Happy New Year!
New year’s greeting from France! I hope you had a great Christmas & New Year holidays with your loved ones anywhere in the world :)
Looking back, the year 2018 was definitely another adventurous year for me. Shot in 7 different countries and 12 different cities in the world throughout the year, including some new locations like Tallinn in Estonia and Bora Bora in French Polynesia. It’s always nice to go back to the same locations, so I can have new findings during the shoots - at the same time, it’s definitely one of my favorite moments as a photographer to be able to visit brand-new places to explore the world before the photo shoot. When I have a photo shoot at a new place, I usually visit there a few days before to scout locations for our shoot. Among the new places I visited this year, French Polynesia was my favorite. I’ve visited many “paradise” beach locations in the world - but by far, French Polynesia was THE real paradise to me. In the future I would like to write about some recommendations there.
Another “new” place for me I would like to emphasize here is Maui. Only 35 min away from my home, Oahu, Maui is a total new world. This time, I drove around the island on the road I never took before, and found super epic locations to shoot. If you are feeling some nature adventure, with cliffs and dry grass, and also lots of vines and greens… Let’s shoot in Maui this year!
Below are the 10 highlights from 2018. I will be slowly adding the blog links to each highlight this year. So stay tuned!
1. Annual Portrait shoot with Tokyo fashion buyer Mr. Kanzaki in Paris - Photographing a male solo is challenging but I always like challenges, and create something together with a person in a different field! This was our 2nd time to shoot together, and we have another one this week in Paris again.
2. Grand tour from LA - Palm Springs - Las Vegas - Northern Arizona - Orange County, totaling over 5000 miles! Started from a honeymoon shoot in Palm Springs area with a lovely Japanese couple, I drove and picked up a romantic guy Alfread from Indonesia at Las Vegas to photograph his surprise proposal to his traveling girlfriend at Horse Shoe Bend in Arizona. I got to stop by at my first American home Flagstaff AZ, then drove back to Cali for an engagement shoot in Orange County. This grand road trip for sure captured romantic stories.
3. NYC shoots - March shoot was in the snow with freezing air. The day before we had a huge snow storm and we weren’t sure how the weather was going to be… and the magic happened. The snow stopped, and created beautiful city with nice snow on the sides of the roads. In September I got to shoot my first NYC weddings in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Loved the cultural diversity in those weddings! My best moment was when I was shooting being crashed and smushed by all excited men carrying the bride and groom on chairs.
4. First time shooting a catamaran ceremony in Maui - Destination couples from Seattle, 22 years after their first encounter, they tied their knot on board! I thought it is a cool way to get married in an Hawaiian style for intimate weddings :)
5. Lucky to be able to work with a talented photographer Siiri Kumari in Estonia. I got to 2nd shoot with her at an Estonian/Lithuanian wedding in Tallinn, Estonia. “Hide the bride” game was real fun to learn, and lots of fun moments in the early summer in the Baltic. I would like to write about this wedding in the future blog.
6. Photographed my dear friend Jodi and Roli’s wedding in France. First at the city hall, then Christian church, and party at a historical castle. France has amazing range of castles all over the nation, and I am dreaming to have a styled photo session at a castle in the near future with fellow photographers. Who’s interested to join me?
7. 5 days 3 cities shoots in Portland Oregon and Palm Springs area. My first time shooting a high school senior photo with Mia, and I really enjoyed learning about this young adult about her personality and special cheer skills. Palm Springs is becoming very popular among my clients who want vast nature backdrops - I always enjoy shooting there to feel the great America.
8. Falling in love with French Polynesia - As I mentioned above, this is the real paradise. If you are like me, who like to be lost in nature and be yourself, please go to small islands like Rangiroa and Tikehau. Especially Tikehau is a perfect locations to walk on the soft pink sand with chest high clear water forever and ever, take off your bathing suit and just get lost in the calm water… Who wants to go shoot there in the paradise? I know some good spots to hit now ;) Thank you so much Kiyo and Adam to call me to shoot in Bora Bora. Without you, I didn’t know what the real paradise was! (Can you spot a black tip shark with me in the photo below?)
9. Winning awards from WedAward photo contests, and being published in Japanese wedding magazines. Always appreciate the recognitions from clients, fellow wedding specialists, and web and print media. My favorite moment is to see when my photos are being printed by couples or publishers and see them in a tangible form.
10. I can’t finish this blog post without thanking my special people. Huge thanks to my team and vendors who worked with me. Especially I would like to say thank you to wedding coordinators who recommended me to their couples: Angela, Taryn, and Sugako, talented videography company Inspired Films Hawaii who offers combo packages with me, my awesome lead editor Jasmine, everybody who follows my Instagram and social media, and everybody who supports my business and achievement!
Thank you very much for reading my first blog of the year! Let’s make 2019 another special year for us!!