What’s the Story?
You find yourself in a Japanese tea house with an adjoining garden. The serenity gradually gives way to excitement as the moment draws near when a lovely Maiko, an apprentice Geisha, will arrive. Gracing us with her beauty, we spring into action as pro photographers in our very own studio—capture the elegance and charm of a Maiko.
What We’ll Shoot
You will learn how to set up lighting and work with natural light in a traditional environment that presents various challenges as well as benefits for a photoshoot. You will also be coached on posing your subject, a lovely Maiko, in order to convey emotion and express a narrative beyond mere portraiture.
Where We’ll Explore
Our shoot takes place in a historical house in the heart of Kyoto, known as Chionsha. The house has been in the hands of the same family for over 100 years, and its heritage shows in the elegant and weathered structure. The house makes for an excellent setting for our subject, who herself is a bridge between the traditional past and our modern present. We will a find a stimulating variety of shot concepts throughout Chionsha and use them to convey the beauty and elegance of our geisha.
How Does it Work?
- 13:00 Pickup at your hotel
- 13:15 – 14:00 Prepare the shooting location and get prepared for the shoot
- 14:00 – 14:30 Meet the geisha and get to know her with casual chat
- 14:30 – 16:00 Photoshoot with the geisha
- 16:15 Finish
Louise M –
I had a great afternoon with Axel photographing Masano, a maiko. I was able to get to know her and build up a rapport before starting to photograph her. I enjoyed taking photographs and Axel’s knowledge in helping me get some great photos.
I had a great experience with Axel photographing a Maiko (Geisha apprentice). The shooting venue at a tea house associated with the Kyoto Museum is excellent.
I had a few poses and shots in mind beforehand, and Axel was able to provide us with great ideas as well. I used mostly natural light, but was also able to get a few nice high-contrast shots with the LED that popped as well.
Axel provided the right balance of instruction – letting me execute my unique vision but having some great pointers and ideas for poses as well.
Apparently, you never know which Maiko you will get, and I was lucky enough to get one that spoke some English (very good English at that). Getting to know her story was awesome.
Overall a great experience, and one that is truly memorable and unique.
My review is divided. It was an amazing experience to meet a Maiko, to spend time talking to her and getting to know her, and to be able to photograph her. However, I was disappointed that, although the workshop advertises the use of studio lighting, these were not used or available. The only light available was a small LED light which created many shadows on the subject. I do have to thank the organizers for purchasing a red umbrella which we used for some wonderful photos.
Thank you very much for your honest and direct review. We greatly appreciate such feedback as it helps us improve our service. We also take any dissatisfaction very seriously and will strive to improve this aspect of our workshop. In this case, we (the management, Lukasz & Axel) feel that we let down both yourself and the instructor who was leading the workshop on that day. Perhaps due to overconfidence in the instructor’s skill, it seems we did not provide the instructor with enough training on how to use the gear/lighting at hand to ensure fantastic results. Though we do not provide large studio lights, the provided LEDs, reflectors, and diffusers can achieve a beautiful result. However, the instructor simply did not utilize the provided equipment or the available natural light to their fullest extent. To remedy this, we are now in the process of ensuring that he is fully trained on all aspects of this workshop thanks to your invaluable feedback. We take full responsibility for the shortcomings on this workshop and will be strive to provide a complete photographic experience at all times.
Meeting a geisha one-on-one was a surreal experience. Having Axel as our guide/translator and photographic guru was awesome. The time we spent with Hinayu discussing her life and photographing her was a once in a lifetime experience. We try to do a photo tour whenever we visit a new city, and highly recommend this workshop if you have an afternoon to spare in Kyoto.