This post has been on hold for awhile. I shot this photo session with Loretta and Boomer back in February, and now get to finally share it. Loretta is a YouTube celebrity (@kemushichan) that I have known of, and shared mails with, for years, but had never actually met, and Boomer is her fiancee. They wanted some photos taken to announce their upcoming wedding, and now they have announced it, so I am sharing these photos from our session. Loretta lives in the Tokyo area, but agreed to come down to Nagoya for our session, and to catch up with other friends. I like to get a variety of styles and moods when I do a photo session, so I suggested we meet at Flaria (a garden area and event center with a Victorian look) and then walk to the the Osu Kannon area to find more urban and traditionally Japanese settings. As mentioned in previous posts, directing people as to how to pose is not my strongest attribute as a photographer, but with Loretta and Boomer, that was not a problem at all. I suggested we start with some seated shots next to the wall, but before having to say anything more, Loretta and Boomer started in chatting, joking together, being affectionate... And, I had the easy job of just choosing my moments and releasing the shutter. Perhaps because Loretta and Boomer are used to being in front of the camera when making YouTube videos, they seemed completely relaxed from start to finish, and doing the shoot was a joy.
After the seated photos, we found a garden area with a trellis and took some standing photos there. Loretta surprised me by suddenly jumping on Boomer's back for a piggy-back ride! (Did you notice the snow on the bushes? Don't let Loretta and Boomer's clothes fool you. It was freezing! But, they had several changes of clothes they wanted to wear for the shoot, so they braved the cold! I guess being New Yorkers, they were used to it. I, on the other hand, was in full winter gear.)
In one part of the park, there is a natural stone "window" and a gazebo type building so we did some photos there for a different feel. Here again, their playfulness was fun to document. I didn't have to give any instruction at all.
Next, we got some walking shots on the bridge. Using my long lens, and with the trees in the background, it did not seem like we were in the middle of a big city.
Our last location at Flarie Gardens was near the pillars. To me, the pillars had a European feel, that did not seem like Japan. For this series, I liked the black and white look, for its classic, timeless feel.
Satisfied with what we'd gotten at Flarie, we decided to head out walking around the Osu Kannon district to see what we could find. The first place we stopped was a small Japanese shrine. After the European feel of Flarie, we wanted something that felt more Japanese.
After the shrine we started walking to the much larger Osu Kannon Temple area. Along the way, there was a little side street with a kushi-katsu (fried pork on skewers) restaurant on it. The ambient light was turning cooler, and contrasted with the red color of the lantern and the warmish light coming from the restaurant. I decided to get out my flash at this point, to isolate Loretta and Boomer from the background a bit more. They finally put on winter clothes for this one, as it fit the mood, and again I didn't give instruction. I thought the holding hands and jumping, as though Boomer was keeping Loretta from flying away, was a great idea. What a fun couple to photograph!
The Osu Kannon temple area is big and dramatic, so I decided to get a wider shot that took in more of the environment. I exposed for the ambient so as not to wash out the details of the temple in the background, but also added an off-camera flash for "the kiss" shot to add some drama.
As the light had become soft with evening, I thought it would be a good chance to get some close-up shots, both individually and together.
And, finally, they wanted a photo with this "Lily" sign, as that is the name of their dog. By now, it was dark so lighting had become tricky, but we managed to get in a couple (and for them to model another change of clothes!) This shoot was great fun, and I was honored that they chose me to document this special day.
Check out Loretta's amazing YouTube channel (sometimes featuring Boomer). She is fluent in Japanese, talks about and teaches about life in Japan, and is an incredible videographer and editor. https://www.youtube.com/user/kemushichan
Also, Loretta and Boomer have started a new channel featuring both of them. They are full of charm and humor, and have great chemistry together. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAZ3ETrKHKXxHg1OFQETtGA