Before The Portrait Shoot
I was really stoked to hear from Ansley and Garrick, a couple from Singapore who decided to celebrate their recent engagement with a pre-wedding photo shoot. Throughout our email exchange, Ansley had acute wishes about what she wanted and was even more specific about what she didn't want.
The couple was opposed to catalogue shots and wanted to stay away from portraits that are as common as Coca Cola. They wanted something more, something that highlighted them as a couple. The pair had obviously done their research to find their perfect photographer in Tokyo. They realized that most of my portrait clients hire me for artistic imagery and a customized portrait experience.
Ansley and Garrick had been to Japan before. In fact, Japan is where they really fell in love.
So, instead of shooting downtown at Shibuya crossing or in the glitz of Shinjuku, we decided to incorporate some of the things that Ansley and Garrick love most about Japan.
Check out some of the highlights from Ansley and Garrick's custom engagement portrait session below.
The Engagement Session
12:15 p.m. on a Saturday
I immediately noticed Ansley coming up the elevator next to the coffee shop where I waited. Ansley was smiling and her fiancé, Garrick, looked well put together. I realized immediately that my clients were not only punctual but were in a good mood. I knew it was going to be a great day of portraits.
I quickly got up from my latte, gave Ansley a hug and greeted Garrick with a firm handshake. We sat down and chatted about our day. I assured them that our portrait session would be painless and that I had a great afternoon planned for them. With our introductions done and a plan made, we headed off to a local ramen restaurant for lunch. There, these two kiddos chowed down on Japanese ramen, one of Ansley and Garrick's favorite Japanese dishes.
Bellies full, we decided to leisurely walk off the ramen in the streets of Tokyo, stopping along the way for a portrait or two.
Our next stop was the Calico Cat Cafe, a location that I scouted especially for Ansley and Garrick. One of the oldest cat cafes in Tokyo, Calico has a relaxed atmosphere. Since I had done my research, I knew that Calico had enough space for me to strap on a long lens and let the couple have a bit of a date. My cat loving clients wasted no time and were immediately relaxing and interacting with several breeds of furry friends. From the side lines, I happily snapped away.
We said sayonara to the kitties and rolled the hair off of our clothes. Out of the cat cafe, we moved to our last location of the day.
Weeks before our shoot I had scoured Tokyo looking for a bamboo grove that would be private enough for Ansley and Garrick to feel comfortable. I was eager to show Ansley and Garrick the grove as incorporating bamboo into our day was one of Ansley's requests. Once inside the massive grove, we took the time to relax and to snap the closing set of our engagement photography session.
Congratulations Ansley and Garrick! I was honored to be your photographer in Tokyo and wish you great happiness and joy in your marriage.
Award winning photographer based in Tokyo, Japan. Specializing in portrait photography, he shoots a variety of portraiture, editorial, and event, and commercial photography assignments. Andy is a husband, father, and lover of fried food.