Personal Branding Portraits with Fatima

A few weeks ago, Fatima commissioned me to create portraits for her social media platforms and personal branding. She’s a wonderfully talented professional dancer from Argentina and the Director of Ãtmã Nur Dance Studio in her home country. Fatima is currently in Japan as a dancer and teacher at the Latin Cultural Center Tiempo in Fukuoka.
A practitioner of several dance forms, including Arabic Folklore, Bellydance and Dabke, she wanted photos for promotional materials and to showcase her costuming. I immediately knew I wanted to photograph her in a clean, uncomplicated environment with lighting that was dynamic and simple at the same time.
When we met on the shoot day, she was calm, collected and ready to get to work, which made my job a lot easier! A professional performer, she was easy to direct and injected her own movements and style into the poses. We had a great session, and she loved the results! You can see the full shoot at this link.

Projection Portraits with Julia

In late 2023, I was in a creative slump and wanted to try something slightly different to cheer myself up. I initially planned to do a small self-portrait series, but my friend Julia reached out to me during that period. She wanted to have some portraits done and had an idea in mind that I liked - using a projector as the light source. It surprised me a little because I planned on using a projector for my self-portraits! (Those who follow me on Instagram might have seen a few of my test shots on my Instagram Stories). 

You may remember Julia from the series of portraits I did with her in late 2022 (you can see the images and read about it here!), so it felt right to collaborate with her again. As we were looking to do something quick and fun, we decided to do a quick setup in my apartment with a sheet as the backdrop and a cheap projector. This setup had quite a few limitations, but there was fun in working around them. We did a few colour shots and a few in black and white; ultimately, we had a great time and enjoyed the results! It also reminded me that when I pick up my camera, it doesn’t have to be a massive production or a client assignment; it’s ok to have fun!

Personal Branding Portraits with Laetitia

Recently, I had the absolute pleasure of working with Laetitia, a devoted taiko player with an incredible passion for the art form.

Laetitia’s journey into the world of taiko is nothing short of inspiring. Having moved to Japan to pursue her dream of becoming a professional taiko player, she shows dedication and determination in every beat of her drum. Her upcoming audition for a prestigious taiko troupe called for a series of fresh headshots and athletic portraits, capturing both her professionalism and her spirited energy.

From the moment we met, her enthusiasm was infectious. She has a vibrant personality and a genuine love for taiko that made every frame I captured a delight.

One of my favourite parts of this shoot was working with her to capture her athleticism. Taiko demands physicality, and Laetitia’s was wonderfully highlighted in the athletic portraits. Whether poised in a stance ready to strike the drum or captured mid-motion, her commitment to her craft was clearly evident.

Working with Laetitia was an absolute joy. Her collaborative spirit and openness made the entire process not just smooth but immensely enjoyable. It’s not every day that you get to work with someone so passionate and dedicated to their art, and Laetitia’s commitment to her craft was inspiring!

As a photographer, being able to capture the essence of someone’s journey is an honour. Laetitia’s story and commitment to her dream of becoming a professional taiko player truly fuelled our energy in the portraits we created together. I have no doubt that her talent and passion, coupled with these images, will make a compelling case for her inclusion in the taiko troupe she hopes to join.

It was an absolute pleasure to work with Laetitia, and I wish her nothing but the best on her incredible journey in the world of taiko.

Joining Forces with Wonderful Machine!

I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve joined forces with Wonderful Machine, a leading art production agency in the world of media! This collaboration marks a milestone in my career as a photographer.

Wonderful Machine is well known for its extensive directory of over 500 talented photographers from across the globe. They’ve established themselves as a trusted and reliable resource for clients in need of top-notch visual content. Being accepted into their roster of photographers is something I’ve had my eye on for quite some time, and I’m happy to have achieved it.

With this new collaboration, I’m ready to expand my horizons and delve deeper into editorial, corporate, and brand narrative photography, and I’m eager to continue bringing my unique style and perspective to these areas of the industry. Whether it’s capturing a compelling story, showcasing the essence of a brand, or crafting stunning corporate imagery, I’m fully prepared to take on new challenges and create visuals that leave a lasting impact.

To my wonderful clients and followers, thank you for your continuous support throughout my journey. Your encouragement and belief in my work have been instrumental, and I’m certain this collaboration with Wonderful Machine will only enhance my ability to deliver exceptional photography services to you.

Above: One of my images for WestJet Magazine on the Wonderful Machine home page. Thanks to Lara del Torre, one of their Associate Photo Editors for sending it to me!

If you have any upcoming projects or collaborations in mind, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Let’s work together to create compelling stories. Stay tuned for more updates and exciting projects on the horizon! 

Reportage for Japan Distilled Koji Spirits Cocktail Competition

A few weeks ago, Stephen Lyman of Honkaku Spirits and Japan Distilled contacted me to photograph their first Koji Spirits Cocktail Competition. If his name sounds familiar, he wrote the excellent Best in Travel 2023 article about Fukuoka! You can read about my experience taking photos for that feature here

As a man who knows his drinks (and has written a book about it!), Stephen was uniquely qualified to judge the submissions alongside author Matt Alt, graphic designer Pablo Pineda, and Fukuoka native Yuko Nonaka, who all have deep knowledge of Japanese liquor. Bar Ugle in Fukuoka City was the staging ground for the competition, with the recipes made by Takuma Tsutsumi, Bar Ugle’s immensely skilled head bartender who did an excellent job with each recipe. 

Interior photo Bar Ugle, Yakuin, Fukuoka.

Bar Ugle, Yakuin, Fukuoka

Working alongside everyone was incredibly fun and an experience I’ll remember for quite some time. To learn more about the Japan Distilled Koji Spirits Cocktail Competition, click this link to read their blog post (and listen to their podcast!). 

From left; Pablo Pineda, Yuko Nonaka, Takuma Tsutsumi, Matt Alt and Stephen Hyman

Street Portraits with Minori in Shibuya

Last month while in Tokyo, I had the absolute pleasure of photographing Minori!

Portrait of a Japanese woman, Minori Abe, with blonde highlights in her hair, standing in front of a store window with a yellow neon sign.

During the promotion of my most recent mini-portrait sessions, we had a lovely conversation and decided to do a simple environmental shoot on the streets of Shibuya. In less than an hour, we created gorgeous images using the environment as a backdrop.

In my blog post about my portrait session with Sally, I mentioned that it’s paramount for my subjects to feel as comfortable as possible in front of the camera. I firmly believe you don’t have to be a model to strike a pose and enjoy doing it, so Minori and I had a lot of fun trying different kinds. 

What I found was that she was a natural at it! She’s very bubbly and dynamic but also can pull out steely and focused expressions. I wanted to photograph her in a way that captured this essence as we wandered around the streets. I love the variety we got in the end, and I’m happy to share these images with everyone!

UEKI Steel Material for TRUe Magazine

In December of 2022, the lovely people at the BrandsOnSpeed agency contacted me and tasked me with creating images for issue 17 of TRUe, the customer magazine of the TRUMPF Group. My last assignment with them when incredibly well, so I was happy to work with them again. 

I travelled to Utsunomiya in the prefecture of Tochigi to photograph Yoko Ueki, the CEO of UEKI Steel Material (植木鋼材), and Hideo Nakamura, director of business development.

TRUe was writing a story about the strength of heritage and using the past to forge a new future. UEKI Steel embarked on a new venture of using Kumiko woodcraft techniques with precise laser-cutting technology to create beautiful works of industrial art. Spearheaded by Ms Ueki, who had this epiphany in 2019, the company spun off a new line called ’maasa’ that creates a range of products from lampshades to wall bars and jewellery. The key to this being possible is a TRUMPF laser-cutting machine. 

When I arrived at UEKI Steel, I had the chance to meet Ms Ueki and Mr Nakamura. They gave me a quick tour of the facility to see the laser-cutting machine and then the maasa showroom with beautiful, precision-cut products on display. I immediately started mapping out the best ways to photograph not only Ms Ueki and Mr Nakamura but the products and the TRUMPF laser-cutter. I had already made a shot list; the only thing left was the method. 

In the end, I decided to photograph things from a journalistic perspective. I asked them to talk about their favourite pieces from maasa and had them move around the room. During all of this, I made sure to capture various products in the photos as well. We also got some great images with the TRUMPF laser-cutter, and while in front of it, a joke was uttered that got some laughs from both Ms Ueki and Mr Nakamura. Sadly the joke was in Japanese and a bit too quick to make out, but because I was focused, I captured one of my favourite images of the entire shoot! 

Overall the assignment was fun, and it was a pleasure to work with both BrandsOnSpeed and the TRUMPF Group again! You can see the full gallery of images here.

A LinkedIn Refresh: Portraits with Sally

Half-body landscape portrait of Sally Davies.

Hi everyone! It’s been a while, but I’m back and happy to share more of my recent work with you! 

While promoting my most recent mini-portrait sessions, I spoke with my friend Sally Davies from the firm recruitment Robert Half. She’s a talented Recruiting Manager with their Digital Marketing and Brand Communication team, who covers roles such as brand communication and management, digital marking and media planning. Being a high-level professional, she felt it was time she updated her headshots and portraits for her online presence, and we discussed how best to get it done. 

Like so many people, Sally isn’t always fond of having her photo taken, so I made it my goal to make her feel as comfortable as possible during our session. As a photographer, I find it’s important to connect with my clients to make them feel at ease in front of the camera; not everyone is a model, even if they look like one! We spent a little time talking through the looks and poses to go for (with me demonstrating each pose, it makes it easier!) and then started a casual conversation while I warmed up with a few photos. When she began smiling at the beginning, I knew we were in for a good session, and the results show exactly that!

Thank you, Sally, for trusting me to take these wonderful photos of you!

Happy New Year!

My first blog post for the new year; welcome! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful time bringing it in, and if not, I hope the year gets better for you.

I don’t have much to say this time, but I would like to share some of the last images I took in 2022. 

Towards the end of the year, I began taking short walks with my camera around my town. I’ve never considered myself a landscape, architecture or street photographer, but I love looking for interesting compositions and light and shadow wherever I can find them. It can be during a studio shoot or a photo walk in a rural town in southern Japan; it doesn’t matter. What matters is making an image that makes me and my viewers feel something.

These are just a smattering of shots. Sometimes I would go on multiple walks during an entire week but only take one photo. Sometimes I’ll take multiple in a single night. But it felt good to take them either way.

To that end, here are some photos I took on the streets that made me feel something. And I hope you like them too.

Portrait Testing with Julia

A few weeks ago I was in a bit of a rut and decided to do a small project to keep my skills intact. As a photographer, it’s vital that you keep working and practicing, even if it’s not a paid job. I hadn’t done studio portraits in a while, so I put together a mood board with the type of lighting I was looking for and started the planning process. I reached out to my friend Julia to see if she was interested in being a model for me, and thankfully she said yes! She had experience working as a model before, so I was grateful for her help. 

We found some excellent studio locations for rent, but sadly they were all booked out; that’s when I decided to improvise. I went to the nearest Yodobashi Camera and bought some sheets of grey paper, then took them back to the hotel I was staying at and stuck one to the wall. My general rule of thumb is that I’ll always try to work with a neutral grey backdrop; it’s easy to make it white, black or to colour it with a gelled light. 

As this was just a test shoot for me to get my groove back, so to speak, we kept things very simple. We started with a bare face, then added a bit of colour to the lips and then eyeliner to complete the look. Julia’s eyes are piercing blue; I wanted to highlight them, so I used a clamshell light setup with a reflector. This ensured sure the catchlights were right where I wanted them. Though minimal makeup was used, the images were shot and edited with the spirit of a beauty shoot with a very light touch. Julia did a wonderful job with me working as a one-man-band and on a limited timeframe.

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