Monday, 31 December 2012

Japan Dec 2012 Day 4: Kyoto 10th Wedding Anniversary Photo-shoot

We wanted to do a 10th Wedding Anniversary photo-shoot and where else but Japan? This also commemorates our 10th time to Japan. When I saw Trace and Dee's gallery on the internet, I knew they’d be the perfect people for our shoot =) They are based in Tokyo and having the shoot there would have saved us some money but we wanted it in Kyoto because Kyoto is our favourite among all Japanese cities for its very traditional architecture, richness of culture and of cos, lovely maple leaves and bamboo grove =)

It took Dee, Eric (from the kimono rental shop) and I many emails before we finalized the details. My greatest worry was bad weather because that'll mean taking only indoor shots. We heaved a sigh of relief when Eric told us the weather for the day will be good. Cold but good =)

We arrived the day before the shoot to select the kimono (Chris only had one choice) and I wrote about it here.

We arrived at the kimono rental store at about 0830 and two very young stylists started on my hair and make-up. I was expecting some really old Japanese woman haha. Unlike in Singapore where some stylists tend to go overboard and you end up looking like a Chinese opera actress, the make-up artists in Japan go for the very light and natural look. For photo-shoots, you really need more dramatic make-up, especially for the eyes, so I had to tell the stylist to add more colour haha!

Just before they finished the make-up, Dee and Trace turned up and started the shoot of the preps =)

Putting on the kimono was no joke! No bra, only a small vest-like top was worn. I wore my leggings to keep myself warm. To create a streamlined chest, they piled cotton wool and towels to make it flat. Then the two stylists tugged and pulled, tugged and pulled to tighten the obi and tie it into a pretty bow. I was very happy with the look =) It took me a total of almost 1.5 hours while it took Chris 10 mins to get dressed hahaha

Our first stop was Gion Shirakawa, a quiet street with very traditional backdrop, perfect for a kimono shoot. We were hoping for some remnant autumn foliage and was very glad to see some =) When we finished, a TV crew started shooting some TV drama and cordoned off the area so we were thankful for the apt timing. 

We took cabs to Eikando, a temple perfect for momiji-viewing but there was no momiji left by the time we got there. The architecture was, nevertheless, beautiful for a kimono-shoot =) No momiji also meant no crowd which was great for us.

After 15 mins of wearing the kimono, I was looking forward to getting out of it because my shoulders ached carrying the weight. We headed back to the kimono rental shop where I changed and the stylists re-styled my hair into something more casual. The first stop for the casual shoot was Arashiyama’s bamboo walk which ended with the Sagano Romantic train ride.

We skipped the Arashiyama Hanatouro (bamboo grove light-up at night) as we wanted to include Fushimi Inari. So we popped back to New Miyako Hotel for a quick change of clothes before catching the last mins of daylight in Fushimi Inari. We were really impressed that Dee had her own “light-sabre” which she used to light up the rows of tori gates in the background!

I love the shot of us boarding the local train. Taking trains is a huge part of our Japan travel and this definitely captures all the lovely memories of the beautiful places we have visited together. The shoot ended in Kyoto station where there was a gigantic Christmas tree and splendid lights display on the stairs. Of cos Melody has to be featured somewhere since she is the first gift from Chris to me and has been with us on every Japan trip =)

Overall, we enjoyed the shoot very much because the photographers made us feel very at ease and we were instructed what to do and how to pose. While Dee gave instructions for the posed shots, Trace was hiding somewhere with a different lens capturing the more candid shots. We’re also glad we got them rather than a Japanese photographer because there was no communication problem since they’re Australian and they don’t need to follow “rules” when doing the kimono shoot haha. We were very tickled by how the stylists made us do very stereotypical Japanese poses. Thanks, Dee and Trace for the wonderful pictures!

Rental of the kimono, make-up, hair and kimono-styling was from Kyoto Weddings and cost about SGD$1600 and the photography from 37frames was about SGD$3000. Although I felt Dee and Trace were absolutely worth it, the kimono rental is very expensive but we didn't have much choice for exquisite kimono and staff who can speak English.

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