A few months ago I heard from Judy and her daughter Mia. The pair were planning their first trip to Japan and wanted to take the opportunity to commission a portrait session for Mia. Judy wrote:
Hi Andy! I am currently planning a trip to Tokyo for this upcoming August. My teenage daughter Mia is interested in having a portrait photo shoot with you. We’ve reviewed your online portfolio and love your photography!
My daughter wants to know more about your "individual portrait session." She wants an urban vibe while wearing a flowing dress. We are totally open to your input and suggestions. You know best how to get great photos!
After speaking with Mia and Judy a bit more about their hopes for Mia's photography session, I surmised that Mia basically wanted some awesome senior portraits, photographs that would showcase her love for travel, her interest in artistic photography, and her willingness to try new things.
I proposed a shoot schedule that would give Mia and I the chance to really make some stellar images. We decided on a two hour session and would utilize the backstreets of Harajuku to incorporate the urban vibe that Mia's was after. The locations I selected would also give us some space from the hordes of tourists in nearby Shinjuku or Shibuya and we would stay far away from Takeshita street (the tourist-trap-lane that made Harajuku famous in the early nineties) so that Mia would feel a bit more comfortable throughout our session.
Mia and Judy loved the plan and we moved forward without a hitch. In the end, I was thrilled with what Mia and I created and I hope that the images will serve as a reminder of her first time in Japan and of this special time in her life.
Are you searching for a portrait photographer in Tokyo, throughout Japan, or beyond? If so, I would be honored to hear from you. Contact me today to learn more about my portrait session packages or to go ahead and reserve your session date.
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I met Carrie and Steve years ago when I was working at an international school in Japan. The Bennetts are a joy to be around. They have a great sense of humor and always seem to be in a good mood. The Bennett kids are spunky and full of life. They are those kinda people that you meet and immediately get along with.
This past spring Carrie reached out to see if the Bennetts could have a last minute family portrait session around Tama, a suburb in western Tokyo. Living in Tama is a good thing. The Bennetts are close enough to get to the city but still are far enough away from the neon glare for it to feel like they don't live in one of the world's largest cities. The Tama suburbs are where the megalopolis stops and Japan really begins. I love shooting in this area as the wabi-sabi nature of Japan comes through and the spaces aren't clogged with people and skyscrapers.
For a couple of hours, the Bennetts and I wandered the streets of Tama and even crossed into Chofu, a nearby ward of Tokyo. Since the Bennetts will soon be leaving Tokyo for other adventures, they wanted to make sure that their session focused on their neighborhood and the spots that they have frequented during their tenure in the Japanese capital.
We spent some time shooting in and around Tama station (where we were given a handslap for parking our bikes outside a local convenience store for too long) and atop the hills overlooking the Chofu airport.
To wrap up our session, we headed to Nogawa park where Tristan and Olivia had spent countless hours on the playground, riding bikes, and skipping across the lawns together as kids. Luckily, one of the Bennett's favorite sakura trees was still in bloom and we managed to capture one last family portrait of the Bennetts in Tokyo together.
I was happy to work with the Bennetts and was grateful to get the chance to photograph them before they leave Japan. In the end, I had a wonderful time with the Bennett family and couldn't have asked for a better day as a Tokyo-based family photographer.
Are you searching for a photographer to capture your family's experience here in Tokyo, throughout Japan, or beyond? If so, reach out today to find out more about my portrait session offerings or to directly book your family portrait session.
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A couple of months ago, I heard from Aya, a freelance 3D designer based in Tokyo. Aya needed help with personal branding. Specifically, Aya needed imagery to use on her website and marketing materials.
Aya mostly works on fashion related projects (including pattern-making, garments creation, and 3D rendering. As a designer, Aya loves her work. She wanted to have a the kind of session that reflected her relationship with design.
Those 2008-white-background-LinkedIn profile photos weren't gonna cut it. Aya needed a collection of images that was a delicate blend of fashion and professionalism.
I wanted to learn more about the young creative and her vision for her individual portrait session. We decided to have a pre-shoot consultation so that we were on the same page.
For thirty or forty minutes Aya and I talked about our upcoming session and generated some ideas. We chatted about location options that would be suitable for our shoot, her professional goals, and even discussed our common love for Wes Anderson films. Aya even came prepared to our virtual meeting with a mood board of images she liked, which was tremendously helpful (as a visual learner, actually seeing Aya's photographic inspiration helped me plan a custom branding portrait session).
We decided to shoot in the late afternoon on a beautifully crisp November day. The location we finally selected was perfect and both Aya and I were in wonderful moods. For the next couple of hours, we popped around and made as many images as we possibly could before the sun went down.
In the end, I couldn't have asked for a better day as a portrait photographer in Japan.
Are you searching for a photographer in Japan to help with your personal branding needs? If so, reach out today to see how I use my camera to help you achieve your professional goals.
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There are as many types of event photography as there are kinds of events. But If I had to name my favorite type of event to photograph, it would quickly say incentive tour photography.
Incentive tours are intensive and often stretch across several days, Basically, these tours are the marathon of the event photography world. Incentive tours are multi-faceted and require much more than an on-camera flash and a high ISO. I don't just arrive and snap photos of a CEO giving a speech or attendees partying the night away at a gala event. There is much more substance and much, much more to capture.
Throughout an incentive tour, I am allowed to photograph guests in an array of situations and utilize a variety of photography techniques. I also love that incentive tours give me the opportunity to engage with participants and feel included in the event (instead of standing dressed in black, off to the side).
Recently, I had the opportunity to work with Takeda Pharmaceutical Company during their President's Club Tokyo visit. For four days, I was with the Takeda crew every step of the way. Of course we visited Takeda's Tokyo headquarters and the Shonan Health Innovation Park (iPark) in Yokohama. These locations allowed attendees (who came from all over the world) to see Takeda's operational hub.
But, like most incentive tours, the group didn't spend the majority of their time with professional development. Instead, the President's Club utilized most of their time exploring Japan's capital. From Team Lab's now famous Planets exhibition to the streets of Nihonbashi, tea ceremonies to the Giant Buddha of Kamakura, the group experienced a quick, but genuine taste of what Tokyo and its surroundings has to offer.
In the end, I was grateful to spend time with the group from Takeda and was honored to be their multi-day event photographer. Congratulations to all of those who were selected for the Tokyo President's Club tour!
Are you planning a multi-day event or incentive tour in Tokyo or anywhere else in Japan? If so, I would be honored to chat with you about my event photography services. Contact me today to get the conversation rolling.
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I first met my wife Laura at work. We were both first grade teachers at a public school in North Carolina, forced to spend time together in the name of collegiality and collaboration. After a year flirting, we hopped into a relation and the rest is history.
From 2007 until 2018, my wife and I spent nearly every minute of every day in close proximity to one another. We worked together, slept together, ate together, and played together.
Sure, we found time to do our own thing. We had lives without each other. But, if I looked at a graph, I would be willing to wager that more than 75% of the past decade was been spent within shouting distance of each other.
I enjoyed being close to my wife. It was a comfort knowing that she, more often than not, was either by my side or just around the corner. Now, as a professional photographer in Japan taking on a range of assignments, I am often on the road, far from my wife (and son), too far for me to be comfortable about the distance. This is one of the toughest parts of the job. But, at the end of a week-long project or commission, I get to return home to family and pick right back up where we left off.
Similar to the first phases of my relationship, some couples spend nearly every waking hour together. Other couples are forced to make long-distance work, connected only by Facetime, text messages, and their love for one another.
Every relationship is different and as a couples portrait photographer in Tokyo, I am always interested to hear my client's story. I recently heard from Mary who, like so many others, is currently away from the one she loves. While the decision to be afar is what is best for the couple's future, the fact remains that the distance is not an easy burden to bear. Mary wrote:
Hey Andy! I will be in Tokyo for work from August through October. Thankfully, my fiancé will be visiting me during the first two weeks of September. I want to get engagement photos taken in Tokyo while we are both there, something special to commemorate our time together (as we will celebrate our 4 year anniversary this coming November).
This will be my second time in Japan, but John's first so we really need to default to your experience and expertise in regard to location. Neither of us are huge fans of the heat, and I am usually anti-sun. A late afternoon or evening shoot may be the better option, but I will leave that up to you as far as your availability and what is best for light.
I was, of course, pleased to hear from Mary and wanted to create a session that not only showcased the couple's love, but that would also be a bit of a souvenir from Tokyo.
After chatting back and forth with Mary and John, we decided that my two-hour couples offering would compliment their vision of an ideal portrait experience. Two hours would give us enough time to relax and not run through our location choices. It would also provide us the opportunity to create some stunning imagery that the couple could use for a variety of purposes.
I presented two route options to Mary and John. After a bit of deliberation, the couple opted for a long loop around Shinjuku station, the world's most used transportation hub. We would spend an afternoon together shooting in the various locations found around Tokyo's well-known neighborhood.
Our plan was to hit some iconic spots like Omoide Yokocho and Golden Gai. But I also wanted to take the couple of a few locations less traveled by the throngs of tourists smashed tightly in places like Shinjuku or Shibuya.
In the end, I had a blast with Mary and John. They were both so calm, flexible, and easy to work with (my ideal clients). I was thrilled to present them with a collection of images that will hopefully remind them of their special time together in Tokyo and that can add a bit of happiness while the couple is oceans apart.
Are you interested in scheduling a pre-wedding, honeymoon, or vacation photography session? If so, take a look at my couples photography services and then contact me today to begin planning your custom session in Tokyo, throughout Japan, or beyond.
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Earlier this year, I linked up with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to cover their Technology & Innovation Bootcamp, an accelerated-learning program for students to learn and practice leadership principles. This year's Tokyo Bootcamp focused on Technology and Innovation, allowing participants from all over the world to gather in the Japanese capital for an intense week of collaboration in hopes of solving some of the world's toughest problems.
Sponsored by Nikkei, the University of Tokyo, and Sony, the week was filled with intensive ideation sessions paired with a lecture series given by scientists, medical doctors, engineers, and inventors. During the course of the week, I was fortunate enough to attend several lectures by both Sanjay Sarma and Joi Ito, two rockstars of the intellectual world. While looking down the barrel of a lens, I was able to hear the ideals of some of the foremost authorities on IOT (Internet of Things), artificial intelligence, and the forecast for our world (it isn't good folks).
MIT is well-known for innovation and for promoting new ways of thinking. In MIT fashion, I was given the go-ahead to utilize some uncommon event photography techniques, produce a massive amount of black and white imagery, and shoot the week-long event in any way I chose.
MIT’s encouragement was empowering, Moreover, it made me respect MIT for upholding their core values even with their vendors.
When a fellow photographer asked me how my week with MIT went, I responded with a single sentence. I said that the easiest way to feel intellectually inferior is to attend a lecture given by any MIT professor. Sure, I wasn't the brightest crayon in the room, any of the rooms. But after a week spent absorbing the thoughts of some of the world's intellectual authorities, I came out feeling a bit brighter (even if my small intellectual surge was solely due to proximity).
Are you in need of an event photographer in Tokyo for a corporate, private, or government function? If so, reach out today to find out how I can help tell the story of your single or multi-day event.
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One of the things I love most about being a professional photographer is the unknown. I never know what is around the corner, what kind of assignment I will get the opportunity to shoot, or who I will receive an email from. For some photographers, the unknowns are disorienting. For me, the unknown is exciting and is one of the reasons why I chose the profession.
I am eager to open my inbox each day to see if I have received any inquiries. Many days, my inbox is empty. But sometimes I am lucky and wake up to a handful of commercial, editorial, or event photography requests. Since my primary love is portrait photography, I am thrilled when one of those emails is from an individual who wants (or needs) images of themselves.
A recent request came from Beth. She wrote:
Hey, Andy! I am a 19 year old currently living in Tokyo. A few weeks ago I joined a modeling agency here in Japan. I’m getting some opportunities from the agency. But I don’t have a proper portfolio and, without one, it’s been difficult to actually get hired for the jobs. I really like modeling and want to explore it more. I want to build experience and would like to schedule a portfolio building session with you.
I was excited to hear from Beth and was proud of her for pursuing her passions (I support anyone following their dreams). I immediately wrote back with some questions about Beth's ambitions and what she wanted to achieve with modeling. Her answers would provide a framework for our shoot and would help me create a portrait experience tailored specifically for Beth's vision.
After learning a bit more about Beth and how I could best serve her, we moved forward and scheduled a two-hour portfolio building session. With a couple of hours to work with, Beth and I created a skeleton portfolio that she (and her agency) could use to land the aspiring model auditions and, therefore jobs.
I couldn't have asked for a more easy-going or willing client. With little experience modeling, I was surprised how was quickly and fluidly Beth could strike a pose. Beth is a natural and I have no doubt that she will do great things here in Tokyo. I am eager to see her modeling career develop and to flip through the tear sheets she will, undoubtedly, soon have.
Are you searching for a portrait photographer in Japan to help you build the base of a modeling portfolio? If so, I would be delighted to hear from you. Reach out today to learn more about my portrait services or to book a session in Tokyo or beyond.
A couple months ago, I heard from the Yokoyama family. As always, it was a pleasure getting an inquiry from a family coming to Japan for their holiday. Dorothy's inquiry gave me plenty of background information about her family, what they wanted from a family portrait session in Tokyo, and why they specifically reached out to me. She wrote:
Hey Andy! We are interested in scheduling a portrait photography session when we are in Japan visiting family this coming August. We are a family of 5 (ranges 2 to 8 yr olds) from Southern California. I am Taiwanese (born in New Mexico) and my husband was born in California. My husband and I met in college, married, and now have 3 crazy, but fun kids- 2 boys (9 yr and 5 yr) and a girl (2 yr).
My husband’s parents live in Machida. We will be coming to Tokyo to visit them and are so excited about being reunited with the good food and culture of Japan.
What drew us to your style of photography was the way you capture shots at very interesting and creative angles. Last year we had a family photo sessions in an open field at sundown. This year, we would like to do something a bit more fun and hip, modern with street scenes, and backdrops.. Just artsy.
My plan is to have my husband's parents join us for a few pictures at the end of the session as our parting gift to them. Could you tell us if you have availability and also what family photography package options you have?
It is always helpful to receive a first communication stocked with details. With a great introduction like Dorothy's, I am able to gain a sense of a client and can immediately begin to tailor a custom session.
Fast forward to August...
As expected, the Yokoyamas were a blast to work with. The kids were full of energy and, despite the oppressive summer heat, were willing participants during our 90-minute vacation photography session in Kichijoji. In the end, I couldn't have asked for better clients and was honored to spend some time with the Yokoyamas during their Japan vacation.
Are you searching for a photographer in Japan to help capture some special moments on your vacation? If so, I would be delighted to hear from you. Contact me today to learn more about my portrait services and family photography rates.
More Family Photography on the Blog