At the close of each year, I take some time to reflect on my rotation around the sun and this year is no different. As 2019 comes to a close, I am looking back over the past year in order to take stock before moving into 2020, a new decade and an opportunity for a fresh start.
Part of me feels like a bit of a plonker publicly writing about my year. I ask myself if I would do the same if I was an accountant, barista, or sanitation worker. I think I would. The written reflection itself is a way of taking stock and helps me get my head on straight.
2019 was an amazing year as a photographer in Japan, a year loaded with commercial, travel, editorial, and portrait assignments. For sure, 2019 was my busiest yet. There were many professional highs and, honestly, some pretty low lows.
As the year progressed, I learned a several things about myself as a person and now, reviewing the images I made in 2019, I am learning a thing or two about myself as a photographer.
2019 Year In Review
I said hello to 2019 in Koh Samui, Thailand. While on vacation with my family, I got the chance to make a frame or two without any associated pressure. As in years past, starting the new year off with little stress was a good way to set the tempo for the year (though, the next twelve months didn't turn out as carefree as I had hoped).
Making images without any attached deadline or specific angle always reminds me of why I picked up a camera in the first place. I love making photos and, stripped for all constraints, I was grateful to shoot some photos just for the hell of it.
Returning to Japan, I got straight to work. My first editorial photography assignment of the year came as soon as I returned to Tokyo. Mabuhay Magazine, sent me over to Tsurutokame, an amazing sushi restaurant operated by an all female staff, to make some portraits of the chefs, management, and exquisite sushi on offer.
Up next was a multi-day event for ShipChain, a logistics platform utilizing blockchain to provide increased visibility, traceability, and efficiency. The January conference gave both investors and employees a glimpse at what was in store for the company in 2019 and beyond. In addition to shooting the event, I was also commissioned to photograph a full run of corporate headshots. ShipChain wanted an editorial feel to the imagery and I was happy to oblige.
Another editorial assignment rolled in from SkyLife, Turkish Airlines' publication crafted for first-class passengers. I was tasked to shoot a group of spectacular chefs and the Japanese cuisine they are known for. From piping hot sukiyaki to Michelin Star winning tempura, I was happy to photograph the chefs, the dishes, and to sample some of the finest cuisine in the Japanese capital.
Next was a chilly portrait shoot with Kyoko Matsushita, CEO of Essence’s Asia-Pacific region for Adweek followed immediately by a personal branding session with Melissa, an Australian television presenter making waves here in Tokyo.
Unlike years past, January and February were busy. As the snow fell in February, I hit the road to document some of the tours offered by TripAdvisor Experiences. From the sumo stables of Tokyo to the iconic slopes of Mount Fuji, the commercial project kept me busy for a few weeks and was a great way to close out the shortest month of the year.
March finally came but spring was still a way off. Temperatures remained chilly and luckily my next commissions were indoors. In March I switched to event photography mode and worked with the both the Government of South Australia and the organizers of the Tokyo Marathon.
With the pair of events completed, I packed my bags, hopped on the Shinkansen, and headed south for a commercial photography assignment. In Kyoto, I worked with EPH, a brand new boutique hotel. I collaborated with EPH's management to create a visual identity for the brand that would set a precedent for their future projects that are expected to open in other locations throughout Japan.
My time in Kyoto wasn't just limited to the interiors and exteriors of EPH. To help expose their hotel guests to Kyoto's rich cultural heritage, EPH also commission me to produce an image library for their social media channels. For a few days, I hit some of my favorite spots in Kyoto, Japan's cultural center.
As soon as the Kyoto-based project was completed, I boarded a Seoul-bound flight. It was awesome to be able to return to Seoul, the Korean megalopolis where I once lived for six years.
For this two-week trip I was happy to be shooting again for the fine folks at TripAdvisor Experiences. It was odd being back in Korea as a travel photographer. But, I enjoyed seeing many of the tourist-trail-sights with fresh eyes and with a specific task in mind.
Back in Tokyo, the spring came in with a roar. My first big project of the season was a week-long stint with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The assignment was to capture the ins and outs of MIT's Technology and Innovation Bootcamp where participants from all over the world met to discuss a range of topics. From healthcare innovation to artificial intelligence, participants were offered a series of lectures and were formed into groups to ideate solutions for some of the world's most pressing problems.
With a bit of a break before the inevitable portrait season rush, I had the chance to sit down with Japan Station, a podcast produced by Japankyo to talk about how I ended up working as a photographer in Japan. If you want to hear some extended thought pauses and me say "um" way too many times, you can listen to the episode on itunes here.
The weather began to warm and portrait photography requests began rolling in. For a few weeks, I spent most of my time shooting family portraits, personal branding sessions, pre-wedding portraiture, and proposals in and around Tokyo.
At the end of the spring portrait rush, I popped down to Kobe, Japan for the New York Times. I was tasked with an assignment for the NYT travel section shooting 36 Hours in Kobe, Japan. I have always liked the port city and was happy to spend a couple of days exploring Kobe for one of my favorite publications.
Back in Tokyo I was given the green light from my friends at TripAdvisor Experiences to photography "my Tokyo." It is always a privilege to be given free rein by a client to shoot a subject in my own style. Needless to say, I was thrilled to head out to photograph my adopted home in the way that I see it.
I again made the switch from travel to commercial photographer (though the lines between the two genres are at time blurry) and spent several days with the New Sanno Hotel to help them revamp their food and beverage program imagery. The hotel, run by the US Naval Joint Services, has six brands. It was challenging to develop an imagery plan that would stretch across each of the hotel's restaurants. But I was up for the challenge and was pleased with the content created for the New Sanno.
Next up was another commercial hotel photography project. After a successful first round with the EPH brand, I was commissioned to photograph EPH in Takayama, Japan. EPH Takayama is as amazing as the Kyoto location. More, EPH Takayama is a refreshing alternative for travelers who like new, boutique accommodation.
EPH Takayama is designed to reflect the natural environment found in Gifu Prefecture. Instead of the deep reds used to highlight EPH Kyoto, EPH Takayama uses greens and blues to calm guests. For a week, I worked with management to create advertising imagery that will help propel the hotel's business in Takayama.
After wrapping up my work in Gifu, I returned to Tokyo to tackle back-to-back editorial assignments. My first project was to photograph the reemergence of Japan's kissaten cafes for +852 Magazine and then to capture a slice of the Tokyo bar scene for Conde Nast Traveler.
Then, before the end of May, I had a short string of couples portrait shoots. I had a blast working with pairs from France, America, and Taiwan in some of my favorite locations in Tokyo.
My last project of the spring took me Bangkok, Thailand for TripAdvisor Experiences. I was given a lot of flexibility to shoot the city in any way I saw fit. From Bangkok's street food (which the metropolitan government is attempting to get rid off) to magnificent examples of Thai architecture, I had a blast on the assignment and couldn't have asked for a better way to wrap up the first half of the year.
At the beginning of June, my family and I headed to North America for a much needed break. For two months, we spent lazy days in Asheville, Chicago, and Toronto. But, just as in years past, I had the chance to get the camera out to photograph the people who mean the most to me.
Worked picked up as soon as we landed back in Tokyo in early August. First up was a week-long editorial photography assignment for CAA Magazine. The project had me out in 105 degree heat, inside Michelin Star restaurants, and sipping cocktails in one of Asia's 50 best bars. I was happy to see the issue eventually come to print (Winter 2019) and to have landed the cover/s.
Soon enough, the heat broke and another string of portrait sessions came. I crammed in several family, personal branding, and couples photography sessions and was grateful to have worked with such amazing clients.
After the portrait string, it was time to pop back to Kyoto to photograph the details of the stunning Machiya Shinsen-en. This new property is a machiya-style residence blended with a modern boutique hotel. The two sections of the property are both exquisite and are on the top of my list for chic, affordable accommodation in Kyoto.
From Kyoto, I headed back to Takayama, Japan to shoot the food and beverage program for Hids' Cafe, the restaurant adjacent to EPH Takayama (a property I photographed earlier in the year). Hids' menu is one of the finest in the sleepy town. I was delighted to help the cafe with their commercial imagery and to support the Hids' as they enter the Takayama market.
My last editorial portrait commission of the summer came from GEO Saison Magazine. I was tasked to photograph the world-famous gastronomer Charles Schumann in one of Tokyo's most iconic watering holes.
I met Charles on the 52 floor of the Park Hyatt Tokyo at the New York Bar (You'll recall the space from the film Lost In Translation). While Charles and I didn't take the time to mention the film (though I did lounge in THE Bill Murray seat), we did manage to relax a bit, enjoy the views of Tokyo, and make a portrait or two.
Autumn arrived and I was glad to be rid of the heat and humidity that make summer in Tokyo less than desirable. I was ready for my favorite season and eager to be in the final stretch of the year.
My first autumn highlight was photographing Shinji Hattori, CEO of Grand Seiko (GS). Working with the Financial Times and GS, I worked quickly with Hattori-san and was happy to have the chance to drop off my grandfather's old Seiko watch for repair.
Another highlight from autumn was again for The New York Times. I headed out to cover 36 Hours in Yokohama, a piece highlighting Japan's second largest city. While Yokohama doesn't get as much attention as the nearby capital, it is stocked full of amazing experiences. Hopefully the 36 Hours piece will shed some light on the city by the bay.
Next up was a round of corporate portraiture for McKinsey and Company, a worldwide management consulting firm. My subject for the day was Tiffany Kwok, an Expert Associate Partner at the firm.
Still in portrait photography mode, I worked with David Ramis Åhfeldt, a guitar player in The Ocean (which happens to be one of my favorite bands). David needed some content to showcase his guitar, a custom-made axe crafted by Mozer Guitars. It was great to spend some time with David, help him showcase Mozer's impressive work, and chat about the state of heavy metal.
Soon enough the 2019 Rugby World Cup kicked off. While I didn't attend any of the games (I am just not a sports fan), I was invited to photograph a handful of events related to the international sporting event. I worked with Gullivers Sports Travel to capture their RWC Forum events and spent some time with Carters (a New Zealand based tool manufacturer) photographing their All Blacks (New Zealand's national team) event.
In late October I sat down with Megapolis Magazine for an interview about travel photography. I was honored to share some thoughts and images with the Ukrainian based magazine and was, admittedly, shocked to find out that the interview ended up running in six different print magazines on shelves throughout the Ukraine. If you have the interest, you can find the english language version here.
Before October's end I knocked out a quick assignment focused on Shinjuku for American Way, American Airlines' inflight magazine. The small piece highlighted five great spots in Shinjuku, one of Tokyo's most well-known neighborhoods, where one can stuff their face and/or wet their whistle.
At the beginning of November, I made my way back to the Kansai region to highlight a collaboration between tech giant Lenovo and Japanese industrial manufacturer Yanmar. The assignment was one of my favorite in 2019. It was amazing to see the scale of Yanmar's corporate and manufacturing hubs and to make some images of the folks who actually produce the company's equipment.
After returning to Tokyo, I spent five days with a wonderful group of doctors from Takeda. I was commissioned to document the pharma company's President's Club incentive tour to Japan. From Gala dinners to a behind-the-scenes look at Team Lab's (now) famous digital art exhibition, tea ceremonies in Kamakura to tours of Takeda's facilities, the assignment was filled with a variety of photography tasks.
The weather finally turned and it was again sweater weather. The end of the year was coming but I wasn't quite yet finished.
In the beginning of December I accepted one final commercial photography commission from MindValley Productions, an e-learning community based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I was tasked to photograph Ken Honda, the bestselling author of Happy Money (and all around nice guy) for a finance course that will soon go live on MindValley.
To end the year, I was honored to see some of my work land on the cover of GEO Special Magazine. The issue, dedicated completely to Japan, was GEO Special's rebranding issue and I couldn't have asked for a better way to close 2019.
Without a doubt, it has been a hell of a year. I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to do what I love to do here in Tokyo, throughout Japan, and beyond. But more, I am blessed to have a loving support system. I would like to publicly thank my beautiful wife Laura who has gifted me with her patience and support.
I can't wait to see what 2020 has in store. I am just as eager to share the work created in 2019 that, as of now, I am obliged to keep under wraps. Thanks so taking the time to have a look at my 2019 Year In Review.
I wish you a peaceful holiday season and a joyous transition into 2020.
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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 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.
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Some days are bigger than others. For the Weinland family, a particular Saturday last spring was one of those big days. Caleb, the youngest of the three siblings, was graduating from high school. More, Caleb's siblings surprised their younger brother by returning to Tokyo for his big day. Rick and Sandy, the graduate's parents, were all smiles. To make the party even grander, Caleb's grandparents had also made the massive journey from America to help celebrate.
With the family together, it was only natural that the crew decided on Chofu's Nogawa Park as the location for their family portrait session. Sandy and Rick raised their kids here in this western Tokyo suburb and spent countless hours with their young children running around the giant trees, picnicking on the expansive lawns, and splashing in the creeks that outline the park.
I was happy to help the Weiland family document their big day in Tokyo and wish them all the best of luck.
Are you searching for a family photographer in Japan? If so, learn more about my family photography services and then contact me today to book your portrait session in Tokyo, throughout Japan, or beyond.
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It's freezing outside. I am bundled up in my office with a hot cup of coffee and have a jacket over my sweater (my olderJapanese-style apartment has very poor insulation). While I love all seasons, these temperatures are making me long for the warmer months.
Even though it is chilly, I am grateful for the winter. In February, portrait session bookings calm down and I can enjoy a bit of a break. With the "slow season" in full effect, I have the opportunity to complete a lot of administrative tasks, shoot some personal work, and prepare for the upcoming spring portrait season. The lull also gives me the chance to share some work from last year's fall sessions.
One of my favorite family portrait sessions last year was with the Mittelstedts. We met at the Edo Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum (ETOAAM), one of the coolest places in western Tokyo. The outdoor museum is one of those locations that is just fun to explore.
Because of fire, floods, earthquakes and war, Tokyo has lost many historical buildings from the Edo period. Even now, the remaining Edo structures are being eroded due to social and economic changes in Japan. Realizing this, the ETOAAM actively relocates period buildings in the hope of preserving artifacts of cultural heritage.
Having a family portrait session in a place like this might seem quite odd. But, in reality, it is a wonderful location. The museum has enough to see and do to keep everyone entertained and the various Edo façades offer some of the nicest backdrops a photographer could ask for. When the Mittelstedts mentioned that they wanted a casual family session, I knew that the ETOAAM was the perfect spot.
For a couple of hours, the Mittelstedts and I had a blast and I hope that our portrait session last autumn was the first of many.
If you are looking for a family photographer in Tokyo or throughout Japan? If so, reach out today to find out more about my family photography services or to book your session.
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Tim and Sarah are without question some of the kindest people you could ever have the pleasure of knowing. I met the couple years ago when I worked at an international school in Tokyo. Ever since, I have enjoyed spending time with them and watching their family grow.
I heard from Sarah in the late autumn. Her message read:
We wanted to see if you would be able to do a family photo shoot for the four of us sometime in the late fall. We've been jonesin' for some professional family photos since (L) was born and, now that we're feeling a bit more settled, we're ready to make that happen! We're hoping for some fall colors as a backdrop for the photo shoot. There's a beautiful little shrine along the Nogawa River path with Japanese momiji trees and a little red bridge going over the pond. Of course, we're open to other ideas you have where the fall colors will be at peak then.
I was overjoyed to finally be able to work with the Bernhardt family. Instead of attending meetings with Sarah and Tim, I would finally get the chance to see the whole Bernhardt family in a new professional context.
On our shoot day we met at Nukui Shrine, the small complex in Koganei that Sarah had mentioned in her initial inquiry. Sarah was right, Nukui was the perfect spot for an autumn portrait session. While the area is on the small side for families with small children, I knew that we could make the space work. The leaves were blazing reds and vibrant yellows. The foliage, coupled with the traditional moon-shaped bridge, was the postcard vision of Japan.
To my surprise, the shrine was completely empty. There was no one in sight. The area was silent and tranquil. However, the energy in the shrine quickly changed. The quiet grounds in western Tokyo livened up when H (age 5) and L (18 months) arrived. The young lads were ready to move and shake and Sarah and Tim were eager to get started.
Together we roamed Nukui and played in a nearby parking lot. We chucked rocks around (nowhere near the shrine, of course) and took turns running after the boys.
Towards the end of our session we still had a bit of light to work with. We were quite close to Tama Cemetery, the largest municipal cemetery in Japan. It would be quite morbid (and completely culturally inappropriate) to have family photos made throughout the graves. But the Tama cemetery is also one of the largest green spaces in the Tokyo metropolis. We decided to head over to Tama for a few more frames.
We finished our time together in a grove of massive red maples (far away from the sacred spaces). As the sun went down and the blue hour began, I left the Bernhardt family to start their nighttime routine.
Walking alone to the nearest train station, I had some time to reflect on the session. I had such a great time with the Bernhardts. I was grateful to them for their business. But more, I was grateful to have another window into their life and to have the opportunity to share an afternoon out with one of the kindest expat families in Tokyo.
Are you searching for a family photographer in Japan? If so, I would be happy to craft a custom portrait experience for your family. Learn more about my portrait services and then reach out to book a session.
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The beginning of 2019 has been a whirlwind. With a packed photography schedule, a beautiful wife, an active child, and Tokyo outside the door, I keep busy. With the winter in full force, I am now finally getting the chance to sit down and review some of the images I made at the beginning of the season.
The Robertsons were one of my first family photography clients during the annual cold stretch. I first heard from Gahyan several months ago. She wrote:
We are a family from New York and will be in Tokyo this coming winter. We would like to do a family photo session. We have been to Tokyo multiple times but have stayed in different areas each time. We are interested in your short family session package and look to you for suggestions on locations that are indicative of Tokyo.
After a bit of back-and-forth, Gahyan and I decided on a date and a shoot route. We opted to take the party to Harajuku, a spot that screams Tokyo. Meiji Shrine would provide some more traditional shots and the Harajuku district would account for the modern, hustle and bustle of Tokyo.
When our shoot date came, I met Gahyan, her husband Chris, and daughter Hana (age 3) right outside of Harajuku station. Coming from New York, the Robertson's were accustomed to the cold and weren't put off by the chill in the air at all. I was happy to see that the Robertson's were wrapped up to keep warm and were down for a good time. Most of all, they were excited to get started with their portrait session.
For an hour or so, the Robertson family and I had a wonderful time together. Gahyan and Chris were nothing but smiles. Hana took a while to warm up to me. But, by the end of our session, she was all smiles. I couldn't have asked for a better afternoon with clients here in Tokyo.
Are you interested in a family photography session in Tokyo or throughout Japan? Get in touch today so that we can start planning your session!
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I met the Dohrenwend family a couple of years ago. Secretly I hoped that they would book a family photography session at some point. When Amber inquired in late November about fall portraits, I was thrilled that I was finally going to have the chance to work with the Dohrenwends here in Tokyo. I was certain that a set with this family would be a ton of fun and would, of course, yield a great set of images.
Before our shoot, I knew several things about the Dohrenwend family. I knew that Amber and Pete are multi-talented and that they are just as much at home in the forests of northern Michigan as they are in their home in the Japanese capital (if not more so). I knew that A&P are artists and educators, thinkers and makers. I also knew that they had a special something in the way they parent their children.
I also knew a thing or two about Dohrenwend girls. They are just as amazing as their parents are. Young E (9) and I (6) are energetic, spunky, and curious about the natural world. They climb trees like monkeys, have amazing senses of humor, and smiles that will melt your heart. And more, E&I are some of the most independent kids I know (a trait I love in kids).
On our shoot day, I met the Dohrenwends at Nogawa Park, a vast and beautiful expanse of space in Chofu, just outside of downtown Tokyo. In the late autumn (early December), the park is ablaze with the deep reds of Japanese maples and the patches of ginko leaves on the ground are circular yellow carpets surrounding the trunks of the many biloba trees. For our session, we decided to incorporate as many elements of the Dohrenwend's ordinary lives as we could. For years the family has played, picnicked, and explored in the park. So it seemed only natural to start our portrait session there in Nogawa.
From Nogawa Park we moved on to Mushashi Koganei Station, a stop on the Tama line that the Dohrenwends most frequently use. While we weren't able to hop the stalls and shoot inside the station (even though E asked the station attendant in perfect Japanese), we were able to meander around the train stop and incorporate a lot of elements of the station and Tokyo's public transportation system into our shoot.
Our family photography session wrapped up outside of the Dohrenwend's home. There, I spent some time photographing E&I playing with their neighborhood crew, riding their unicycles, and spinning around on their scooters. I found a rhythm there in the parking lot of the Dohrenwend's apartment complex and even managed to summon my own inner child while I nailed some shots of the girls doing what kids do best.
In the end, I was incredibly happy with the massive count of photos we created. After spending some quality time with this family, I remain in awe of the Dohrenwends. The troupe of four is, without a doubt, one of the most fascinating families I have worked with in a long time. As I had expected, the 90-minute session was heaps of fun. I couldn't have asked for a better day out with one of Tokyo's finest expat families.
Are you searching for a photographer in Japan who is ready to capture your family dynamic? If so, I would be honored to serve you. Learn more about my family portrait services and then reach out to book a session.
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Ling and Ryan are no strangers to Tokyo. In fact, the couple spent most of their engagement living in the Japanese capital together. For three years the pair called Tokyo home.
Anyone who has ever spent time in Tokyo realizes that the pull of the Japanese capital is strong. Though only a year has past since moving away from Tokyo to start a new life in Hong Kong, Ling and Ryan felt the tug and decided to come back to Japan for their holiday. But, this trip was different. Now Ling and Ryan are married and more, they had a third wheel, Aerin (6 months), along for the ride.
When they lived in Tokyo, Ling and Ryan frequented Hinokicho Park, using the small greenspace as an oasis away from the mid-town hum. To me, it sounded like the park was the perfect spot for our family photography session. Hinokicho would offer a mix of spots that would suit both Ling and Ryan's artistic tastes and be centrally located.
When our shoot date came, the morning sun was blasting. I didn't mind. I knew that we could use the harsh light to our advantage. I was also confident that there were some shady spots in Hinokicho that would help make some more traditional family portraits.
The family of three arrived and we got straight to work while Aerin was alert and happy. But by the end of our hour-long portrait session, Aerin was completely spent and fell asleep in Ling's arms. With the baby sound asleep, we all tiptoed out of the park together and waved goodbye. But, something tells me that I will see the Li family again...
Are you searching for family or vacation photographer in Tokyo or anywhere else throughout Japan? If so, reach out today so that we can start planning your portrait session.
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When you mention Tokyo, most people immediately think of bustling streets and futurist Bladerunner madness. But, Tokyo is much more than neon-soaked streets and anime culture. It is more than skyscrapers and bullet trains.
Tokyo is vast, filled with tranquil green spaces and areas far removed from the idyllic scramble crossings of Shibuya and Shinjuku. In fact, most Tokyoites live in calm wards, mini-cities removed from the the pulsating glow of the capital's downtown. It is here, in the "suburbs" of Tokyo that I met the Gotterson family.
During the first portion of our family session, Stephanie and Tim invited their parents to join us for some whole family fun in Nogawa Park, one of western Tokyo's best kept secrets. It was awesome to have Tim and Stephanie's family together and interacting with Freya, the youngest Gotterson (age two).
For the rest of our session, Tim and Stephanie wanted something a bit more intimate and reflective of their everyday life here in Tokyo. We waved goodbye to both sets of grandparents and headed into the streets of Tama, the tiny enclave of Chofu that the Gotterson family calls home.
To most, Tama isn't much more than a train stop. The area hosts a vegetable stand, a convenience store, and a ramen shop or two. But to the Gottersons, the area holds a lot of meaning. These are the streets that they walk daily. These are the only corners of Tokyo that Freya is familiar with. For the Gottersons, this little area will represent Tokyo long after they have moved on from the megalopolis.
For the next forty-five minutes, the four of us popped here and there around Tama, making portraits, eating strawberries, and sharing smiles. In all honesty, it was the perfect family portrait session and it is my hope that Stephanie, Tim, and Freya continue to make wonderful memories in Tama.
Are you searching for a photographer in Tokyo? If so, contact me today to schedule your own family portrait session.
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Who Is Andrew Faulk?
Tokyo photographer Andrew Faulk specializes in commercial, editorial, event, and portrait photography assignments. With over a decade of experience living and working in Asia, he collaborates with individuals, families, publications, and corporations to create timeless images under any deadline. Andrew's work is frequently featured in a variety of international travel and lifestyle publications. He is a husband, father, and lover of fried food.