Photowalk: Rena in Kanazawa Bunko

We teamed-up with model Rena for a walk last weekend.

Somewhere I have wanted to explore for a while is the area around Kanazawa-bunko, down on the Keikyu Line past Yokohama. Shomyo-ji Temple sounded like a lovely place, by all accounts, and is surrounded by trees and there is a 2km trail behind the temple.

We headed off there for a walk last weekend with fashion model Rena, for a bit of photography of the area itself and for people to get some practice of shooting a model [or just shooting portraits] out in ‘the world’.

The weather was a bit drab but some nice locations within the temple grounds and then further on from Shomyoji, down by the seaside, provided great backdrops for Rena and gave everyone a little bit of time to shoot outside the confines of the city.

Shooting with a model takes practice but it can be very satisfying when it works out. Some models, like Rena, are very experienced and know what to do in front of the camera. You still need to direct them a little but models like Rena, once on board with your idea, can pose, change pose and just work the whole scene without much added direction. That said, you still need to constantly have some sort of dialogue; ‘yes, great’; ‘hold that pose, that looked perfect’; move just a little to the left’ etc etc.

And get into the habit of showing the model your shots as you go along. They’ll see little things they can change about their pose or look and the whole shoot will move along nicely, happily and with everyone knowing what is going on. Plus, it’s good manners.


…………………………………………………………….. it’s not good when you are shooting with anyone.

They fill in the gaps in dialogue with their own thoughts and guesses as to what is going on: ‘does the photographer know what he/she is doing?; ‘am i posing ok?’.

Silence between model and photographer is a session-killer. You don’t need to talk ten to the dozen or tell loads of jokes, although that might help some people relax if they are not used to posing. Do whatever you think works. Be natural and your model will feel comfortable and pose naturally for you.

Sometimes it helps to take along some sketches or some pics you’ve torn out of magazines, with similar poses or looks to the ones you want your model to do for you. If you don’t read magazines anymore, keep a scrapbook using a program like Evernote or keep an account on Tumblr, which can function as a great scrapbook of ideas; made of pics you have found on the web. With an iPhone, on location, you can easily share these ideas with the model and everyone’s on the same page.

Creating something from nothing: re-inventing the wheel. These tasks are hard. Rather than starting from a blank page, give yourself and your model a break and keep a scrapbook.

Here is one of Jeff Laitila’s shots… with his Mamiya ZD SLR, digi medium-format camera and – I think – the Canon 200mm lens fitted to it. Great work, Jeff.


Here are some of my shots from the walk. I mainly shot pics of Rena. Cos I like shooting pics of Rena. She’s a dream to work with and I like having some nice shots to give her when she comes out on our walks and shoots.

These were all shot in the Nikon. I did shoot some with the Mamiya but I haven’t processed those yet. Lenses? in this gallery the shots are mostly from the 50mm f/1.2 Ai, 50mm f/1.4 Ai and the 80-200mm f/2.8 ED IF.

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About Japanorama

Japanorama is run by British professional photographer, Alfie Goodrich, and provides practical photography teaching in Tokyo. Weekly workshops, group and one-to-one lessons bring together photographers of all ages and abilities.

We also welcome submissions of photos and articles for this site, so please get in touch via our contact page. Thanks. © 2015 All Rights Reserved

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