Tuesday, October 18, 2016


This portrait session was done at the Japanese Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, California during their annual Matsuri where I was their official photographer. 

In Part 1 I showed some images of the bride in the traditional all white outfit with the head shroud—which symbolically covers her head to hide the “Horns of Jealousy”. In this part she has changed into the very colorful reception outfit and removed the head shroud.  

During the Matsuri there are traditional Japanese musicians, dancers and artists who combine their talents to recreate the look and feel of Japanese culture centuries old—well aided by the authentic Hakone Gardens ambience.

One of my favorite events was the work by a Japanese performance artist that set-up two very large canvases (each 10 feet x 20 feet) and then painted them using brooms to the accompaniment of traditional music. Then while the paint was still wet he would toss or blow colored powders from his hands to accent the black Japanese calligraphy. Of course, as soon as he was done I HAD to get my bride in front of these perfect backgrounds for yet another look to her portraits.

One of my favorites…

 f4.0 @ 1/400 sec., ISO 400; lens @ 200mm
With the Hakone pond in-between us, my lens at 200mm, I used hand signals to position her where I wanted her to stand, position of her shoulders and where to look.  At least with the pond between us none of the many amateur photographers in attendance could step in front of my camera! 

Close ups of the bride Not Looking at the Camera are one of my required portraits…

 f5.6 @ 1/800 sec., ISO 800; lens @ 200mm
Creating some nice Bokeh in the background; with my lens at 200mm the f-stop does not matter so much. Just like all weddings, I show the details of her ensemble…

f4.5 @ 1/1000 sec., ISO 800; lens @ 200mm
As I said in Part 1, moving the bride around the gardens for different looks (with a variety of backgrounds) is always my goal when I’m outside.  However, using only natural light when your subject is some distance from your camera position requires careful placement of the subject.  One of my basic rules is to not allow direct sunlight to strike my subject’s face (actual sunset light is the exception). Since we were doing these portraits between 3 and 4pm in May the light was high and harsh, so, I kept the sun behind her creating a powerful rim light…

f4.5 @ 1/500 sec., ISO 400; Lens @ 200mm
You can see why traditional ethnic weddings are so much fun (and my favorite of all weddings). Their color and details are a joy to photograph and they enable to the photographer, with an artistic eye, to create a truly unique portfolio that will WOW both clients and prospective clients.

As always, have a question don’t hesitate to ask…’Til next week…

Author:  Jerry W. Venz, PPA Master Photographer, Craftsman, Certified
Training site:  http:www.LightAtTheEdge.com
Client site: http:www.TheStorytellersUsa.com

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