Lifestyle and Casual Portrait Photographer in Tokyo Metropolitan Area

Lifestyle and Casual Portrait Photographer in Tokyo Metropolitan Area

Lifestyle Portraiture nowadays had become a photography genre by its own, in my own opinion. It’s more popular than ever in this digital era. I’m not going to impose my own opinion on this topic and is all right if there are other views. Lifestyle portraiture for me as a professional photographer (especially since I live in Tokyo) means that I am there for my clients to put up my technical skills and help composing the photos with my vision. It also means when and if needed I will give directions to be able to achieve better and consistent results, all under a positive and happy approach. Whenever I make photos, I am happy and I tend to pass along a lot of my happiness. 

Lifestyle portrait at Zojo-ji Temple, Tokyo, Japan
Lifestyle portrait at Zojo-ji Temple, Tokyo, Japan

People take thousands of photographs of themselves (the ever so popular selfies) or of their family, kids, in all kinds of environments without a special occasion like it used to be in the analog era of film cameras limited to only 36 frames. Now only sky is the limit. Or the hard drives. Digital era of 21st Century, has brought us so many options to make photographs starting with smartphones, small digital cameras and ending with top notch professional cameras readily available to anyone. With all this, de demand for hiring professional photographers is more popular than ever. According to some research I have done, Japan needs a lot more professional photographers. It’s interesting how in a country that produces the most amount of cameras for a world wide market has such a need. I always thought that here photography should be at the highest level possible, with the biggest amount of photographers.

Lifestyle portrait at Zojo-ji Temple, Tokyo, Japan
Lifestyle portrait at Zojo-ji Temple, Tokyo, Japan

What is the difference between lifestyle, casual and vacation photography, according to non-photographers?

In big cities like Tokyo in Japan, it is very common for a photographer to have inquires for casual vacation photography sessions from tourists coming to visit this beautiful and amazing place. Now you probably have noticed I have been using lifestyle, casual or vacation photography. I have been asking some of my friends what is the difference to them. Answers were enough so I could draw a clear line between these intertwined photography genres, at least in a sense as what general public thinks. 

According to Wikipedia, “is a kind of photography that mainly aims to capture portrait/people in situations, real-life events or milestones in an artistic manner and the art of the everyday.

Casual Portrait In Shiba Park, Tokyo

In big cities like Tokyo in Japan, it is very common for a photographer to have inquires for casual vacation photography sessions from tourists coming to visit this beautiful and amazing place. Now you probably have noticed I have been using lifestyle, casual or vacation photography. I have been asking some of my friends what is the difference to them. Answers were enough so I could draw a clear line between these intertwined photography genres, at least in a sense as what general public thinks. 

To some of them, lifestyle shots are tied up to the place and area where they live in the sense that they feel “at home”, in familiar places. It is not related how the photos are made, whether or not the photographer gets involved. They get prepared, carefully put on makeup, take care of all the small details.

Casual photography on the other hand (according to Wikipedia it doesn’t even exist), in the opinion of some other friends of mine, relates more to being on the household grounds. Clothing, makeup and all the rest of the possible preparations are left behind and nobody really thinks about it. Posing and composition are a matter of spontaneity and is not planned ahead. 

Lifestyle portrait at Zojo-ji Temple, Tokyo, Japan
Lifestyle portrait at Zojo-ji Temple, Tokyo, Japan

Vacation photography, on the other hand, according to the case study I had done, is a term to which will be referred to only in cases of travels, while visiting other places, cities or countries, such as Tokyo. In this case, people would do their own research, find a suitable photographer like myself (Cristian Bucur Photography), research places, poses, other photos published in the same place. They will know already where to go and at what time, although the latter in my opinion is hard to comply with; after all, the main goal of a vacation should be relaxation and not a tight schedule which most of the times can get delayed. In my experience, anyway.

Lifestyle photo shoot in Shiba Park

A while back I had and enquiry from a client who wanted to have some casual, lifestyle photos taken in Shiba Park, which is very near the Tokyo Tower and Zojo-ji Buddhist Temple. Actually, the temple is wrapped up by the Shiba Park. I went ahead and did my research about the park and the surrounding areas to know what to expect and be able to perform and easy going photo shoot.

Lifestyle portrait at Shiba Park, Tokyo, Japan
Lifestyle portrait at Shiba Park, with Tokyo Tower in the background, Japan

Luckily my client is a beautiful woman from Philippines who works in Japan. She wanted a very casual shoot, although she brought two outfits. The photos were meant to be send back home to showcase herself in front of the family. 

After spending a while talking and walking in the park I made a couple of portraits of her including in the background the Tokyo Tower. Perfect day to be there as the weather was perfect. There were even a few clouds which helped to filter the light to be more pleasing for portraiture.

After that we decided to head towards the Zojo-ji Temple and do there some more portraits. At this point I must say that her shyness only helped to get better photos of her: instead of going in the middle of the crowds, we went sideways under the trees where the amount of people was very little.  This is a goof tip for those who wants to make photos without the ever stepping in tourists. 😉

Lifestyle portrait at Zojo-ji Temple, Tokyo, Japan
Lifestyle portrait at Zojo-ji Temple, Tokyo, Japan

The photo shoot went smooth as a walking in the park, exchanging information about how each other experience Japan. Always a pleasure to hear what others think and how they see the world around us. Everyone see and feels differently, which is good.

Thank you for reading the article this far. Your support is very much appreciated and sharing would be great way to repay my time spend typing in front of the computer.

Lifestyle portrait at Zojo-ji Temple, Tokyo, Japan
Lifestyle portrait near by Zojo-ji Temple, Tokyo, Japan

As always, if you have questions about photography photo sessions and are looking to hire a photographer in Tokyo, or for that matter anywhere in Japan, please send me a message using the contact for by clicking here or the button down bellow.

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Frame your life stories, the best thing you can ever do to have a great reminder of what you’ve done in life. And showcase how awesome you’ve looked.  Bellow are most of the social platforms you can find me. 🙂

Pet Photographer in Yokohama. How I started to learn and love human’s best friend Photography in my little Tatami Studio. Tips and tricks.

Pet Photographer in Yokohama. How I started to learn and love human’s best friend Photography in my little Tatami Studio. Tips and tricks.

Photographing Pets has a lot in common with “regular” portrait photography. Making a successful animal portrait requires not only an equal amount of technical skills necessary for human portraits but also a great understanding of pets behavior. And a lot of love and passion. 

Yorkshire Terrier during a studio photosession in Tatami Studio
Yorkshire Terrier during studio photosession in Tatami Studio

If there is a clear channel of communication between humans, trying to communicate with an animal, be it a dog, or any other best-loved for that matter, is more gentle and delicate and more often than not it goes beyond words. Giving a snack to an adult while taking her or his portraits may sound silly, although is proven that sugary snacks makes us humans more prone to be happy. When it comes to dogs, well, receiving a delicious snack (sugar free of course) from time to time makes it easier to catch their little attention, thus making better photographs. 

My little canine friend has almost nine years since I have it and our joint history goes long beyond typical pet and owner relationship. Tzitzy has joined my wife and I throughout our life around the globe. Originally from western part of Romania, he has traveled and lived with us in Serbia for two and half years followed by another five years in South Korea. After our 3rd international move to Japan, since 2019th, until today January 21st, 2020th he is a proud Japanese “citizen” (and continues to be so), right now being under my office desk, while I’m typing this article, somewhere in Yokohama. At the moment he has to wear a collar because he has a couple of stitches after removals of some papillomas at Center Kita Animal Clinic. I know, he is aging, that’s why the idea of me doing portraits for my dearie in studio has been born in the first place. My dog is a fluffy friendly Yorkshire Terrier which is longer legged than average and weighs a little more over four kilograms. 

My faithful dog resting underneath my office desk while writing this article

As I wrote above desire to make portraits of my dog came out of an idea of how to have other than phone memories of him long after his life…. Of course, you may think this is a little bit creepy, but this is the truth, regardless of how it sounds, whether I like it or not. For the fist time trying to get the lights right was a challenge; I had put Tzitzy on a wooden chair which made it look like he was sat on a chopping board. 😛 Silly I know, but I was so proud of the photos until a friend pointed out that I might want to redo the photos using a more flattering support underneath my dog. Shortly after the feedback, I had repurposed a table which I had covered with a black textile to have the same color as my background. 

Yorkshire Terrier during a studio photosession in Tatami Studio
Yorkshire Terrier during studio photosession in Tatami Studio

Tip #1: groom, clean and brush your pet before a organizing a studio photo shoot

If the first try was indeed just a try with a couple of photos as a result of the test, the second try was a full studio photography session with my dog as a full time model. I made sure I gave him a bath, brushed his coat, and teeth. Yes, due to a stomach condition, I have to brush his teeth regularly in order to clean up the residue, bad smell and reduce the amount of plaque that builds lighting fast.

Yorkshire Terrie looking straight t the camera
Yorkshire Terrie looking straight t the camera

 While taking the first few shots of my dog while testing out the intensity of the flashes covered by softboxes I noticed that my dog was really interested where the light is coming from, especially because with each camera actuation the flashes were making a discharge noice. After around ten shots, my little canine friend released his interest to my studio lighting equipment and was more interested on how to jump off of the table. Luckily he truly listens to me and after I told him with a firm voice that he isn’t allowed to jump he just started to look at me, almost like trying to ask: “what do you want from me”.  The attention life span of a animal is quite small (I haven’t researched this, but trust me, as a pet owner I know) so as a photographer you need to have everything in place and start shooting right away. 

Yorkshire Terrier
Yorkshire Terrier

Tip #2: Snacks, your best bet to attract the pet’s attention 

Soon I had to start using a whistle, start doing noises I didn’t think it would be possible for me to do. One thing you need to know about noises and favorite ones: they are effective the first and maybe second time; after that is just noise.

Because in part I knew some of these “behind the scene” insights, I was prepared with snacks. After serving the first snack it was clear that my dog was back with me with full attention towards my camera. I may or may not put the snacks bag on top of my head and a dog’s treat….or two on my camera lens. This last resort was gold for the photo shoot I have organized for my pet. I didn’t starve my dog beforehand, don’t worry. On the contrary, I struggle to make it eat his food, because his appetite is very low and sometimes he’s forgetting to eat for an entire day. 

Yokshire Terrier moments after having a treat during studio photography session.
Yorkshire Terrier moments after having a treat during studio photography session.

After finishing the pet studio shoot, I took the memory card upstairs in my office to download the photos in the computer. You’d think my job was done right after I have finished taking the photos. Well, the process of producing one photograph it’s not completed until after applying corrections in editing programs like Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Photoshop. Sometimes the photo post production resumes to only color correction, applying contrast, all basic steps. Other times the edit requires removing stains, hairs, or simply enlarging the table due to “poor” positioning of the dog. Although I use a fairly small table, for small dogs is big enough and they move around freely. 

You can see the dog here is on one side of the table I used during the studio shoot. A final edited image would have been with the table extended in Photoshop.
You can see the dog here is on one side of the table I used during the studio shoot. A final edited image would have been with the table extended in Photoshop.

My Tatami Studio is open to any kinds of pets, from dogs to snakes, rabbits, parrots. When is the case, handling may be required to be done by the pet owner. For large animals shoots please add detailed information through the contact section on my website. The location of my Tatami Studio is in Yokohama, for the exact address please ask.

Thank you for reading my blog and for following my story as a professional photographer who covers Yokohama, Tokyo and beyond.  My services extend  beyond best-loved studio photography, and also include pet and owner in outdoor settings. You can read here the story of a previous photo session I have done for a beautiful Maltese and it’s lovely owner in Yoyogi Park in Tokyo.

Frame Your Life Stories Now with Cristian Bucur Photography!

Cristian Bucur Photography Logo
Cristian Bucur Photography Logo

Portrait of Xoloitzcuintly taken during a Studio Photography Sesson in my Tatamy Studio

Vacation & Street Photography during the Japanese Cherry Blossom, also known as Sakura

Vacation & Street Photography during the Japanese Cherry Blossom, also known as Sakura

Last year, in January, my wife and I have moved in Japan after living for five years in South Korea, a place that has grown on us and had become something we proudly have called Home. Slowly but surely, our time spent in Tokyo and Yokohama has made the Land of the Rising Sun feels like home too.

Today I’m going to write about my experience as a street photographer, living aside stories about shooting families or pets. I know this is a long debated subject, but I will focus on my photos and experience in this amazing country.

Park Picnic in Tokyo during Sakura Season
Park Picnic in Tokyo during Sakura Season

Seeing couples enjoying outdoor scenery is very common and especially during Sakura Season. People around the Globe are having planned the vacations to Nihon land to see and enjoy the Cherry Blossom. For many people the Land of the Rising Sun is also synonym with Sakura and planning the vacation during the photogenic Cherry blossom peak comes without much thinking. 

Sakura Season it’s the best time to schedule a vacation photography session in Tokyo 

Hanami (花見, “flower viewing”) is the Japanese traditional custom of enjoying the transient beauty of flowers” according to Wikipedia and indeed I can tell you that hanami is a custom very popular among both local Japanese people and also tourists. Locals take it even a step further and share the joy of viewing the Cherry Blossoms with the entire families, friends, kids and pets (yes, taking your favorite pet for a walk under Sakura petals is quite nice) with whom they toast a glass of champagne (pets don’t react well after champagne 😉 ). Möet is a real thing during Sakura on Nippon land.

Sakura/Cherry Flowers in Tachikawa, 2014th, Tokyo
Sakura/Cherry Flowers in Tachikawa, 2014th, Tokyo

During Sakura, the amount of crowds are something I have never seen before, tourists and locals are pouring on the streets and alleys where Cherry Trees are. People are photographing every side of every tree hoping they’ll get the best shot ever, or at least the best memory. Not to mention the photography aficionados, be it hobbyists of professional photographers with the latest trends in camera gear, tripods, lenses and huge backpacks to accommodate all of the above spend hours creating millions of photographs that will probably will never be consumed. Couples and families hire photographers to provide them great memories for the loved ones or just to capture beautiful moments for years to come. Photography is indeed one of the best solutions to “Frame Our Life Stories” as I like to say. As a tourist on the Nippon land during Sakura (and not only) you can book a photography session with me (Cristian Bucur Photography) and even rent out a Kimono to complete the Japanese experience from Yae in Asakusa

Friends wearing Komonos in Asakusa, near by Sensoji Temple, Tokyo

Couple photo shoot in Tokyo

As a photographer, my Sakura adventure started in the first year living in here at Nakameguro canal. Trust me, this is the Cherry Blossom Wonderland, the most accessible place if you are in downtown Tokyo. On the sides of the canal you can experience street food, the aforementioned champagne, coffee shops and more. Couples and families arrange photo shoots during walks under the Cherry Blossom which will become memory treasures for years to come. After all, this is the Land of the Rising Sun, with the most relaxed and easy going people.

Sakura/Cherry Blossoms in Shinjuku Gyoen National Park
Sakura/Cherry Blossoms in Shinjuku Gyoen National Park

Cherry trees were one more beautiful than the last one. Birds were chirping and people enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere. Occasionally I would stop so I can take more photos or steal portraits of people enjoying their time in the park. Some of the more talented people were painting and drawing the beautiful trees in full blossom, with patience and dedication. Blending in as a tourist helped me as a street photographer to create beautiful photographs to remind me of the first Sakura Season as a “local”.

Man painting Cherry Trees during full blossom in Shinjuku Gyoen National Park
Man painting Cherry Trees during full blossom in Shinjuku Gyoen National Park

I couldn’t stop telling to myself what a dream I live to be a photographer located in Tokyo 23 wards; this city has so much to offer, any time of the year. It feeds my photographic appetite any time of the day, be it with street photography or photo shoots with beautiful big families of four or more members. You can actually read here my latest post I have wrote about the experience I had during a family photoshoot in Roppongi Hills.

After walking almost all of the Nakameguro canal, I decided to head off to the Imperial Palace which is located in the center of the city, only a very short walk from the beautiful Tokyo Station. Here I have spent quite a bit of time admiring the palace’s architecture and the beautiful Japanese gardens that amazed everyone around me, from local to tourists alike. Having my heart and soul filled up with great memories and my memory cards with amazing photos, I went for a late lunch to have Japanese noodles, known also as ramen (wheat noodles). Of course, there are a lot of other kinds of noodles, but you know, we humans have only one stomach and to be faire I kinda looked for menus in English. 🙂

Entrance to Imperial Palace Tokyo
Entrance to Imperial Palace Tokyo

Said and done, I left the restaurant and decided to go visit Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. On my way there, I kinda got lost in another park…. Even to this day I can’t figure out where that was. It might have been the park around the Akasaka Imperial Property, or Meiji Jingu Gaien Nikoniko Park. I have no idea. Down bellow is one table that has a similar concept (to me) with The Table of Silence carved by Constantin Brancuși. Interesting, isn’t it?

Here more about it.

Round stone table with round chairs in Tokyo
Round stone table with round chairs in Tokyo

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is a large park where one can stay for hours to enjoy the tranquil scenery for only 500 Yen. No wonder why this park has a paid entry, because it’s both huge and has a great landscaping maintained all year round. The park is somewhat divided in smaller units, some that look more like Japanese traditional gardens while other have more of a Western look. The bad news is… or was… I haven’t checked the opening hours of the park. Mondays (or following day if Monday is a national holiday) are the days when the park is closed, probably for maintenance. So…. No Sakura photos in Shinjuku Gyoen National Park that day. Because I’m a relentless photographer, days later after my first attempt to photograph this park from Flowery Kingdom, I came back to the park fully geared up with my camera, lenses and tripod. I have even did some long exposures using neutral density filters.
It is worth mentioning especially for people who what shoots in parks in Tokyo, that in most of the parks commercial photo shoots require a permit after paying a fee, information available from the local ward if I understand right.

Sakura long exposure photograph taken in Shinjuku Gyoen National Park, Tokyo (around 30 seconds was the exposure if I remember well).
Sakura long exposure photograph taken in Shinjuku Gyoen National Park, Tokyo (around 30 seconds was the exposure if I remember well).

Don’t think I have kept myself in a continuous photo shoot all over the places, but here and there I stopped when I considered a good spot would help me get a good photograph. In the following days I have continued with my adventure for vacation/travel photos, visiting parts of Tokyo and Yokohama.

Landmark Tower in Minato Mirai makes for such great views over Yokohama and if there is a clear day, even Fuji is visible.

Yokohama Bay panoramic view from the top of the Landmark Tower.
Yokohama Bay panoramic view from the top of the Landmark Tower.

To be precise, you can drink a coffee with spectacular views of Mount Fuji. Red Brick Warehouses, Ohsanbashi Pier and Yokohama Chinatown are also some of the top picks with my favorite place being the Chinatown. I just can’t have enough of it.

View over Yokohama; amazing how many constructions are, right? And all of them perfectly aligned.
View over Yokohama; amazing how many constructions are, right? And all of them perfectly aligned.

Since you red all of my words until here, keep an eye on my blog as I am always trying to write about my experiences as a photographer living in The Great Nihon. This is the first blog post I write about my other photography experiences here and where I show you places and people through my city/landscape and street photography. I have a lot more photographs published on my Instagram Travel Profile which is accessible directly from here or simply type @crisphototravels in Instagram Search.

Are you looking to hire a professional photographer in Japan? Make sure you click the contact button down below and book your photography session with me anywhere in Tokyo or Yokohama and allow me to tell your story through my vision.  Are you going to fly in Osaka and have time to visit only Kyoto? No worries, I can travel there too and show you around. 

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Couple photography session in Roppongi Hills, Tokyo

Couple photography session in Roppongi Hills, Tokyo

Now I finally get to blog about my favorite couple photoshoot in Tokyo. Well, to be more precise, it did happen in Roppongi Hills, a place that gives me as a photographer a lot of options to play with the light and shadows, different backgrounds, like Tokyo Tower or just a plain park scene. Roppongi Hills really is a versatile place, visited by many tourists every single day with plenty attractive things to do and see. Did I mention high-end shopping stores? 🙂

Couple photo, Roppongi Hills

At the right time, the couple have arrived at the meeting point near by the giant spider structure that dominates both the square and the tourists’ photos and selfies. Since e-mails and text messages don’t have accents, I was “ambushed” by the lovely couple with a nice, subtle and delicate French accent,  which obviously made me think of Bordo and Edith Piaf: “Non, je no regrette rien”, one of the songs I absolutely love listening to. While I was in school although I hated learning French, I have always loved the way it sounds… “de la musique”. 

Absolutely stunning song.

These are Ambre and Romain. I hope I got the spelling right, because apparently autocorrect spells Amber and Romaine, the later meaning salad…. and for an almost rocket scientist wouldn’t sound quite right. Romain is an engineer who designs robots that go into space to detect, learn and…. lets get back to me being English speaking photographer in Tokyo, shall we? 😉

Ambre and Romain, great looking couple with an inspiring love story

After I only took a few shots, I realized two things: a stunning connection between the two and an engineer frozen in front of my lens. It absolutely amazed me the way they look into each other’s eyes. The problem was… and I quote “you can imagine, SHE dragged me into this”! I totally get it man, I myself, I would rather shoot than be shoot at too, but hey, that’s why I am a photographer doing couple portraits in Tokyo. 

Now, my brain was at full speed, using all of it’s “ram memory”: how do I distract Romain’s thoughts from thinking he’s in front of a camera? Well, I had started to talk about my own fear related to the camera, hoping that this will help relaxing Romain because the photoshoot session was still at the beginning. Indeed, talking about me and refocusing the “target” took off some of the pressure Romain was experiencing, so much by the end of the photoshoot he has forgotten why he was frozen. Not to mention he did it in the name of love, isn’t that beautiful?

That’s how love looks like

As you have guessed already, Ambre and Romain are both from France.  Ambre is from Paris suburb and Romain is from the southern part of France. They have met in engineering school in the west of France when Romain was already in the 2nd year and she was just a freshman.

They both have dreamed of studying abroad but as Romain was one year ahead and he has had already entered the process of coming to Japan for a double degree in a Japanese famous university at the time they have become a couple.

Roppongi Hills gives many opportunities to make couple photos.

Amber is remembering: “for my part, I didn’t have any plan to live in Japan someday, I had thought about going in English speaking countries but not Japan as I didn’t speak Japanese. But I had to decide whether or not following Romain to Japan, which meant whether or not I wanted the relationship to continue because we were young and very long distance relationship are very difficult. But I was in love and after all, why not? Living in Japan for a few years was not in my plan and it was sure a challenge but I loved the culture and I wouldn’t be completely alone so I did everything I could to learn Japanese, be accepted to the double degree and work a lot to get there.

After 3 years including one whole year of long distance relationship between France and Japan, we are living together in Kawasaki, both successful in our study/career paths, still thirsty of adventure in this beautiful country and happy as hell.”

Who would’ve thought that on a beautiful sunny day of November I would get to find out such a great love story during a couple photography session in Roppongi Hills? Well, over the time I have learnt to assume nothing and wait to discover the facts at the right time.

It is such a bless to be photographing so many people and find out their beautiful stories through my lenses. I get to learn, meet and discovered new people on a daily basis. More often than not, people open up and I have the chance to learn their life stories. Even though one hour photography session doesn’t sounds much, it actually is enough to gather precious information. 

What a smile?

Being the man behind the camera I get to see that micro face expression that tells me so much, that sparkle in the eye, that doesn’t need words nor it can be properly express through words. This fills up my soul and motivates me to pursue my passion and live for the rest of my life as a photographer, be it in Japan or elsewhere on our beautiful planet. I know it sounds like a cliche and I have already said it in other blog post about a family photoshoot I did in Tokyo, I do Frame Your Life Stories through my photography and I truly believe my photographs will virtually last for forever and make everyone happy for years to come.

Keep an eye close to my blog as I have in plan to bring up more touching and true love stories like Ambre and Romain’s and also write about my experience as a photographer. 

Great looking couple.

Click the contact button below and book your photography session with me anywhere in Tokyo or Yokohama and allow me to tell your story through my vision.  If you are like me and like to travel, that would only be perfect, you can book me too for your vacation photoshoot in Kyoto, or for that matter, anywhere in Japan. Shinkansen trains are insanely fast and Kyoto is only two hours away from a great photoshoot.

Family Portrait Photographer in Tokyo

Family Portrait Photographer in Tokyo

November was a busy yet a beautiful month for me as a photographer based in Tokyo Metropolitan area. Beautiful weather and great temperatures only helped me and the clients I had to spend a great time outdoors. My clients are ranging from professional models, individuals, pets, families, Goldsmith and Jewelry maker (@diaroxx) and even a bodybuilder who won 1st place in Amateur Olympia 2019 in Japan.

Perfect image to illustrate how dynamic these brothers are

Some of you may know that in January this year my wife and I have moved in Japan after living 5 full years in Seoul, South Korea. Things are quietly falling into place and day after day life becomes easier and more beautiful. Technically we are living in Yokohama,  45 minutes away from the overcrowded Shibuya crossing, which by the end of the day is only a good thing. We live in a stand alone house, have a garden and our area is regarded as a family area, so a quiet and quite serene place, where people say hello to each other and kids play on the street. Here and there an earthquake shakes my computer, one even recently while writing another blog post.

At the beginning of November, Brinley had contacted me to be her family’s photographer. Her e-mail started like this:

“Hi Cristian,

We are the Bradley family. We are from Utah. We lived in Tokyo from 2013-2014 and then moved back to the U.S. In 2019 we moved back to Tokyo, but now with 3 children, ages 5, 4, and 1. We love to travel together. We also love hiking and exploring the mountains.

We have been to Canada, Mexico, France, England, Hawaii, and Japan. Next year we are hoping to visit Thailand or Bali. I work as a nurse, and Kolby works in sales for a tech company.

Could you take our family portraits around Roppongi Area?

Thank you,
Brinley Bradley”

Even when posing, the kids are on the move

I was very glad reading all her e-mail filled up with so much information. Let me tell you, families with many members are a bless to work with. Do you think this statement sounds confusing because in fact that means more challenging work for a family photographer? Well, large families do have a very distinctive dynamic and usually members (read “the children”) are more willing to show off their playing skills in a more competitive way. 

Please allow me to explain this for you: my work as a photographer gets actually much easier, although I have to physically run many times during the outdoor photography session. In the same time, I don’t have to ask the kids to do anything  for me, which automatically translates into natural and genuine reactions beautifully captured into amazing photographs. They will just do it, and I, as a professional photographer I will be ready to capture the essence of each one.

If you tend to think that photographing a toddler is hard, or, on the contrary, it’s easy… well, let me tell you that being a kids photographer is not really a rocket science; you only need to love kids and know when to stop, yes, stop. I always concentrate on discovering the personality of who the little man or the young lady is. I approach any child smiling and trying to be as friendly as possible, but with the same work ethic and  seriousness as I would during a corporate head shoot. And that translates into great photographs where the mother’s will wow like Brinley did after seeing her daughter’s portrait:

“Oh my gosh. That is PERFECT. That is my favorite photo of her I’ve ever seen!”

“Oh my gosh. That is PERFECT. That is my favorite photo of her I’ve ever seen!”

Of course, having a very fit and great looking family in front of my camera, is from the start a very good recipe for making great family portraits and the Bradleys are just that: a very beautiful family, with a smile cut from tooth paste commercials. Yup, I just said it 🙂

Now let me properly introduce you the Bradleys, the way I got to know them at Roppongi Hills in Tokyo. I will start with the mother, Brinley,  which is a very dynamic and strong woman who manage raising while keeping safe her three beautiful children, two boys and one girl. She is smiling all the time and during the photoshoot I never heard her complaining about anything. That’s a skill a need to learn myself 🙂 

The family’s oldest child is a boy, who’s name is Kai. As you can see bellow, he is already a model. His smile says it all: I’m smart, I’m beautiful, I am conquering everyone and everything. It was and absolute bless to make his perfect smiling portraits.

Look at that perfect smile!

Presley is the only daughter of the family, and she is a climber. She would climb anything if she could, while having a giant victorious smile on her face. Even if I see a lot of active children during the family photoshoots or kids parties I photograph, Presley managed to raise my heart bit while climbing after a flyer that was a little (maybe more than a little) bit too high for her height. That’s a good attitude to have: nothing is too hard to reach at any point in life. Parenting success one to one here.

Yup, climbing all the time 🙂

Ledger, is the youngest man of the family, who expresses himself more through cries than words, but that’s what means to be a one year old toddler. He manages to get whatever he wants an he doesn’t stop until everyone around complies. So… he may be the next CEO or a great entrepreneur. I think we need more entrepreneurs than CEOs, but that’s for him to decide, and he has at least 17 years  to take that decision 🙂

You’re guessing right if you think he was looking for his mother.

Last but not the least, Kolby is the husband and the father of the family. I personally believe that he is one of the most involved man in both the photoshoot and being a father for his children.  Usually the fathers gladly takes a place on the side but he was actively involved all the time. Ohh, I appreciate men who aren’t afraid in front of the camera; that’s yet material for another post about about a robot engineer and her girlfriend. He was so scared!
Going back to Kolby, he’s a great person and we connected and start to communicate from the first second we met. This is the best ingredient for a perfect portrait.

Roppongi Hills is a very touristic place, both because of the two observatories  which gives amazing indoor views of the city at 250 meters above sea level or the Sky Deck outdoor at 270 meters above sea level and the exclusivist shopping available in the area.

For me as a photographer, taking family portraits around Roppongi Hills is a great opportunity as I like a lot the ever changing light around the immense glass tower where I can get both park looking photos or city like portraits against the skyline or Tokyo Tower.

Most probably this is the longest blog post I ever made, but hey, great time and memories deserve to be shared. You can guess I love my work and I put a lot of passion into it. I consider photography as great tool to preserve memories but also food for soul, that’s why if you need a portrait photographer in Tokyo or anywhere in Japan  to frame you life stories, please feel free to write me  an e-mail by hitting the contact button bellow.

Instagram @cristiancbucur and Facebook are also just a click away if you want to get in contact with me.

Professional Photography Session for a Bodybuilder

Professional Photography Session for a Bodybuilder

Last time I had photographed a bodybuilder/fitness athlete  was in Seoul, South Korea. That time around was my Serbian friend who has been competing for Asia Grand Prix, Figure Pro Qualifier. I was quite stoked when she contacted me “ You live here in Seoul? Im here for competition” as I knew she had moved from Belgrade to New York. World’s so small right?

Sometime later, here I am in Japan, receiving this e-mail from Mohammed:

“Hi Cristian,

This is Mohammed.

Am a bodybuilder in Tokyo now, I wonder if you can do a fitness photo shot session on next Sunday 17 November. Sorry for the short notice.



It was indeed a short notice as I had prior plans, but I can never say no to a photography session in Tokyo, with a bodybuilder.  Now, probably my shape doesn’t show it (obviously, I am a photographer after all living in Japan 😉 ), but I did studied in the past bodybuilding and I have trained for quite a while myself, that’s why I have a great understanding and respect when it comes to this sport and to the people doing it. The amount of work and discipline involved is extreme and many people really live their life for it, respecting daily specific meals, train and sleep. And often times, a lot of pain, because building muscles involves pain. There is a saying among bodybuilders, “No pain, no gain”.

Moving back to my bodybuilder client, he’s one of the most amazing people I had the pleasure to meet. Back home in Qatar he is a police officer, passionate about sports in general with kick boxing and bodybuilding being at the top of his preferences.

After a few short e-mails, we decided to meet at Shibuya, where is one the most know crossings in the whole world. Shortly after meeting him, I have discovered a very passionate bodybuilder, very positive and happy person. On the day of the photo shoot he had woke up at 6 AM to get ready. Why on Earth a man would woke up at 6AM for a shoot at 9AM? Hmm, there is and explanation.

On the day before Mohammed had been competing in Amateur Olympia 2019 held in Tokyo organized by IFBB Professional League and NPCJ (I don’t quite know what NPCJ stands for) where he won 1st place!!! Well, I wasn’t overall, but for 90kg if I’m not mistaken. Still extremely impressive! Because of this, he had been artificially tanned so he would show off his musculature easier. This comes at a cost, it’s really hard to remove it in a very short time, so, there you go, he had to wake up and get ready from 6AM. 🙂

How’s that to be professional photographer for such an athlete, based in Tokyo? Well, first of all, it was amazing. Second, also amazing. Because Mohammed was in his best shape, right after a big competition, his shape was crazy good, and all I had to do was to translate that into amazing photographs. Sounds easy right? Well, keep reading, at the end of the article I have embedded an YouTube video I made while editing his photographs.

He didn’t have a clear idea of what he wanted from the photography session he had booked in Tokyo. That’s why on our way to the shooting place, which is only a couple of  minutes away from Shibuya, I was asking a lot of questions so I get to know who he is. I started to take photos of him wearing clothes, but that wasn’t doing justice for all the hard work he’s been doing. Previously I have seen he brought some spare outfits with him, so I asked what else he have. And only then the real fun had begun and I have installed my sofboxes and flashes.

My worry was that weather on the day might have been a little cold for him to be “naked” but then… when you are a pack of 90kg of pure muscles… you tend to warm up pretty quickly. 

He would then take off his shirt and jeans for a more “relaxed outfit” which brought to light his lean body and muscles. Right there and then I realized and told him, to never ever cover his muscles for a photography session held after a competition. It’s a no-no, considering all the work and logistics involved to get to a such perfect shape.

The rest of the photoshoot went as smooth as it could get, with Mohammed doing his competing poses to show off his muscular body and absolutely impress me behind camera. Above you can see his great flexibility too, a chapter at which my body acts worse than a stone. 🙂

He had inspired me so much, and I will use the inspiration to drive me to become better and better at producing amazing photographs.  If you have a dream, do your best to make it true; the amount of satisfaction you’ll get is priceless. I can say I am living my dream of being professional photographer, and not anywhere, but in one of the biggest metropolis in the world: Tokyo.

Few days later after WahtsApping him some photographs, I got this feedback:

“Wow great editing 🔥🔥🔥

Like it
Wow a lot of work !!! Great job 👍
Thanks bro nice to meet and work with you

You are really talented photographer 🔥👍
Wow the editing next level 😍😍😍”

Now, here you can see a video I have posted to my YouTube Channel with the workflow I did while editing his photographs. I use these professional photography editing techniques whenever it is necessary to accomplish the best results for my clients, using both Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop.

This video shows over 30 minutes of editing compressed down to under 5 minutes 🙂

As always, if you need a professional photographer based in Tokyo, hit the contact button bellow, follow my Instagram and like my Facebook Page to stay in touch with the latest images and stories I produce.

Portrait Photography Session

Portrait Photography Session

A while back, Daria and I have made a plan to meet at Tokyo Station and explore the area in order to get her some portraits. If you wonder who Daria is, she describes herself as “siberian girl in Japan” and you can follow her personal blog on Instagram here, where she posts photos from her trips and experiences.

Daria playing in the light breeze on the terrace

As you probably know, Tokyo Station has a lot of history  which dates back to 1914 if I’m not wrong. Hey, don’t jump to Google, this is a photography article after all 😉

After meeting Daria in front of Tokyo Station, we head to a near by terrace on 6th floor which gave us a beautiful view over the station building and the surrounding area. If you plan visiting Tokyo Station and wonder what else is in the area, well, there is the Imperial Palace too, only a couple of minutes away. Now, let’s go back to the terrace we’ve been to, which is beautifully designed and “fiercely guarded” that no one steps on the grass part of it… which I did touch with my backpack 😉 Needless to say 5 seconds later a cute overly polite guard came to me to explain that is not allowed to leave my backpack on the green. In this regard, I must note that I have never been into a country that is so polite, hat’s off Japan! (And now try imagine me trying to bow properly like a Japanese;) )

Daria against the skyline around Tokyo Station

After moving my backpack off of the grass, I continued photographing Daria and all went smooth. Because she lives in Japan way before me, she turned into an impromptu tourist guide for me and we took off towards the Nihonbashi Area. As a local photographer who lives in Tokyo I have a lot to learn about places because this city, as I said in other blog posts, is huuuge. One step at a time and I’ll eventually conquer this city.

On our way we stopped in different places to make some street shots against the skyline in downtown Tokyo.  We had so much fun as Daria is a very cheerful person who smiles and plays with her hair all the time. This had made my life easier behind the camera as her personal portrait and travel photographer.

It is worth mentioning that if just in case you want to schedule a photoshoot and choose the Silver Package I have prepared,  I shall mention that the Tokyo Station is also very close the the Imperial Palace. This makes it a good pairing for two hour and two location shoot.

While crossing a street using an underpass, I saw this beautiful photograph which turned out to be one of the selected photos that Daria handpicked all by herself from the proofs.

After not so long we reached Nihonbashi and the most famous place for Instagram photos. We spent here a little while chatting about different things we see and experience living in Tokyo. Time had past so fast, especially for me, as I love photographing.

Portrait in Nihonbashi, one of the most chased place of Instagramers

We concluded the portrait session in Nihonbashi area which is in the city center of Tokyo and we split in opposite directions to catch the subways we needed. This makes me to remark that this is an area with many public transportation options.

In case you plan to visit Japan or already live here and need a local photographer based in Tokyo Metropolitan Area, feel free to contact me (button down bellow) and let’s chat about what you want. 

Outdoor portrait using natural light

Keep an eye on your favorite photographer in Tokyo because as already promised in other blog posts, new and more posts will follow with the same topic, my photography experiences. Probably I should hurry up an write them as soon as possible after the photoshoot sessions so I can remember more details 🙂