Saturday, September 28, 2013

Senior shoot with Alex at the Southeast Botanical Gardens

Alex's Mum Carmen wanted to get some senior photos of Alex as he is graduating here in Okinawa soon. This kind of shoot is still relatively new to me as we don't really have senior shoots back in Australia. 

We took a nervous Alex out to the newly opened Southeast Botanical Gardens to wander around the park making a few images. Alex was super camera shy at first and that was coming through in the initial photos. Thats when a photographers most important tool comes into play. Communication skills!

I learnt very early on in my photography career that the power of speech plays a big part in getting good natural and relaxed looking portraits. Thats why I always try to find a way to connect with my subjects be it a sport, hobby or what ever. You will notice as soon as you hit on something they are interested in and they will automatically start to relax, open up and the photos will look more natural. 

Here are a few more from our little wander around the park. 

Big thanks to my assistant for the day Chris Myers!

If your interested in having a Senior location shoot here on Okinawa or (just in case) Las Vegas in November 2013 then drop me an email here or check out my main website for details, testimonials etc.. Thanks for dropping by!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Shooting Okinawa Shore Break

Many people when they think of Okinawa think of the beautiful beaches and world class diving but most don't realize there is some great surfing to be had around this little island as well. 
Inspired by people like Clark Little I decided to get out in some small shore break just near my house in Yomitan to try and catch some of mother nature doing her thing. Although not the biggest waves this day by any means it was still a good chance to get in it and get thrown around a bit all the while trying to not smash my Ikelite dive housing on the coral and sharp rock. 

The difficult part is keeping those pesky water drops off the front of my underwater housings large 8 inch front dome port housing the Canon 8-15mm f4L fisheye which is attached to a Canon 5DmkII. 

Right now I just use the "spit and dunk" method which involves rubbing some spit on the front dome, giving it a quick dunk then quickly frame, focus and make the shot hopefully before too many water drops form on the dome. I have heard of other methods such as rubbing raw potato on the dome but have not tried other methods yet as I usually only use the housing for scuba and snorkeling as it is a dive housing and quite heavy for holding above the water. 

For this reason I'm currently looking at selling my Canon 7D and putting that money towards a surf/splash housing for my 5DmkIII. 

Anyway here are just a few first attempts at catching a few small waves as they crash on the Okinawa shores. 

Interested in coming to Okinawa for a surfing or stand up paddle trip? Need a guest house with a pro surfer, great guy and someone who knows all the best areas to surf in Okinawa? Drop by my good mate Danny Melhado's Facebook page for his company Happy Surfing Okinawa.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Tommy & Tracy from Hong Kong, Okinawa pre wedding location shoot

Combining long exposure with short exposure for something a little different

I recently had the pleasure of meeting and being the photographer for Tommy & Tracy from Hong Kong. They plan to get married next year but want to do their pre wedding photo shoot here in Okinawa. I was happy to help them get the memorable photos they wanted to show on their wedding day.

Again the weather was perfect although pretty hot. It was one of those days with perfect skies with nice puffy clouds which are always great for outdoor photography.

Tommy & Tracy were staying in a hotel down in Naha which is about 1 hour from here in Yomitan. We offer a hotel to hotel pick up and drop off service when you have your photoshoot with fotoShisa Photography. Then we brought them up to Gala and then on to Cape Zanpa before dropping them at Lazor chapel, Alivila resort for Tracy's sisters wedding.

Without any further ado here are a few samples from out double location photo shoot.

Like to see what other locations there are to shoot in Okinawa? Check out a new page I just posted to my website with samples from plenty of locations and small descriptions about the locations. 

Use Professional Equipment for the Best Selfies Take the Selfie Out of the Bathroom

We have seen them, photos consumed a bathroom mirror, cell phone or even worse, an iPad, held high, off center subject, glare from your flash, maybe even the dreaded "duck face". We are speaking about the typical selfie. Just simply because you want to post a photo of what you're wearing or a new tattoo does not mean that you are only capable of taking a picture inside the bathroom mirror. With several key purchases, you'll be able to take great selfies that seem to be like we were holding taken by a professional.
 The initial step is to use a camera or a phone with an above average timer. Timers have become more sophisticated, meaning you will not have ten seconds to run and pose. Some cameras and phones are even voice activated, meaning it is possible to take your picture if you are ready. Another big plus with modern cameras is because have internal wifi or even 4G so you can post your expert selfie online within minutes, without having to wait to upload for your computer.

 In case you post a lot of selfies, you probably know that some of the worst lighting you may get is the fluorescent lighting before many bathroom mirrors. Florescent lighting creates ugly shadows and messes up the color of your clothing or perhaps your complexion. If you post lots of selfies, especially to show off your clothing, invest in a photography lighting kits like the ones featured on For your initial investment in professional grade lighting, you can get rid of the severity of flash photography or awful florescent lighting. Instead, you'll be able to set up your lighting in a manner that gives you to be able to take selfies that appear to be great. Unless you have a particularly photogenic spot in your own home, a background can also add a professional touch in your selfie. Get a neutral photography background so you are what shines in your picture, not the wall or perhaps toilet stalls that relate up in most selfies. For and post a great deal of selfies, a few investments in good photographic equipment for instance a camera, lighting or perhaps a background may make your selfie look world's superior to the typical pose while watching bathroom mirror. These few investments will require your selfies to a higher level, looking a lot more like a professional photo shoot.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

fotoShisa Photography turns 1 and a look back at my first year running my own photography business

Our little photo company fotoShisa turns 1! Well actually it was a couple of days ago but its the beginning of the wedding season here in Okinawa which means if I'm not shooting I'm home trying to keep up with the photo selecting, editing and print ordering.

Looking back on the year its been a fun journey with lots of new experiences, new places visited and I've had the privilege of meeting lots of new interesting people from around the world. Opportunities have opened up to allow me to get work published in magazines like Practical Photography, Island Traveler, Okinawa island guide, Peach and Jetstar in flight magazines to name a few. Myself and Hawaiian surf photographer Josh Lacar have opened a photography art gallery called Ao Moana where you can view/purchase our prints and enjoy a coffee or Hawaiian snacks.

One of my main goals of starting my own photography company was to take my business global, meaning destination weddings, location prewedding / engagement shoots and to teach photography workshops. So far this year I've had the great experience and pleasure of shooting destination weddings in Taipei, Taiwan,  Queensland, Australia, Oahu, Hawaii, Carmel Highlands, California and even a wedding at Disneyland in Los Angeles. Next up I'll be heading to Las Vegas in November to teach a private photography workshop for a week and possibly some engagement photo shoots on location around Las Vegas.

Also in the works right now is a sponsorship deal with a photography company. More on that once it's all official.

In the past year we have also delve heavily into underwater photography with myself and Haruna both getting our Padi Scuba licences and investing in an underwater DSLR housing. This has opened up a whole new world of things to photograph. The highlight so far being the beautiful Sea Turtles myself and Haruna have had the opportunity to photograph here on various locations around Okinawa and its surrounding islands. One photo in particular has been popular and has already sold several prints and been published in Practical Photography magazine in the UK.

It hasn't been all fun and games though. It's been lots and lots of hard work as well as we learn new things about marketing, setting up a business and organizing various insurances that we need to cover things like photography gear while traveling abroad, insurance for customers while in our care etc... Luckily Haruna is being a great help taking care of most of that because I'm pretty hopeless at organizing that kind of stuff. I have also found out that I don't really get full day's off anymore as there is always something that needs to be done like editing photos, replying to emails, answering photo questions, marketing, blogging and continually adding new content to the main website

All in all though I would say it has been a successful and fun first year and although it was definitely scary to up and quit my full time wedding photography job that I have been doing for the past 7 or so years I would never go back to working full time for the Japanese wedding companies.
They were a fantastic experience and allowed me to be paid while I learnt from great but strict Japanese photography mentors and cut my teeth on a 1000 or so Japanese weddings. It was a great confidence builder and an honor not many even top professional wedding photographers can say they have photographed 1000+ weddings in their career, I'm well over that number now.

fotoShisa Photography would really like to express big thanks to all those that helped get the company where it is today! Thank you for all the great comments on the images on our Facebook page at in case you haven't "liked" already 8) Thanks for all the help and suggestions for setting up the company.
Also a big thank you to all those that left a testimonial message on the fotoShisa website

Lastly to show our appreciation fotoShisa is offering $50 off location packages until the end of the year if booked between now and the end of September using the special secret code Happy Birthday fotoShisa when you contact us

For the next year we will be striving to make even better images, and an even better unforgettable experience for our customers from all over the world.

Thank you all very much!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Taiwan pre wedding location, Okinawa!

Here are just a few samples from a recent location shoot with a couple from Taiw

Locations used were Murasaki Mura and Bios on the hill. 
Interested in having an engagement, family or pre-wedding photography session in Okinawa? Then give me an email or drop by my main website for more information, samples and testimonials from other clients. 

Thanks for dropping by!

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Flyboard Okinawa!

Me getting a little altitude on the Flyboard. 

Went over to Uken beach with Haruna and our good mate Hiro who owns and runs the Flyboard business here in Okinawa. If you haven't seen or heard of Flyboarding yet it basically feels like being Ironman on the water. This water jet pack fun as just made its way to Okinawa in the last 6 months or so and is getting really popular. 
This was my 2nd time trying my hand at Flyboarding and this time I had a lot more fun than my first attempt where I was mostly slamming into the ocean and drinking lots of sea water. Im now able to keep my balance, go higher and try more aggressive turns etc.. Back flips next time! Maybe...

Anyway here are a few more photos from that session with myself, Haruna & Hiro. 
All images were photographed with the Canon 1DmkIV with 300mm f2.8L lens from the shore or from in the water with the Canon 5DmkII in my Ikelite dive housing with 8-15mm f4L fisheye attached. 

Shots of me were taking by Haruna. 

Working on some low altitude turn technique first. 

Me about to eat it hard! 

Hiro grabbing some board making it all look too easy

Hiro in the clouds

Hiro helping Haruna get strapped in for her first go

Haruna on her first time ever Flyboarding

Hiro spraying some water

If you want to try Flyboarding in Okinawa for cheaper than the other places are doing it contact me or hit up my good mate Hiroyuki of Okinawa Flyboarding to book a session. 
Find him and more info here on his Facebook Okinawa Fly boarding page