Friday, February 28, 2014

Tokyo Fashion Photography: Aquamarine


It's always a pleasure shooting with Katya, and I'm happy with how these lighting shots turned out. I still have a lot to learn and explore, but for the moment I quite enjoy this bright, glowy style for lighting. The last two photos were taken without flash, using natural lighting only. I love the mood of these two as well! Katya, thank you so much for working with me again and making this a wonderful photoshoot!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Tokyo Portrait Photography: Arata

 

 Continuing my foray into the sunny fields of lighting! At least, this shoot with Arata (Bellona) was on a gorgeous sunny morning, and I decided to try two styles: my usual natural light style outdoors, and an indoors shoot in my little home studio. It's been a battle against myself for so long, both dreading artificial light and not mustering up the courage and effort to really study it, really practice. Personally, there's still nothing more beautiful than the bright, clean glow of natural sunlight to me - I love utilizing that kind of light the most to create my photos. However, the time has come - in fact, I really shouldn't have dreaded so much - to at least grasp by myself the basics of lighting in studio. If it can be said that I'm quite in love with natural light already, then perhaps it can also be said that I'm starting to build a slow and careful friendship with off-camera flash. Still so much to learn... bring it on!!

Just starting out with modeling work, Arata is from Nara and grew up dancing ballet. Although she's working to improve with photoshoots, she already has confidence with walking runways. A positive and sweet girl, she made it easy to create these photos together. Thank you, Arata!

Tokyo Portrait Photography: Bethany at Happo-en

Happo-en was bursting with signs of spring: plum trees in bloom, soft shades of green blending with the light. Bethany and I wandered through the main gardens for some photographs on a perfect sunny afternoon. This traditional Japanese style garden truly gave off a sense of peace, and I'm so glad I could visit it. Bethany, thank you so much!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Tokyo Fashion Photography: Color Me Lonely

tokyo fashion photographer
tokyo fashion photographer
tokyo fashion photographer
tokyo fashion photographer
tokyo fashion photographer
tokyo fashion photographer
tokyo fashion photographer

I finally invested in a light stand and softbox, and brought out my barely used speedlite, and decided to figure out my own lighting style. It was quite thrilling to work with Christina on these photos - she's simply amazing at channeling her creative spirit and capturing the camera. I also really love her makeup skills! Until now, I've mostly shot in natural light, but after this, I'm rather excited to learn and work more using lighting. It's as though my photography personality takes a completely different turn, and I kind of like it.. :) Thank you so much, Christina, for working with me on creating these images!!


Please check out Christina's cosplay and modeling work, and follow her at the sites below:

Blog: http://mousseron.tumblr.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mousseroncosplay

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Natalia and Daniel

I had the pleasure of doing a photoshoot with Natalia and her sweet baby Daniel! It was a slightly chilly but sunny afternoon in Tokyo, perfect for an outside walk.

tokyo family photographer
tokyo family photographer
tokyo family photographer

Natalia told me, "Everyone thinks they have to wait for a time when they'll be ready to be a parent. But the truth is, there is no time you'll be ready. The first few months are a little hard, but after that, it's not so hard. It gets natural."

tokyo family photographer

Natalia works full time as a graphic designer, and she feels lucky that her life hasn't changed too much after Daniel was born. Thanks to public daycare, which Daniel also likes, she can continue a regular working schedule. 

tokyo family photographer
tokyo family photographer

Daniel speaks a language of his own, which is made up of three languages: Japanese, Russian, and English. He picks up Japanese at daycare, learns Russian at home, and hears English from books and songs.


It was a joy to take some photographs for the two of them. Natalia and Daniel, thank you so much! :)

Please check Natalia's lovely blog Tokyoholic, which describes her adventures in Japan!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Friday Night Musings


I've just revised the header and top layout of this blog a little, to give it a cleaner and more accessible look. Quite happy with it at the moment! These days, Tokyo is finally warming up slightly... I daresay the snow days are over, although small piles of dirty snow still line some streets. Passing through a park today, I saw the plum blossom trees starting to flower up vigorously - a sure sign of the coming spring.

Another spring to unfold here in Tokyo.

I used to take it for granted, or rather, I didn't really take time to think about it much during my English instructor / office worker days... but the more days and months I spend here, the more I think: Tokyo is sort of the city of endless possibilities. Sort of, because you have to reach out and make those possibilities come to life yourself. I've had my share of rough times and frustration and exhaustion in this city, but through all that, I still feel very very grateful that I was able to come here, and that I've been able to stay here so long. I have that first English teaching company to thank, for giving me the chance and the means to live here in the beginning. I have music to thank, for giving me some mystical and indestructible source of energy and passion that told me to forge onward. And here I am now, doing my best with photography, still in the learning and developing (no pun intended :) stage, really. It's still not at all easy. But I am overwhelmingly grateful for what I have now.

I could never have even gotten on this path, had I been alone. Thanks to other people and the way we met and connected in the world, no matter how brief, even a fleeting spark - they've fueled me, molded me in ways I couldn't have predicted. Thanks to the countless models and clients I've worked with over the past year or so, I was able to develop my skills little by little. Thanks to the other wonderful creatives and friends in my life, who continue to motivate and encourage me even during the hardest times. Thanks to so many I've crossed paths with in this city... as long as I remember that, I feel as though I have the courage to keep pushing myself, keep learning and growing.

Thank you for being here with me, for staying along this journey of mine.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Portraits of Tokyo

I'm two weeks into my Portraits of Tokyo project, inspired by Brandon Stanton's Humans of New York.

So far, I've discovered that so much unfolds simply by looking up at the world around you, making eye contact, smiling. Conversations happen from a small change in stance and perspective. How often do we connect with people we pass on the street, exchange a moment of appreciation for life and for the world we share?

It's still daunting to me, since up to now, I've always been the one who doesn't raise her hand, who keeps her head down and focused on the goal, who takes the shortest and most efficient path. I'm still an introvert who prefers staying home with a book rather than going out to a party.

But something has changed, already in these first few days of starting the Portraits of Tokyo project. I look around, I notice people. I see, much more clearly than before, that every individual carries his or her own life, struggles, dreams. I may not know who they are, but I've found it takes only a smile and a word, a question, to allow a glimpse of their identities to escape. Everyone has their own story, something that makes them unique.

Because this is Tokyo, where many people keep their gazes on phones in the train and strangers don't normally strike up conversations with strangers, I find it somewhat challenging going up to people. I've let pass many chances so far. But when I do succeed in having a conversation with someone, I feel great, as if I've overcome a great hurdle, something I didn't know I could jump over. Some of the people I've photographed so far really seem to enjoy having a genuine conversation, having someone who truly listens for a while.

The Portraits of Tokyo website is here, and the Facebook page is here. If you enjoy my photography and posts at this blog, it would mean ever so much to me if you could support the Portraits of Tokyo project as well. Thank you so much.
I also share content at my Twitter and Instagram accounts, for those who have them!

I'd like to wrap up with a few photos I took today of snowy Ueno Park. The whole place was transformed with snow... just beautiful :)

Tokyo Fashion Photography: After Snowfall

Can't believe February is half over! So far, we've had two big snow days here in Tokyo, with the snow almost melting away completely once, then piling back up again last night. In between these two snows, Samantha and I went out to the Roppongi area to take some photos. It's always a lot of fun shooting with her and coming up with ideas together. I feel like our photos keep getting better and better. Thank you so much, Samantha!

Please check out Samantha's blog, Letters Impromptu, for the rest of the photos :) She also has a gorgeous gallery portfolio here!