Portrait Photoshoot in Asakusa, Tokyo

Portrait Photoshoot in Asakusa, Tokyo

A while back I heard from Jay who is from Singapore, that he wants to have some outdoor portraits done. Please allow me get this straight from the beginning, Jay is a dream client for any photographer in Tokyo or beyond. 

Photograph taken in Asakusa, Tokyo

My first thought went to what location to go to, because Tokyo Metropolitan Area has so many places to choose from, that sometimes is hard to make up my mind. Long story short, the decision was made for Asakusa Area, including the Sensoji Temple. This area is so beautiful and charismatic that can fit any photographic purposes, from families with many children to single travelers who wants their memories captured by a local photographer. (yes me, you got that right 😉 )

Got asked by these two girls to snap a photo of them on their phone and I also took one on my camera; I’m still waiting for an e-mail from them to send over this shot….

Because I don’t live in downtown Tokyo and I have to travel by subway from Yokohama, I still feel like I am a tourist when I go in the city center, which is a great deal as I get to enjoy extra my time during photo sessions.  Getting to Asakusa is pretty easy and Google Maps is of a great help. Well, except when it doesn’t work due to poor coverage; in case you wonder what that suppose to mean, well, because of so many users aka smartphones per square meter, the signal and data are very poor and sometimes it’s hard to load anything.

Now, if you go to Asakusa by subway you might be lucky enough to exit via this beautiful entrance/exit which you can see down bellow. I wish a lot more subway entrances would look this good, almost like a statement for this beautiful traditional architecture. 

After getting there, I made sure I have time enough to have a coffee and just enjoy the street show filled up with tourists and locals alike. Asakusa district has a very special feel and atmosphere. The main attraction for tourists is the the Buddhist Temple Sensoji. Asakusa area has been largely affected by the Second World War and the formerly entertaining parts of it like red light district, theaters, had never been rebuilt. Nowadays Asakusa has regained its tourists also because near by has set foot Tokyo Skytree, which is only a twenty minutes walk over one of the bridges across Sumida River.

Jay in front of a place that does palm readings, a custom that holds the name “palmistry”, and you know, is characterized mostly by foretelling the future.

Right after I finished enjoying my coffee, Jay had arrived and we started walking around the crowded streets of Asakusa that surrounds the famous Sensoji Temple. Because casual was the dominant word for our photoshoot, we decided to walk around and stop whenever we want to take a photograph that looked interesting both due to local architecture details, or simply because we liked the light or other elements present there. That way we managed to cover quite a few streets including the five storied Sensoji Pagoda inside  the temple premises.

Not many people know, but in Asakusa is a government owned building which has free entry that has a great view over Asakusa, including the Nakamise shopping street and the Sensoji Buddhist Temple.

For the closing portrait shots, we decided to head to the Sumida Riverside and take a few more portraits having Tokyo Skytree in the background. 

I had an amazing time photographing Jay and I’m already looking forward to be again his portrait photographer anywhere in Tokyo or beyond. 

For any inquiries please hit the contact button below and let me know what are your plans for your incoming trip in Japan and where you’d like to schedule a photography session with me, Cristian Bucur, so you can Frame Your Life Stories. Keep an eye on my website as very soon I will start writing about my experiences  throughout Japan.

Vacation Photographer Based in Tokyo

It seems like a coincidence and a repetitive action, but as a vacation photographer I got yet another opportunity to photograph another Italian in downtown Tokyo. As you probably remember, first Italian I had “shot” was Marco Ferri, an amazing artist.

Her name is Camilla,  and she is an Italian woman who has lived abroad for almost 15 years between London,  Barcelona and now Tokyo since 2017th. Camilla was supposed to stay here 1 year but apparently,  she enjoys her life in Japan so much that she has not  left and is not planning to do so in the near future. 

She loves traveling,  getting to know new cultures and languages. As you probably have guessed already, Japanese culture is very addictive and people fall in love with it. After all, there is no other country where people are so so very polite that even the most polite westerner by comparison will look like he’s missed a few years in school, at least not another country that I know of.
After getting in contact with Camilla and find out what she wanted from her photoshoot with me as a private vacation photographer, we decided to start the session at Hie Shrine, and take a few shots with the very well known iconically Red Torii Gates that typically marks the entrance.

The truth is people visit Japan for this kind of unique places and of course capture forever such amazing memories.

The torii gates tunnel are starting at the bottom of the stairs and go up the hill where the beautiful and famous Hie Shrine is situated.

The “competition” of these torii gates are those that are found in Kyoto at Fushimi Inari Shrine (for which I’ll have to visit Kyoto for the second time), but that means an over 2 hour ride with Shinkansen thus a notable extra expense. This makes for a very compelling place to go without having to go outside the metropolis.

Going back to the photoshoot, I started taking photos of Camila from the bottom of the stairs and made our way up, taking turns with the myriad of visitors that day who were “selfieing” unlimited shots. 🙂  A good tip here is to get to Hie Shrine as early as possible if you intend of taking lots of photos that will not look crowded with tourists. Once we got up on top of the hill, there were a couple of photoshoots for weddings happening so we had to wait “our turn”  for the good spots.

Now, there is a certain etiquette for worshiping at temples throughout Japan (for which I personally don’t excel in applying especially if I’m there to work as a personal travel and vacation photographer) and consists of a 3 main steps if I don’t count that one has to throw money as well- this can be as little as ¥1.
First of all, one needs to bow twice, followed by a second step consisting of a soft clap of the hands- also done twice. The 3rd step is the closing one making slowly a deep bow. Doing these steps may seem meaningless for westerners, but think of it like going to St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome (Vatican City) and make a cross, something very natural; in any case, experimenting these simple 3 steps will actually give you a nice feeling. 

Another custom step is to wash your hands before visiting the main shrine (as seen bellow) which has the meaning of cleaning both the body and mind and a great opportunity for me to make yet another great photo to document you trip.

After taking the shots needed around His Shrine, we decided to walk instead of taking a subway to Zojoji Temple and Shiba Park which are near by the Radio Tower. (The bad news is in Shiba Park, as well as in other parks, I’m not allowed to use lights unless I have a special permit to do so.)

The way from one place to another lasted for a little longer than 20 minutes, but a coffee to go might have intervened to rise up the blood sugar and caffeine intake. 🙂
Shiba Park is perfect place to get very good portraits with a special background, The Tokyo Tower. The place has an amazing vibe, filled up with people enjoying the great weather and/or having a picnic. Don’t get me wrong, it’s worth going to visit The Tower, after all, it’s one of the most known sites to visit in this big metropolis, but from up close it won’t fit in one photo as the background in your shot, nor it will look professional, trust me on this.

Since I got your attention, it would make me very happy if you hit the contact button down bellow and book me as your vacation photographer in Tokyo or beyond, throughout Japan.