October 22nd 2017, typhoon Lan reaches Japan, bringing with it ferocious winds. Most people welcomed that day with fear and anxiety while our customers, Scott and his wife Aubrey, as well as myself, were psyched knowing that this was the day we were going to meet the stunning Hinayu. Scott had been planning his photography trip to Japan with us for a while, exchanging several emails with us in recent months. Along with a few other workshops in Tokyo and Kyoto, he splurged for our Behind the Mask photo experience and insisted on Hinayu for the shoot. We got his request covered and prepared the shoot.
Typhoon Meets Geisha
I must admit that we were a bit worried about the weather conditions. But in the end, everything went like a breeze and we directed Hinayu effortlessly for amazing results. On a personal level, I learned a lot while coaching this photo adventure. I realized that I love training motivated people. You see, Scott and Aubrey showed genuine interest in the shoot and behaved like real pros—they were troopers! They were willing to try every composition idea I suggested, no questions asked. They were eager to make the most of the environment we had selected for them: reflections, light patterns, back-lit shots, props, traditional fixtures, the list goes on. They kept asking for more as I reviewed their photos and gave them tips on how to perfect their craft.
Challenge Your Eye
On that day, something became obvious to me: for Behind the Mask, more than any other workshop, our job is to challenge the photographer’s eye. Scott was very nervous to meet a real geisha for the first time in his life. Our model’s friendliness was putting everyone at ease but interacting with a geisha can quickly become overwhelming. Hinayu is the kind of girl who is strikingly beautiful whether she has the traditional make up on or not. For a photographer, that could lead to that ‘premature sensory overload’ effect: years of practice forgotten instantly! As a result, nailing the camera settings become a daunting priority and the photographer has his eye riveted to the viewfinder. That is when we step in and, from the more relaxed perspective of an insider, we come up with fresh composition ideas—bringing our customer’s photography to the next level. See for yourself!