italy. Flytographer (its slogan is “Capture Your Souvenir”) offers four packages.
The Short Storyteller is a 30-minute shoot for $250 that includes one location and 15 digital photos. The Subtle Chronicler, $350, is 60 minutes, one or two locations, and 30 digital photos. The Classic Souvenir is $500 for 90 minutes, two locations, and 45 digital photos. A Romp Around the City is $650 for two hours and 60 photos. (Dream of Italy members receive a 10% discount.)
Perhaps the best comment on and reason to use Flytographer comes from a customer, Elizabeth, who said of her family’s Florence-based shoot: “I am always the one behind the lens on our trips, so am rarely in a decent photo with the entire family. As we walked, hand in hand, through the cobblestone streets of Florence, I was happy knowing that these moments would be captured forever.”
The contracted photographers get high marks, too, with users saying that they were instantly put at ease; one woman said her photographer in Milan acted as a sort of local guide, pointing out attractions and giving insider tips that she might never otherwise have known.
Flytographer, in other words, isn’t about glamor shots or paparazzi; it’s about your particular trip and experience. You wear what you want to wear, and you can have your hair and makeup done to a “T,” or just be photographed with bedhead and a scrubbed face.
Of course, you could find a local photographer on your own — but Flytographer takes care of that work for you. So many of us reserve the idea of hiring a professional photographer for life’s big occasions, like weddings — but when you manage to bring the whole family to Italy for the first time, that’s a pretty big occasion, too.
Clients have used Flytographer in Rome for a mother-daughter trip, in Venice for a “babymoon” and a wedding anniversary at Lake Como. Wedding proposal shoots have been in such demand that the company offers a special set of packages just for brides and grooms. You can view portfolios of the company’s photographers online. In some cities, there are quite a few to choose from, while in other regions (e.g., the Amalfi Coast) there is just one.
Nicole Smith, the Victoria, Canada-based founder of Flytographer, says that she conceived of the business while on a trip in Paris with her best friend. “We tried selfies, we tried getting strangers to take our pictures, but they were all stiff and blurry. I realized that we wanted some great photos to celebrate our relationship — for many women, girlfriends last longer than husbands!”
Smith laughs, and notes that in her case, it’s true, as she is a divorced single mother — and that’s why “girlfriend getaways and mother-daughter shoots are my favorites. But for all of our shoots, the sense of place as a third character in the photos is what makes them unforgettable.”
Another Flytographer client, SuAnn, said of her Venice shoot with her husband, that the photos recaptured the “warmth, happiness, surprise, and love” that she felt during her trip. If that’s not the purpose of a souvenir, we don’t know what is. For more information, call (888) 211-7178 or visit www.flytographer.com.