2019 Cherry Blossom Photo Tour | Kyoto Geiko Portrait Session

Jul 21 | Evan | No Comments |

In 2014 I received a request to arrange a private tour in Japan for a photographer and his family. There were a few photography opportunities requested such as spending time with a master sword smith as he worked to to take portraits of a real maiko, geiko or geisha in Japan. So it was in 2014 I first started working with this (at the time) maiko and during the 2019 cherry blossom photography tour of Japan I took portraits of her for the first time as a geiko (she finished her apprenticeship and earned new title).

I’ve really enjoyed working with her and creating portraits in Kyoto with her year after year and hope to continue to bring small groups of photographers to take portraits of her for many years to come in Kyoto.

The photo below is courtesy of and created by one of our group’s photographers, Daniel Leffel. Take a look at Daniel’s website for more excellent photography not only of Japan but all over the word.

Kyoto Japan

The 2019 Cherry Blossom Photography Tour took a small group of photographers to Japan. We started in Tokyo and continued to Hiroshima, Miyajima, Himeji Castle, Kyoto and Mt. Fuji from Shizuoka and from Fuji Five Lakes. Here is the trip report from the 2019 Cherry Blossom Photography Tour of Japan and the 2018 Cherry Blossom Photo Tour of Japan. The 2020 Cherry Blossom Photo Tour of Japan is already planned and live! Limited spots are available for the 2020 Cherry Blossom Photography Tour of Japan, with first booking already reserved!

Here is a gallery of more geiko portraits taken during the 2019 cherry blossom tour of Japan.

2018 Cherry Blossom Photo Tour of Japan | Maiko Portrait Session in Kyoto

Jun 01 | Evan | No Comments |

I’ve been photographing this maiko san since 2014 and this past photography tour will be the last time I photograph her as a maiko as she is finished her apprenticeship and became a geiko (geisha are called geiko in Kyoto) in May!  A portrait session with a real maiko is always a popular request from photographers visiting Japan with me on the photography tours.

I’ve really enjoyed the portrait sessions with her in Kyoto over the years and it’s been fun to see her grow and become a fantastic model to work with.  At this point, I don’t have say anything to her until I’m ready to move to the next location or pose.  I’ve also grown and improved as a photographer myself, so it’s been fun working with her multiples times on the photography tours of Japan.

I’m already looking forward to next portrait session in Kyoto with her as a geiko san which will include a lot of changes in her style and appearance!  I will have to put together a book for her as a gift with some of my favorite portraits of her in Kyoto over the years! 

The 2018 Cherry Blossom Photography Tour took a small group of photographers to Japan.  We started in Tokyo and continued to Hiroshima, Miyajima, Himeji Castle, Kyoto and Mt. Fuji.  Here is the trip report from the 2018 Cherry Blossom Photography Tour of Japan. The 2019 Cherry Blossom Photo Tour of Japan is already planned and live!  Limited spots are available for the 2019 Cherry Blossom Photography Tour of Japan, with first booking already reserved!  Below is a gallery of more photos from our maiko portrait session in Kyoto.

2017 Private Summer Tour of Japan | Portraits and Tea Ceremony with Maiko

Aug 19 | Evan | No Comments |

While traveling to Kyoto for the private and custom tour of Japan, I arranged for a tea ceremony and private portrait session with a real maiko (geiko apprentice) in Kyoto.  I’ve taken her portraits many times before and she is almost finished with her apprenticeship and will be a geiko soon, I think by the time I see her again in the 2018 cherry blossom season in Japan!  It’s been a wonderful experience working with her over the years and seeing her progression through the maiko/geiko culture and profession in Kyoto.

We met our maiko at her tea house for a short tea ceremony and dance performance.  After chatting a little we went to a temple in Kyoto for our portrait session.  Having photographed her before in Kyoto at this temple, I knew some of the poses I wanted to try again and some new poses I wanted to try.  In this sense, photography locations for me can be similar to returning to a restaurant I like in that I know what menu items I already had and enjoyed but interesting in trying something new.

Taking a step back with restaurants in general, even more so when I do tours in Tokyo and Kyoto as I know my favorite restaurants to eat in Japan but there is always a new place I want to try and visit! Back to photography though! Luckily, with photography, especially now it’s digital, I can try as many poses as time permits and get the instant feedback on how the portraits are coming out.  In this case, working with a professional model, our maiko made it hard for us to take bad portraits!

This was actually my first entire portrait session using only my Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and no nikon gear.  After editing in raw and comparing to my portraits of our maiko from the same location last year with my Nikon D750, I’m very pleased with the results!

See more photos below or the full report to see more posts from the custom and private photography tour of Japan.

Private and Custom Tour of Japan | Maiko Portrait Session in Kyoto

Aug 04 | Evan | No Comments |

Japan Photo Guide Kyoto 109

Just another day of taking portraits in Kyoto!  Sometimes I have to take a step back and really appreciate these special portrait sessions in Kyoto as after developing a relationship with a tea house in Kyoto, portrait sessions with a maiko have become a special experience that I’ve been able to offer on almost all my recent photography tours of Kyoto.  Taking portraits of a real maiko is always one of the highlights of the tour and an unforgettable experience!

Japan Photo Guide Kyoto 074  Japan Photo Guide Kyoto 106

 

This portrait session was on a moderately hot Summer day in Kyoto.  You wouldn’t know it by the sunny weather we had, but it was also in the middle of the rainy season in Kyoto.  This means that we had a lot of green to work with!   Her beautiful purple kimono looked fantastic with all the green, green and more green!

Japan Photo Guide Kyoto 095 Japan Photo Guide Kyoto 100 Japan Photo Guide Kyoto 101

We got lucky at our portrait location in Kyoto as the temple was actually undergoing a little renovation.  Between the renovation and being a little away from central Kyoto, we had the entire place to ourselves to take portraits.

Japan Photo Guide Kyoto 119

Japan Photo Guide Kyoto 116 Japan Photo Guide Kyoto 118

It was also really nice for Isabelle to take portraits of her and chat with her a bit as they are very similar in age but lives they lead are so drastically different!  After the first two photos below of the two girls together, there are a few portraits created by and courtesy of Isabelle Nazha Photography.

Japan Photo Guide Kyoto 128 Japan Photo Guide Kyoto 140

Photo Created by and Courtesy of Isabelle Nazha Photography

Photo Created by and Courtesy of Isabelle Nazha Photography

Photo Created by and Courtesy of Isabelle Nazha Photography

Photo Created by and Courtesy of Isabelle Nazha Photography

Photo Created by and Courtesy of Isabelle Nazha Photography

Photo Created by and Courtesy of Isabelle Nazha Photography

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