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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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! 🙂