I first met Samar and Matt last year when they came through Tokyo and booked a pre-wedding portrait session. Sadly, the weather did not cooperate at all during our first session. A cold drizzle fell the whole time we were together. But we made the best of it, shooting inside and around Shinjuku station.
I was happy to hear from Samar and Matt again this past spring. Recently wed, the couple was headed back through Tokyo (one of the several stops on their around-the-world honeymoon) and wanted to book another portrait session.
As our shoot day approached, I kept my fingers crossed and hoped for good weather so that Samar and Matt could have a collection of images that would nicely compliment the imagery from their previous Tokyo-based session.
My prayers were answered. The weather on our scheduled day in April was nice enough to get "out of the station" and into one of Tokyo most relaxed traditional gardens.
I met Samar and Matt right outside of Koishikawa Garden, a private green space tucked in the shadow of the Tokyo Dome. In the early spring the garden is lush with bright, chartreuse foliage and the carp are overly active. Samar and Matt had missed the peak of sakura season. But they did make it to Japan just in time to catch a glimpse of the most stubborn blooms and to witness the Japanese spring really kick into high gear. Without a doubt, the peaceful enclave was the perfect location for our shoot.
For the next hour or so we meandered through the gardens, stopping to admire the weeping blossoms that dot Koishikawa and to skip across the stone bridges of the garden's pond. There were times (as there are during most of my portrait sessions) that I left Matt and Samar to wander along so that they could relax together and enjoy the scenery.
The hour flew by and, before we knew it, the attendants began to close the gates. Outside of the garden, I asked Samar and Matt to pop into a phone booth so that I could shoot a few images that would add a little spice to the collection we had already captured. I even managed to convince the two to have an extended-we-just-got-married kiss inside of the old school call box.
We ended our time together with hugs and high-fives. As we parted ways, I was filled with gratitude, thrilled to have had the opportunity to spend some more time getting to know Samar and Matt.
On my way home I had the chance to reflect on the session. Instead of thinking about the images we made, I thought about the client/photographer dynamic. What had made our portrait shoot go by so quickly? Why did that end-of-session hug linger a bit longer than normal?
My mind drifted to my core beliefs about photography. I firmly believe that to make stunning images, a photographer must connect with their subject/s. After two portrait sessions with Samar and Matt, I realized that the rapport we had built had a direct affect on both the images we made and our time together. I can only imagine what our third session will be like...
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