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.

Family Portrait Photographer in Tokyo- newest in town

Family Portrait Photographer in Tokyo- newest in town

My love for the art of photography has been hidden deep in my artistic soul. I remember as a child when my mother would show me black and white photos of her parents; photos taken when they were young. 

I couldn’t believe my eyes what a great looking family they were. Those black and white photos were the only way for me to ‘meet’ both of my grandpas [grandparents or grandfathers?], due to the fact that I never had a chance to meet them in real life.

From a young age I was able to partly understand and cherish the power of photography, which in many instances can be the only evidence available to prove our existence.

During my school years, my parents hired professional portrait photographers to capture my portrait for posterity on the last day of every year. [Of course, at that time cameras used film to record images as the digital age hasn’t arrived yet.]

Family portrait in black and white
Black and white portrait of family of six members!!!!!
Photo of me while on my way cycling from Seoul to Busan.

One of my other hobbies in life is cycling. I love to go outdoors for long distance cycling, my current record for one day being 225km. Through cycling is how I met Cristian and other buddies who were part of a local cycling club. They helped me find many cycling paths and taught me useful things to know and do while on or off the bike. The cycling community is large and growing everywhere. It is made up of people who end up spending lots of money because the sport isn’t the most affordable one. The many improvements made over the years means that my current bicycle is more aerodynamic and has better components than the ones that professionals were using to race some years ago. Crazy, right? That’s how unbelievably fast our twenty first Century world develops. 

Here you can see the photoshoot I did for an avid cyclist a while back in Korea close to the Sakura Season. The story will follow in another blog post sometime in the near future when I get some inspiration to write yet another story.


Fast forward a bit and my cycling rides had brought to me the first family in front of my camera. And not any family, but one that has 6, yes, six members! How awesome is that? It was an amazing afternoon spent in the park with this lovely family with four kids: one toddler, one girl and two boys. Needless to say, at first the little boy wouldn’t want to leave his mother’s lap, but later on he was ready to take over the entire photoshoot and boss around everyone, provided that his mother wouldn’t go farther than tree meters away from him.

Toddler portrait in a park, youngest son of the family
Child portrait

The father, who’s name coincidentally is just like mine, Cristian, is a pastor for the Seoul Union Church(I hope I got that right). His wife Ica is the family’s hero as she takes care of all the members, even doing home schooling with her beautiful children. I truly believe she’s a very strong and powerful woman to be able to keep everyone on track, including her husband! 😉 

Great looking couple: best mother and father
Husband and wife, Ica and Cristian

If you wonder about the family’s children, well, they all are bright, fun, well-educated with great manners. Lastly but not the least, beautiful kids. Did I mention smart too?

The oldest child, a very handsome boy, has a smile that will make a lot of young ladies turn their heads around when he’ll become a young gentleman. I have a feeling the middle boy will become a successful businessman. He’s very sharp and awesome boy.  For the smallest family member (close to five years old now), I predict he’s going to become a politician. The way he’s started to rule the family’s photoshoot, man, I’m telling you, that’s one to one leadership!
Last, but not least, the only daughter should inherit her mother’s personality and become an even stronger, and beautiful woman.

Three boys, one girl. Brotherhood.
The kids gang, three boys and one girl

For this lifestyle photo shoot I have chosen to shoot out in open space, in a beautiful park settings.  Because I like experiment, this time around I had brought with me professional lighting equipment, flashes, light stands, softboxes, all the gear needed to experiment with off camera lighting techniques. I also prayed that the wind wouldn’t blast off any of my lights. Indeed I was a lucky family portrait photographer with no incidents affecting my photographic equipment. (Or were the family’s prayers who helped me? 🙂 )

Young boy’s portrait
Young boy portrait

You see, that’s why I love being a portrait photographer, I get to see such fine details that otherwise I wouldn’t be able. You probably know all those TED talks, where the speakers tell to the big crowds: “do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” 

And this is exactly how I feel, fortunate to be able to do what I like the most. Being able to capture a family’s feelings in my photographs gives me a genuine feeling of a great accomplishment. Of course there are other photography subjects that give me plenty of satisfaction. One of my favorite way of spending recreational and fun time is to capture the street vibe in downtown Tokyo and believe me, this town is huge, with plenty of occasions to capture its Heart and Soul. There is an abundance of street fashion and plenty of life happening all around in this humongous city. The entire metropolis has more inhabitants than my whole home country. Exactly, I’m still picking my jaw off the floor. 

Afternoon view over downtown Tokyo from 28th floor in Akasaka.

Afternoon view over downtown Tokyo from 28th floor in Akasaka.

Moving back to my first family photo shoot, of course there were some posters in between the trees I didn’t see at the time. Being a perfectionist comes at a cost, time wise. After doing basic adjustments in Adobe Lightroom Classic, I had to get into Adobe Photoshop and carefully remove those banners mentioned earlier in this blog post. Easy photoshopping job on me this time as I’m no expert or retouching artist,  but I know my way around. Oftentimes having to remove air conditioning units alongside with other small details. How cool is to be able to do this? Pufff 

Mom, dad, here I come to photobomb your portraits.

Somewhere on the building in the background was an air conditioning exterior unit. 😉

At the end of our photo session all seven of us have headed to fill up our stomachs with home made pizzas by Ica, Cristian’s wife, you know, the hero mother I was mentioning earlier. It so happens that she is not only and amazing mother and wife but a great cook too. 

So, in a matter of less than two hours I have created stunning photos and to top it all, I also got fed. Awesome, isn’t it? 

Keep an eye on my blog to read about what other situations I have been experiencing as a photographer. Soon I will start to write about my travels throughout Japan and the world.

As always, please press the button bellow to get in contact with me and I will answer all of your questions to the best of my ability. I would love to hear from you and shoot your photography session in Tokyo (or Yokohama for that matter). This would make me very happy! 🙂